7th June 1945

The king and queen celebrated Guernsey’s liberation

King George VI visited the Channel Islands less than a month after their liberation. He brought his wife, Elizabeth, who would later become the Queen Mother.

It was a multi-destination trip to welcome the only occupied British territory back to the kingdom.

They departed from Portsmouth on a cruiser called Jamaica and headed first for Jersey. Their early afternoon arrival was 24 hours later than planned, due to poor weather.

They flew by Dakota to Guernsey later that same afternoon. The island was still hosting German prisoners of war at the time. The prisoners had been retained to clear mines, but had been asked in advance of the visit if they would be prepared to make ammunition for the royal salute. All of the Germans who had been asked agreed to do so, and the guns that were used for the salute were captured German weapons. However, where the visit itself was concerned, the prisoners were kept well away from the royal party.

Thanks given and received

The royal couple toured the west coast and northern parishes, then visited Candie Gardens where they met Victor Carey, the Bailiff, and Sibyl Hathaway, the Dame of Sark.

The Bailiff gave a speech of thanks for Guernsey’s liberation and the assistance and supplies sent since. The king responded, “I can already see evidence of the hard work which has been done by the members of my forces and the inhabitants of the island to repair the damage done by the enemy and to prepare the way for you to regain your former well-being. I am confident that by your endeavours, which will have the fullest support of my Government, your island will soon be restored to happiness and prosperity.”

A transcript of his speech was carried by The Times.

In total, the royal couple spent just three hours on Guernsey. However, this was still considerably longer than Queen Victoria’s impromptu visit of 1846.

Rather than return on the Jamaica, the king and queen flew back to Northolt. They used the same Dakota as had brought them to Guernsey, accompanied by Spitfires.


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Other events that occured in June

Cricketer Charles Grieve died in Shropshire 1st
St Johns undertook its first Guernsey rescue 2nd
Bailiff John Guille died in Plymouth 3rd
GUNS writer Joseph John Gillingham was deported 4th
First arrests were made at Guernsey Airport 5th
Jethou was put on the market 6th
The king and queen celebrated Guernsey’s liberation 7th
Occupying forces confiscated Guernsey’s radios 8th
Guernsey Railway company ceased operations 9th
Guernsey welcomed its first steam ship 10th
Laura Kennington kicks off Channel Islands triathlon 11th
Dame Sibyl became a dame again 12th
Guernsey voted to legalise local abortions 13th
Victor Hugo’s house is opened to the public 14th
The Channel Islands were demilitarised 15th
Guernsey was invaded by Colorado beetles 16th
States Telephone Department was established 17th
Pollet guest house fire claimed its third victim 18th
Aurigny founder Derrick Bailey died 19th
Guernsey joined the Football Association 20th
Guernsey’s school children were evacuated 21st
Guernsey celebrated Queen Victoria’s jubilee 22nd
Princess Elizabeth opened Guernsey’s hospital 23rd
Guernsey chose England over France 24th
First meeting of Guernsey’s Controlling Committee 25th
Guernsey bought Fort Grey from the War Office 26th
Guernsey coffee trader William Le Lacheur died 27th
G-JOEY completes his last flight 28th
Guernsey suffered its first and only air raid
The Star was published for the first time 29th
Two deserters were shot after landing on Guernsey 30th