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Celebrating our 140th Anniversary

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75th Liberation Day Anniversary in Guernsey

Wednesday 12th August 2020

On 9th May 1945, the Channel Islands regained their freedom after five years of German Occupation during the Second World War. 75 years on, 9th May is still strongly cherished by islanders whose collective memory of privations and hardships still echoes around the island. In Guernsey, half of the population was evacuated, including 4,000 children, the other half endured hunger, poor medical attention and fear.

The celebrations on 9th May are about thanking those who fought and the joy of freedom, a renewed plentifulness and family life. The day is a very happy occasion with a military street parade, Church services, fireworks and entertainment for all generations to share. Unfortunately, due to the lockdown this year, communal celebrations were cancelled and replaced by scenes of reflection and commemoration on social media and local TV and radio.

The 2nd Guernsey was formed in 1947, one of two BB Companies formed shortly after the war. Some of the local children who returned to the island after the Occupation had joined Companies whilst in the UK and asked for something similar in Guernsey, and since then the Company’s band has continually supported the 9th May celebrations. Each year it is honoured to lead the morning Church parade attended by the Royal British Legion, ex- service men, uniformed organisations and island dignitaries including the Lt Governor, the Bailiff, and Jurats of the Royal Court. Every five years an afternoon cavalcade is the highlight of the day, and parish floats, military vehicles, charities and visiting bands process along the seafront entertaining up to 20,000 excited people. The day ends with an impressive firework display over the harbour of St Peter Port.

This year the Guernsey Post Office released a special set of stamps to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of Liberation Day. The 70p stamp shows a painted depiction of drummer Daniel Roussel and Drum Major Aled le Cras from 2nd Guernsey Company, acknowledging the role the BB has played in celebrating Liberation Day since 1947.

Copies of these commemorative stamps are available at guernseystamps.com

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