9th August 1940

The RAF bombed Guernsey Airport

It wasn’t only the Luftwaffe that bombed Guernsey early in the Second World War. German planes attacked St Peter Port harbour immediately before the Occupation, unaware that the Channel Islands had been demilitarised and partly evacuated. However, just a few months into the occupation, the RAF struck back.

The British goal seems not to have been to re-take the islands, but to degrade the German resources – and possibly morale.

The bombing took place at the height of the Battle of Britain, which was Germany’s most determined effort to invade the United Kingdom. Its bombers were conducting raids around the clock between mid-July and the end of October 1940.

The RAF’s raid on Guernsey Airport, which had opened for business just a couple of months before the war had begun, took place in broad daylight and had been concentrated on the south-west side of the aerodrome. This would have put the focus between where the Guernsey Aero Club now meets and the Route de Plaisance.

Bombing… then surveying the damage

The British aircraft had to return the following day to see what effect the action had had. When they flew over for a second time, they saw that a large proportion of the German places that had been stationed there had since been removed. There had initially been between 40 and 50 aircraft at the airport, according to a report in The Scotsman the following Monday, of which there was now no sign.

The raids were repeated two further times. By the third day, Allied aircraft were encountering no resistance from German forces, and the smoke from the bombing runs was visible from 20 miles away.

The RAF left Guernsey alone for two years after these raids on the airport, not returning until January 1942. On the 17th of that month, they carried out daylight bombing raids on ships in St Peter Port harbour and on the harbour structure itself. They also targeted anti-aircraft positions and a square in which German soldiers were carrying out a drill.


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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