25th August 1945

The post-Occupation military government was disbanded

The Channel Islands’ political recovery from the Occupation of the Second World War was swift, even if the physical scars of the Germans’ extended visit remain. After 90 days of direct British military rule, the interim military governments of Guernsey and Jersey handed control back to the people. Civil service staff resumed the roles they had held before the start of the war.

Guernsey’s new Lieutenant-Governor, Major-General Philip Neame VC, arrived on the morning of the 25th August 1945 as the king’s representative on the island. He had travelled from the mainland on a destroyer, the Brocklesbye, and arrived at St Peter Port just before noon with his family.

The guns that the German forces had installed at Castle Cornet were fired in his honour, while, on Jersey, Sir Arthur Edward Grasett was sworn in as his equivalent on that island.

Their effective predecessor, Brigadier AE Snow, who had accepted the Germans’ surrender, had diligently continued in his role as head of government until the very last moment. Just the night before handing back control, he had got into diving gear so he could check the progress of repairs being made to St Peter Port harbour to fix the damage caused by the German invaders.

Financial woes

The civilian government had a difficult rebirth. One of its first tasks was to work out how it would repay its war debt to the mainland. This was set at £7m, including around £1.5m that would be needed to rebuild damaged and destroyed property on Guernsey. There would be no money to compensate anyone who had suffered financially or lost their homes as a result of the war.

At the time, this was an extraordinary sum of money, and the States had no choice but to introduce higher rates of income tax. Before the war, earnings had been taxed at just 10.5 pence in the pound which, with 240 pennies in an old pound, was a rate of just over 4%.

Jurat John Leale, president of the Finance Committee, said that islanders would just have to grit their teeth and bear it, as they had done through five years of occupation. Leale had previously headed Guernsey’s Controlling Committee through most of the war.

 

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Other events that occured in August

The Saumarez Memorial foundation stone was laid 1st
Guernsey won double-silver at the Commonwealth Games 2nd
Earl Grey was appointed Governor of Guernsey 3rd
A boy scout fell 250ft over a Torteval Cliff 4th
Jethou tenant was rescued from an up-turned boat 5th
A tomato ship and a tanker collided 6th
Human remains were found on Lihou 7th
The Beatles played at Candie Gardens 8th
The RAF bombed Guernsey Airport 9th
Guernesiais linguist Marie de Garis died 10th
Alderney experienced a total eclipse of the sun 11th
A minister was found dead at Icart Point 12th
Guernsey steam tramway is granted its concession 13th
Police found a bomb in Bluebell Wood 14th
Hanois Lighthouse’s foundation stone was laid 15th
Charlie Chaplin played in St Peter Port 16th
St Peter Port inundated with fish 17th
A royal visit… of sorts
The Rolling Stones played St Peter Port 18th
Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society was published 19th
Archaeologist Crystal Bennet was born 20th
Mapmaking geologist John MacCulloch died 21st
St Sampson pensioner was buried in a landslide 22nd
Trident VI ran aground on its return from Herm 23rd
Queen Victoria visited Guernsey 24th
The post-Occupation military government was disbanded 25th
Wesleyans celebrated 100 years on Guernsey 26th
Oliver Reed was jailed in Guernsey 27th
Guernsey’s Reform Law was enacted 28th
Winston Churchill visited Guernsey with his wife 29th
Philip de Saumarez was discharged as a Jurat 30th
Jersey swimmers set a round-Guernsey record 31st