2nd July 1940

Alderney is occupied by German forces

German forces invaded and occupied the Channel Islands in sequence. After Guernsey on 30 June and Jersey on 1 July, Alderney fell under their control on 2 July 1940. Sark followed two days later.

Just the previous day – 1 July – the Western Morning News had reported,

Judge French, Governor of Alderney, and his staff arrived on the South Coast [of Britain] with the whole of the money in the island under armed guard.

French wasn’t the only Alderney local to travel to the mainland. Many were sent to Glasgow in advance of the German invasion. French wrote to the Lord Provost of Glasgow in early July 1940 to say, as quoted by The Scotsman,

Having lost … almost everything we possess, we have found with you a wealth of kindness that gives us courage and energy. Our gratitude is deep. There will be from now onwards a historic link between the great city over which you preside and the rocky island which is our home.

Before the invasion, Alderney had been home to 1400 people, 500 cattle and 40 horses, according to the book Alderney by Victor Coysh.

Any locals who had not already evacuated to the mainland were removed to Guernsey. With the island to themselves, German forced used slave labour to build defensive structures all over it between 1942 and 1943.

Alderney camps

Alderney was home to four labour and concentration camps, which between them housed more than 4000 prisoners.

It remained occupied for longer than Guernsey and Jersey, finally being liberated one week after its neighbours on 16 May 1945. Its residents started returning in December of that year, and found the island greatly changed.

The Germans had closed the camps in 1944 as the war was turning against them. They transferred the prisoners to France and tried to destroy evidence of what they had done there – but weren’t entirely successful. Around 400 Occupation-era graves have been found so far.

 

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Other events that occured in July

Guernseyman Edward Tupper killed by cannibals 1st
Alderney is occupied by German forces 2nd
Seigneur of Sark, Michael Beaumont, dies aged 88 3rd
Guernsey hosted the Island Games 2003 closing ceremony 4th
New coins are minted for Guernsey 5th
Royal Guernsey Light Infantry Museum opens 6th
Victor Hugo statue is unveiled in Candie Gardens 7th
First Commando raid of the Second World War 8th
Birth of Sark-based writer Mervyn Peake 9th
Guernsey nurses go on hunger strike 10th
ITV broadcasts first episode of Island at War 11th
A Guernsey man posted himself to Sark 12th
Murderer Peter Robin sentenced to death 13th
Victor Hugo plants his United States of Europe oak 14th
Point Law runs aground off Alderney 15th
Racing yacht Westward is blown up off Guernsey
BBC made its first ever Channel Islands broadcast 16th
The Star received some “grave” news 17th
The Guernsey Martyrs were burned at the stake 18th
Prince Charles and Camilla visit Guernsey 19th
President Garcia is re-floated in Saints Bay 20th
Typhoid suspect holidaymaker flies home 21st
Guernsey Controlling Committee’s Sir John Leale died 22nd
Alderney to Guernsey radio connection established 23rd
Val des Terres was first opened for traffic 24th
The BBC broadcasts from Sark for the first time 25th
Guernsey court escapee was caught again 26th
Braye du Valle was gifted by the crown 27th
Murderer sentenced to death in three hours 28th
Guernsey bought Herm from the mainland 29th
Albert Lamy appointed Guernsey Police Chief Officer 30th
Guernsey to Jersey plane crashed into the sea 31st