9th February 2013
Guernsey Society celebrates its 70th anniversary
The Guernsey Society was founded in London in 1943. Its aim was to support anyone – either on Guernsey or evacuated to the mainland – during the Occupation. As it became clearer that Germany would lose the war, it started planning for the island’s future. The liberating forces, and the authorities responsible for rebuilding after May 1945, were heavily influenced by its work.
Liberation didn’t mark the end of its existence, though. After the war, the Guernsey Society continued to flourish, with a remit to promote interest in the Bailiwick as a whole. It launched a magazine, The Bulletin, which later became the Quarterly Review. In turn, this became The Review, as its frequency was reduced to three times a year.
The Society’s 70th anniversary
It celebrated its 70th anniversary with a commemorative lunch on 9 February 2013 at The Charing Cross Hotel, London.
With butternut squash soup to start, chicken breast as the main and a Swiss chocolate truffle mousse for dessert, the three-course meal cost £30 per head. A vegetarian option was available on request, and sparkling wine was served upon arrival.
The Guernsey Society wasn’t the first mainland organisation set up during the war to maintain awareness of island matters. The Channel Islands Society was established in Kent in early 1943, and by its second meeting, in Maidstone, had already attracted 30 members.
One of many
The Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald reported on the 13 February meeting. It said “news of the Islands and Islanders was discussed; books, pictures and newspaper cuttings were passed around, and it was stated that the names of over 100 persons connected with the islands, and now residing in Kent, had already been listed”.
The following November it met again. By then, according to the same paper, it had 82 paying members. It was just one of more than 70 different Island Societies in England, one of which was the Guernsey Society.
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Other events that occured in February
Guernsey’s last execution didn’t go according to plan
- When John Tapner was hanged, he became the last man executed on Guernsey. It was a messy execution that took 12 minutes and attracted a large crowd of spectators. Victor Hugo campaigned against it.
- Read more…