7th May 2017

Songs of Praise comes from Guernsey

The BBC’s weekly religious music programme, Songs of Praise, came from Guernsey on 7 May 2017. It was broadcast on BBC One at 4.15pm and made explicit reference to the fact Liberation Day was approaching.

Presented by Sally Magnusson, who visited Guernsey, it looked back at the occupation and visited the Caritas community cafe in St Peter Port. She also headed to the prison and the Little Chapel to see how it looked following restoration.

She met the farmer Tony Falla, whose father was a German soldier stationed in Guernsey during the occupation. His cousin, Janet, was also born to a German soldier which, he said, wasn’t uncommon.

Following the war, his father was sent to Wales, where he was held in a Prisoner of War camp before being returned to Germany. It was 20 years before they would meet again, briefly, in a Guernsey hotel.

Memories of occupation

She also spoke to Molly Bihet who, being older than Falla, remembered the occupation herself. She was eight years old when the Germans invaded.

Like other children on the island, she had to learn German but, she said, if you kept yourself out of trouble, the occupying forces would leave you alone. She remembered the privations towards the end of the war, though, with a bad harvest in 1942, and the declining quality of the food thereafter. Flour, she said, was bolstered with sawdust. When a sailor gave her an orange on Liberation Day, she hadn’t known what it was.

Songs of Praise

Songs of Praise is the longest running religious music programme in the world. It was first broadcast in October 1961 and is now also shown in Australia and The Netherlands.

Originally, it was transmitted at exactly the same time as ITV’s religious programmes. This clash came to an end in the early 1990s.


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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