30th May 1945
Occupation stories occupy the mainland papers
The Channel Islands were the only British soil occupied by Germany during the second world war. Having been cut off for so long, it took time for the mainland papers to catch up.
By the end of May 1945, the month of liberation, they were regularly printing what news they could find about how life had been during the occupation. Many stories were excerpted from letters received by their readers. Several appeared on 30 May 1945 in particular.
The Gloucester Citizen recounted the story of EH Orchard, one of 3000 who had been deported from Guernsey to an internment camp in Germany. “He had been living on swede soup and a loaf of black bread a week, in concrete huts that were so damp that he could wring the water out of the two blankets he had to sleep in… No one has been able to fathom why they deported us from Guernsey but they were proud of the fact that it was the first time the Germans had moved British people from British soil.”
From famine to feast
The Lancashire Evening Post reprinted news from a Guernsey publisher who was looking to establish business with a Preston publishing company. “Conditions in Guernsey… were not too bad for four years but last August things took a change for the worse and the food position became increasingly serious. Happily, the Red Cross came to the assistance of the islanders in December and saved many lives.”
A letter quoted in the Coventry Evening Telegraph outlined the fact that even ordinary German soldiers were on starvation rations towards the end, but would share their food with the locals if they could. “The British troops came only just in time to save the civilians from starvation, but [she] adds that the long years of semi-starvation followed so suddenly by an abundance of food has cause many people in the island to have stomach trouble.”
They were then waiting for medicine to arrive to deal with the newly developed stomach complaints.