After the Liberation

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After the Liberation

There are many versions, both photographs and paintings, of this iconic image of German prisoners-of-war being made to queue on the beach near Elizabeth Castle to be taken away by landing craft, but this one, taken on 19 May 1945, is the only known photograph by an amateur photographer (name unknown) who had kept some film throughout the Occupation to be used on Liberation Day, and the days which followed

How normal life began to resume in the aftermath of the Occupation

This page consists mainly of a collection of photographs of life in Jersey in the days and weeks after the end of the war, but here are two links to special sections of the website

Hedley Clement's diary: A detailed account of how Jersey returned to pre-war normality; sometimes slowly, sometimes surprisingly rapidly

Evacuees' applications to return

1970 anniversary stamp issue
A grand Liberation fete in 1951

Force 135

The next set of photographs, taken in the days immediately following the Liberation, show members of Force 135, the army unit sent to help start Jersey on the route back to normal life. Some of them were taken by members of Force 135, others by the Evening Post and other local photographers

Islanders pose for a happy photograph with some of their liberators
A DUKW arrives behind La Folie

Prisoners of war clearing anti-tank defences at Archirondel

Foreign forced workers departing from the Harbour later in 1945
Visit of Field Marshal Montgomery in 1947
Eleanor Stapleton with tanks which were still abandoned in her field in 1946
A group of islanders photographed after the Liberation with the wireless which kept them informed about events outside Jersey through the Occupation. It is remarkable that such a large item escaped detection
A list of Channel Islanders honoured by the King in 1945

Evening Post Liberation supplement

These individual photographs, some of which can be found elsewhere in our Liberation galleries, were taken from a rather faded copy of the supplement

Children, freed from all the restraints of five years of occupation, played innocently on weapons of war now deserted by the German forces

RAF posting

His family do not know why, but Flight Lieutenant John Duncan Crombie, DFC, of Bomber Command, was briefly posted to Jersey in September and October 1945. These pictures show him somewhere on the island's coast and on the deck of a landing craft in St Aubin's Bay; and also a photograph of the Airport where he was based, and aerial views of the island he apparently took


Prisoner of war letter

Red Cross letters sent to and from Jersey during the Occupation, and letters from German troops to their families, remain fairly common. This letter sent home by a German prisoner-of-war a year after the Liberation is much more of a rarity.

We are grateful to Malcolm Amy for supplying this information:

'St Peter's Barracks became a prisoner-of-war camp (No 802 POW Camp) on 24 May 1945 to house 1,680 German engineers, weapons experts and vehicle mechanics, who were retained in Jersey to remove land mines and other lethal stuff. The POWs soon became a familiar sight as they cleared barbed wire, lifted explosives, disarmed artillery batteries and repaired property. At first they were driven to site under a heavy guard by British troops in Bedford 3-ton lorries. But as the British military presence diminished the Germans drove themselves to site and by the end of 1945 a working camaraderie had developed between the PoWs and their guards, based on their shared aim of release or demobilisation. The last group of five German PoWs left Jersey on 30 July 1946.'

It seems likely that Karl Haarbach, the sender of this card, was one of those five. He wrote that he was 'fine' and 'healthy', but there is no suggestion that he knew that his release was just weeks away.

Rationing continued

Liberation celebrations

A 21st century Liberation anniversary celebration on the beach at West Park

Commemorative stamps

During the Occupation stamps were produced in Jersey from designs by local artist Edmund Blampied. In 1948, to celebrate the third anniversary of the Liberation, the British Post Office released new stamps incorporating Blampied drawings

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