GUERNSEY HISTORY 

23rd July 1927
Alderney to Guernsey radio connection established

The question of how to connect the various Channel Islands, both to each other and the mainland, has been answered in many ways over the years.

Being so much closer to France than Britain, they were long a target of French raids when the two countries were at war throughout the 1700s and 1800s. At the same time they represented important defensive positions. Rapid, effective communication was therefore key.

This was greatly simplified with the invention of radio, and the opening of the first radio-telephone link between Guernsey and Alderney on 23 July 1927.

This was particularly newsworthy as Alderney, with its large harbour, was acknowledged as one of the most important assets in the British defensive armoury. Indeed, Parliament has debated its importance just 60 years earlier and voted to spend more on the island to maintain its strong defences.

The restrictions of radio

Ultimately, radio telephones are of limited use. They transmit their signal through the air, so are open to interception. The equipment is also centrally located. It’s therefore not possible to roll out an island wide network for direct subscriber-to-subscriber communication.

Nonetheless, radio communication did the job – and continued to do so until what we would now consider to be more conventional communications routes were in place.

Guernsey and Sark had shared a telegraph cable since 1903, which was upgraded to a telephone cable 25 years later. Guernsey and the British mainland were later connected by submarine cable in 1931.

The story of Herm, as recorded in The History of Guernsey by James Marr, is interesting:

In 1909 Prince Blucher, tenant of Herm, enquired about the cost of establishing telephonic communication with Guernsey… in the event no cable was laid. During the tenancy of Mr AG Jeffries a pigeon postal service was provided between Herm and Guernsey for urgent messages, and finally in 1950 the States Telephone Department provided a radio-telephone link with Guernsey. As a result Herm now possesses the smallest automatic public telephone exchange in the world.

Category: Guernsey History | Other events tagged

Check out The Sarnian’s email newsletter for Guernsey history, features, puzzles and pictures. It’s also the first place where you’ll find out about the Sarnian series of books, including sneak previews and discounts.

We will never sell your data to third parties, and there’s an unsubscribe link in every email, so you can leave whenever you like.

What else happened in Guernsey in July?

Guernsey history newsletter

Check out The Sarnian’s email newsletter for Guernsey history, features, puzzles and pictures. It’s also the first place where you’ll find out about the Sarnian series of books, including sneak previews and discounts.

We will never sell your data to third parties, and there’s an unsubscribe link in every email, so you can leave whenever you like.

* indicates required

The Sarnian

The Sarnian Book 1: Dead in the Water

A body on a beach, an impossible alibi and an unstoppable race against time!

Check out the first book in The Sarnian series, set on the Channel Island of Guernsey.

Click here to get your copy today…

December in Guernsey through the years…

Guernsey's comms links are severed

18th December 1979

Castle Cornet surrenders in Civil War

17th December 1651

Alderney's evacuees return after occupation

15th December 1945

Herm bribery case came to court

14th December 1918

Victor Hugo flees France and Napoleon

12th December 1851

Sarnian secrets

Sign up to The Sarnian's occasional newsletter for updates on your favourite characters and locations, to go behind the scenes on the writing process, and for early-bird discounts on every new book. We promise not to share your details with anyone else, and you can easily unsubscribe whenever you choose.
* indicates required

Search the archiveWarning