GUERNSEY HISTORY 

7th May 2017
Songs of Praise comes from Guernsey

The BBC’s weekly religious music programme, Songs of Praise, came from Guernsey on 7 May 2017. It was broadcast on BBC One at 4.15pm and made explicit reference to the fact Liberation Day was approaching.

Presented by Sally Magnusson, who visited Guernsey, it looked back at the occupation and visited the Caritas community cafe in St Peter Port. She also headed to the prison and the Little Chapel to see how it looked following restoration.

She met the farmer Tony Falla, whose father was a German soldier stationed in Guernsey during the occupation. His cousin, Janet, was also born to a German soldier which, he said, wasn’t uncommon.

Following the war, his father was sent to Wales, where he was held in a Prisoner of War camp before being returned to Germany. It was 20 years before they would meet again, briefly, in a Guernsey hotel.

Memories of occupation

She also spoke to Molly Bihet who, being older than Falla, remembered the occupation herself. She was eight years old when the Germans invaded.

Like other children on the island, she had to learn German but, she said, if you kept yourself out of trouble, the occupying forces would leave you alone. She remembered the privations towards the end of the war, though, with a bad harvest in 1942, and the declining quality of the food thereafter. Flour, she said, was bolstered with sawdust. When a sailor gave her an orange on Liberation Day, she hadn’t known what it was.

Songs of Praise

Songs of Praise is the longest running religious music programme in the world. It was first broadcast in October 1961 and is now also shown in Australia and The Netherlands.

Originally, it was transmitted at exactly the same time as ITV’s religious programmes. This clash came to an end in the early 1990s.

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