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The evacuation of the Channel Islands in World War Two

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The evacuation of the Channel Islands in World War Two

Post by gillianmawson on Sun Aug 05, 2012 3:47 pm

Good afternoon - I would be delighted if members could take a look at my research website on 'The Guernsey Evacuees of WW2'.
17,000 children, adults and teachers fled Guernsey to England in June 1940, only a few days before the Nazis occupied the Channel Islands. I have spent four years interviewing 200 of the evacuees who came here in 1940 and remained here until their island was liberated in 1945 (although some never returned to Guernsey). You can find out more about the Guernsey evacuation on my site at:
http://guernseyevacuees.wordpress.com/evacuation/

You can also read about some of the discoveries I have made whilst completing my book (due out 1 November), at:
http://guernseyevacuees.wordpress.com/writing-my-book-blog/
Gillian Mawson - Guernsey Evacuee Researcher, Derbyshire, England



Last edited by Ivan on Sun Aug 05, 2012 4:35 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Re: The evacuation of the Channel Islands in World War Two

Post by Ivan on Fri Oct 05, 2012 3:43 pm

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Source: YouTube
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Re: The evacuation of the Channel Islands in World War Two

Post by oftenwrong on Fri Oct 05, 2012 5:39 pm

'Guernsey Evacuees: The Forgotten Evacuees of the Second World War'

It's a remarkable book, showing evidence of a prodigious amount of research, which prompts me to go and have a lie-down with my comfort blanket.
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Re: The evacuation of the Channel Islands in World War Two

Post by ROB on Sat Oct 06, 2012 12:31 pm


Open question to Gillian Mawson and anyone else who might know: Did similar evacuations occur on Jersey, Aldernay, and Sark?
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Re: The evacuation of the Channel Islands in World War Two

Post by gillianmawson on Sat Oct 06, 2012 12:41 pm

That is a great question. I have not studied the evacuation stories of Jersey, Alderney and Sark extensively, due to my concentration on Guernsey, but I believe that several thousand left Jersey, and that almost everyone left Alderney. I have no idea about Sark. Hopefully residents of those islands, or historians who have studied these islands more extensively than I have been able to, can help? Thank you for the question!
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Re: The evacuation of the Channel Islands in World War Two

Post by Ivan on Wed Oct 10, 2012 7:56 pm

As gillianmawson says, almost everyone on Alderney left on the advice of the authorities, but on Sark the Dame encouraged everyone to stay. The majority of people on Jersey also decided to stay, but there is evidence that a lot did leave.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occupation_of_the_Channel_Islands

However, there seems to be some discrepancy about when those people left Jersey. Some families may have feared the worst and so evacuation to the UK mainland could have begun soon after the war started in September 1939, as this person claims: “We were the first evacuees and seem to have been forgotten about….. It would appear that many of us were sent from Jersey to Lancashire prior to the German invasion of the islands….. My mother it appears left two older children on the island and took me as a baby and a slightly older brother with her on the evacuation.”
http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ww2peopleswar/stories/95/a4353095.shtml

This source says that the writer’s family “evacuated from St Helier on or around 6 June 1940”, but that date may not be reliable after such a passage of time. Perhaps that family saw the writing on the wall after the retreat from Dunkirk (28-31 May) and left Jersey a week later, but the British government didn’t decide until 15 June that the Channel Islands wouldn’t be defended.
http://genforum.genealogy.com/voisin/messages/12.html

It would seem that most of those who did leave Jersey left at about the same time as the evacuation of Guernsey. One man talks of his father choosing to stay rather than evacuate to the UK “as the Germans came closer”. As France fell under complete German control by 22 June 1940, that would seem to be the time at which people had to decide whether to stay or leave.
http://troyfamily.co.uk/index_files/Page855.htm

This photo and article is about how, on 25 June 1945, a thousand people from Jersey sailed back to the port they had fled five years earlier, which concurs with the evidence that most evacuation occurred in late June 1940.
http://www.channelonline.tv/channelonline_jerseynews/displayarticle.asp?id=489610
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Re: The evacuation of the Channel Islands in World War Two

Post by gillianmawson on Thu Oct 11, 2012 12:13 pm

Thank you for all the info above Ivan, and here is a link to film clips of the May 2010 Guernsey Evacuation and Liberation Events:


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Re: The evacuation of the Channel Islands in World War Two

Post by Velvet Glove on Sat Oct 27, 2012 10:21 pm

RockOnBrother wrote:
Open question to Gillian Mawson and anyone else who might know: Did similar evacuations occur on Jersey, Aldernay, and Sark?

Hi RockOn

The whole of Alderney evacauted as did many from Jersey.  La Dame de Sark set an example by choosing to stay so most if not all of her residents stayed...which I'm sure she regretted when the Nazis deported her!

I'm just searching through my dissertation for numbers, but I can't remember if I actually got them.  I know Alderney was around 1000.
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Re: The evacuation of the Channel Islands in World War Two

Post by oftenwrong on Sat Oct 27, 2012 10:55 pm

The Occupation of the Channel Islands is accurately traced through specialist collections of Postage Stamps, which were originally exactly the same GPO George VI stamps of mainland Britain. An initial shortage of stamps was covered by cutting larger-value stamps in half diagonally. Such stamps overprinted with a swastika are probably bogus, but CI later had their own wartime stamps designed by Edmund Blampied which are very collectable.
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