German Troops invade Channel Islands
While the Channel Islands are part of the British Isles, they are not part of the United Kingdom, so depending on your starting point they can be seen as the only part of Britain invaded by the Nazis.
Because the islands are in such easy reach of the French mainland, they were thought to be impossible to defend. In cold logic too, they could no longer act as a market garden for the rest of Britain, losing troops and material in defending the islands would have been foolish. Thus the UK government decided to evacuate those who wished to go – no compulsion was exercised – and to remove all troops and military hardware.
The evacuation was somewhat chaotic, but about one in three islanders were taken to England during June 1940. Alderney was almost completely evacuated. Sark ’s tiny population remained on the island almost to a man.
On June 28 1940 the Luftwaffe bombed what it took to be a troop convoy in St Peter Port , killing as it turned out 44 civilians delivering tomatoes for shipment to the UK. German intelligence about the situation on the islands was poor, and German forces expected them to be defended, hence a decided slowness in launching the invasion.
Farcically, Guernsey surrendered to a German reconnaissance pilot on June 30, when he landed on the island during a mission. Jersey fell, again without defence, the next day, Alderney on July 2, Sark on July 4.
Inevitably there was some collaboration with the German authorities, indeed the British government had advised a policy of ‘passive cooperation’ to avoid civilian bloodshed. Some informed on their neighbours, Jews or those with Jewish ancestry suffered as they did on the European mainland, and though no active resistance movement was formed many islanders were arrested and deported for passive political acts, for harbouring escaped Russian slave labourers, and other anti-German ‘crimes’ like listening to the radio and daubing 'V' on signs erected by the occupiers.
More famous dates here
5741 views since 28th February 2007
On this day: