30th May 1945

Occupation stories occupy the mainland papers

The Channel Islands were the only British soil occupied by Germany during the second world war. Having been cut off for so long, it took time for the mainland papers to catch up.

By the end of May 1945, the month of liberation, they were regularly printing what news they could find about how life had been during the occupation. Many stories were excerpted from letters received by their readers. Several appeared on 30 May 1945 in particular.

The Gloucester Citizen recounted the story of EH Orchard, one of 3000 who had been deported from Guernsey to an internment camp in Germany. “He had been living on swede soup and a loaf of black bread a week, in concrete huts that were so damp that he could wring the water out of the two blankets he had to sleep in… No one has been able to fathom why they deported us from Guernsey but they were proud of the fact that it was the first time the Germans had moved British people from British soil.”

From famine to feast

The Lancashire Evening Post reprinted news from a Guernsey publisher who was looking to establish business with a Preston publishing company. “Conditions in Guernsey… were not too bad for four years but last August things took a change for the worse and the food position became increasingly serious. Happily, the Red Cross came to the assistance of the islanders in December and saved many lives.”

A letter quoted in the Coventry Evening Telegraph outlined the fact that even ordinary German soldiers were on starvation rations towards the end, but would share their food with the locals if they could. “The British troops came only just in time to save the civilians from starvation, but [she] adds that the long years of semi-starvation followed so suddenly by an abundance of food has cause many people in the island to have stomach trouble.”

They were then waiting for medicine to arrive to deal with the newly developed stomach complaints.


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Other events that occured in May

Priaulx Library opens for the first time 1st
Horse racing returns to L’Ancresse race course 2nd
Guernsey deportee, nurse Gladys Skillett was born
“Twink” goes missing on its way to Guernsey 3rd
Role of Chief Minister of Guernsey abolished 4th
Guernsey Airport opened for business 5th
Alderney debated in the House of Commons 6th
Songs of Praise comes from Guernsey 7th
Final issue of Deutsche Guernsey-Zeitung was published 8th
Guernsey was liberated from German occupation 9th
A Guernsey retiree’s £1m offer attracts 57,000 requests 10th
A liberation celebration ended in disaster 11th
Guernsey plays Tottenham Hotspur 12th
Guernsey’s telephone wars broke out 13th
British papers reported Dame of Sark’s deportation 14th
The States of Guernsey bought Aurigny 15th
Alderney was liberated at the end of the second world war 16th
Herm goes back on the market 17th
A mainland murder with a Guernsey connection 18th
Guernsey declared a State of Emergency 19th
Wartime diplomat Wilfred Gallienne born in Guernsey 20th
Hauteville House is bequeathed to the City of Paris 21st
Guernsey poet and painter Denys Corbet was born 22nd
John Doyle was appointed Lieutenant-Governor 23rd
The Imperial Hotel opened for the first time 24th
Elizabeth College is founded in St Peter Port 25th
Game of Thrones actor Roy Dotrice was born 26th
Head of Guernsey CID is shot in St Peter Port 27th
Work started on the Victoria Tower
Guernsey’s first paid constables were hired 28th
Guernsey woman advised to leave for her safety 29th
Occupation stories occupy the mainland papers 30th
“Overdose” verdict in Guernsey farmer’s death inquiry 31st