11th May 1949

A liberation celebration ended in disaster

Celebration turned to tragedy at Vazon on 11 May 1949.

Twenty-year-old David Bougourd, who was secretary of the Guernsey Motor Cycle and Car Club was killed when racing there. The race had been put on to celebrate the Guernsey’s liberation four years earlier.

The Birmingham Daily Gazette described Bougard as one of Guernsey’s leading motorists.

Its report on the tragedy, published the following day, put him in an MG Midget, which turned over during a 10-lap handicap race. He was taken to hospital but died two hours later.

Island-wide commemoration

The race was part of a larger celebration taking place all over the island. It included a cavalcade on the east coast. Guernsey continues to hold a cavalcade as part of its annual liberation commemoration.

According to the Northern Daily Mail, which made no mention of the death,

Guernsey … celebrated Liberation Day with services of thanksgiving, motor cycle and car racing on the sands, road, athletic and cycling events, a fancy dress cavalcade, and an evening water carnival and fireworks display.

Sand racing at Vazon

Sand racing still takes place on Guernsey, often at Vazon, under the auspices of the Guernsey Motor Cycle and Car Club of which Bougard was secretary.


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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