After the Liberation

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After the Liberation




There are many versions, both photographs and paintings, of this iconic image of German prisoners-of-war being made to queue on the beach near Elizabeth Castle to be taken away by landing craft, but this one, taken on 19 May 1945, is the only known photograph by an amateur photographer (name unknown) who had kept some film throughout the Occupation to be used on Liberation Day, and the days which followed


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This page contains our collection of photographs of life in Jersey in the weeks and months after the end of the war

They follow on from our gallery of pictures of Liberation Day itself and its immediate aftermath

We have tried to avoid too much duplication, but there will be pictures as parts of sets on this page which are included in the other gallery

A major reorganisation of the page was carried out in March 2023, but it still remains to group together photographs of similar subjects and to complete the captioning of all images'

Except where specifically otherwise identified, the majority of these photographs were taken by Evening Post staff photographers, film and chemicals being unavailable for amateurs.
We have not identified each picture which we believe to have been taken for the newspaper




Force 135

The next set of photographs, taken in the days immediately following the Liberation, show members of Force 135, the army unit sent to help start Jersey on the route back to normal life. Some of them were taken by members of Force 135, others by the Evening Post and other local photographers

Islanders pose for a happy photograph with some of their liberators
A DUKW arrives behind La Folie

The big clear-up

Within a few days of the Liberation German troops were being taken out of the island to prisoner-of-war camps in the United Kingdom, but some remained to start on the work of clearing ammunition, weapons, railway lines, barbed wire and other obstructions

German guns loaded on barges ready to be dumped at sea

St Helier Harbour

French tanks brought to the island by the Germans are loaded in May 1946 at La Haule to be returned to France

General

Marjorie Robbins and her daughter Joan, pictured here, were a pair of notorious collaborators who lived in Midvale Road, St Helier, where they would hold noisy weekend parties for their German friends. Marjorie was well known for giving Nazi salutes and saying 'Heil Hitler' to Germans she passed in the street. Soon after Liberation Day mother and daughter were dragged from their home by a large mob, a noose was placed around the necks of both of them and the ropes thrown over a lamp post. They would most certainly have been lynched had a local doctor not telephoned the police, and a squad of Liberation troops was sent to restore order. Mother and daughter were locked up in the prison for their own safety and dispatched to England as soon as possible
The car park at the top of the Old Harbour was soon back in use and scrap metal has been assembled behind ready to be auctioned


Foreign forced workers departing from the Harbour later in 1945

Life gets back to normal

This picture of Queen Street was taken within weeks of the Liberation because traffic is still driving on the right
1st anniversary Liberation celebration in People's Park in 1946
Eleanor Stapleton with tanks which were still abandoned in her field in 1946
A group of islanders photographed after the Liberation with the wireless which kept them informed about events outside Jersey through the Occupation. It is remarkable that such a large item escaped detection
A list of Channel Islanders honoured by the King in 1945

Evening Post Liberation supplement

These individual photographs, some of which can be found elsewhere in our Liberation galleries, were taken from a rather faded copy of the supplement

Children, freed from all the restraints of five years of occupation, played innocently on weapons of war now deserted by the German forces

French North African PoWs

French North African prisoners of war had been housed in a camp at South Hill. They were freed on Liberation Day

RAF posting

His family do not know why, but Flight Lieutenant John Duncan Crombie, DFC, of Bomber Command, was briefly posted to Jersey in September and October 1945. These pictures show him somewhere on the island's coast and on the deck of a landing craft in St Aubin's Bay; and also a photograph of the Airport where he was based, and aerial views of the island he apparently took

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Prisoner of war letter

Red Cross letters sent to and from Jersey during the Occupation, and letters from German troops to their families, remain fairly common. This letter sent home by a German prisoner-of-war a year after the Liberation is much more of a rarity.

We are grateful to Malcolm Amy for supplying this information:

'St Peter's Barracks became a prisoner-of-war camp (No 802 POW Camp) on 24 May 1945 to house 1,680 German engineers, weapons experts and vehicle mechanics, who were retained in Jersey to remove land mines and other lethal stuff. The POWs soon became a familiar sight as they cleared barbed wire, lifted explosives, disarmed artillery batteries and repaired property. At first they were driven to site under a heavy guard by British troops in Bedford 3-ton lorries. But as the British military presence diminished the Germans drove themselves to site and by the end of 1945 a working camaraderie had developed between the PoWs and their guards, based on their shared aim of release or demobilisation. The last group of five German PoWs left Jersey on 30 July 1946.'

It seems likely that Karl Haarbach, the sender of this card, was one of those five. He wrote that he was 'fine' and 'healthy', but there is no suggestion that he knew that his release was just weeks away.

Rationing continued

Hoteliers claims for damage

Jersey's hoteliers were keen to get back in business when the war ended, but they wanted compensation for the severe damage done to their properties by the Germans. This letter written to the Bailiff by S D Frain, of the Aberfeldy Hotel, setting out the desire of members of the Jersey Hotels Association to make claims under a number of headings, is part of Jersey Archive's collection of Occupation documents, which can be viewed by subscribers to their online catalogue

Liberation celebrations

A 21st century Liberation anniversary celebration on the beach at West Park

Commemorative stamps

During the Occupation stamps were produced in Jersey from designs by local artist Edmund Blampied. In 1948, to celebrate the third anniversary of the Liberation, the British Post Office released new stamps incorporating Blampied drawings

1970 anniversary stamp issue
A grand Liberation fete in 1951
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