The German Occupation of Guernsey, Channel Islands

 

The biggest impact on the Islands during the 20th century was when they became part of Hitler's Atlantic Wall during World War II. 

 

German forces had been sweeping through Europe towards the northern coast of France during the early part of 1940, and by mid June had reached Cherbourg. 

 

Islander's fears were realised when the local newspaper headline on Wednesday 19th June, 1940 read ‘Evacuation of children'. This followed a meeting in London on Saturday 15th June, when military chiefs decided that the Channel Islands were of no strategic importance and would not be defended. 

 

Parents were given four hours to decide if they wanted their children evacuated and were faced with a decision which would have a huge impact on families and the Island then, and in the future. 

 

School children, teachers and mothers with children of under school age were the first to be evacuated. At around 10am on Thursday 20th June, the first boat, the Antwerp, left St Peter Port for England with 1154 Guernsey children aboard. 

 

On Friday 28th June Guernsey experienced its first air raid which killed 33 islanders with a further 67 injured. The harbour and fruit export sheds were targeted, with the Germans believing that these were military installations and that tomato export trucks at the harbour were indeed military vehicles. 

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