Yesterday commemorates Channel Islands invasion for tomorrow

Posted on: 28 June 2010 by Gareth Hargreaves

While Churchill was making his famous “We will fight them on the Beaches” speech he was also secretly making plans to surrender the Channel Islands to Nazi Germany without any resistance whatsoever.

Channel Islands at War will be showing exclusively on the TV channel Yesterday at 10pm starting Monday 28th June and continuing on the 29th and 30th as part of Yesterdays season to  commemorate the ‘Spirit of 1940’ in this 70th anniversary year.

Narrated by John Nettles, who is most associated with his iconic role in ‘Bergerac’ and more recently his role as Detective Tom Barnaby in Midsomer Murders, Channel Islands at War is an emotional examination of the German invasion and occupation of the Channel Islands and the lasting legacy it left on the islands.

“The percussion was just tremendous, the building shook and then they roared over us with the sound of aero engines and machine guns firing very close” explains Leo Harris.

From June 1940, when the Nazis arrived, until May 1945, the inhabitants of Jersey, Guernsey, Alderney & Sark lived through years of oppression, terror, collaboration and near starvation that’s left an indelible scar still evident 70 years later.  With a ratio of one German to every two islanders and a lack of remote hideouts, there was no organised resistance. The treatment of the islands’ Jewish population was, and remains, especially controversial. Things deteriorated in 1944 when the islands were cut off from the rest of Europe and food and fuel supplies dried up.  Life in the Channel Islands became intolerable with both islanders and the German’s suffering from starvation. 

“Well Fritz, the guard down the road was friendly, he would open up his rifle and show you how to put the rounds in then close it up and things like that, but you always knew that they were the enemy” says Geoffrey Messervie Norman.

The TV channel Yesterday has been compiling an online library of stories and experiences. You can contribute to this collection and ensure that your stories are not forgotten. Send yours and your family and friends’ memories in any format by email and we’ll pick the best to display on the Yesterday website for all to see. Getting involved is easy, simply go to www.visityesterday.co.uk or email your stories to your1940story@uktv.co.uk 

Tune in to Channel Islands at War exclusively on the TV channel Yesterday: Sky 537, Virgin 203, Freeview 12 on 28th, 29th and 30th June at 10pm. For more information go to www.visityesterday.co.uk

 

By George Pamplin

 

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