7th June 1945
The king and queen celebrated Guernsey’s liberation

King George VI visited the Channel Islands less than a month after their liberation. He brought his wife, Elizabeth, who would later become the Queen Mother.

It was a multi-destination trip to welcome the only occupied British territory back to the kingdom.

They departed from Portsmouth on a cruiser called Jamaica and headed first for Jersey. Their early afternoon arrival was 24 hours later than planned, due to poor weather.

They flew by Dakota to Guernsey later that same afternoon. The island was still hosting German prisoners of war at the time. The prisoners had been retained to clear mines, but had been asked in advance of the visit if they would be prepared to make ammunition for the royal salute. All of the Germans who had been asked agreed to do so, and the guns that were used for the salute were captured German weapons. However, where the visit itself was concerned, the prisoners were kept well away from the royal party.

Thanks given and received

The royal couple toured the west coast and northern parishes, then visited Candie Gardens where they met Victor Carey, the Bailiff, and Sibyl Hathaway, the Dame of Sark.

The Bailiff gave a speech of thanks for Guernsey’s liberation and the assistance and supplies sent since. The king responded, “I can already see evidence of the hard work which has been done by the members of my forces and the inhabitants of the island to repair the damage done by the enemy and to prepare the way for you to regain your former well-being. I am confident that by your endeavours, which will have the fullest support of my Government, your island will soon be restored to happiness and prosperity.”

A transcript of his speech was carried by The Times.

In total, the royal couple spent just three hours on Guernsey. However, this was still considerably longer than Queen Victoria’s impromptu visit of 1846.

Rather than return on the Jamaica, the king and queen flew back to Northolt. They used the same Dakota as had brought them to Guernsey, accompanied by Spitfires.

Category: Guernsey History | Other events tagged , ,

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