Channel Islands liberated
The British government view that occupying The Channel Islands would drain German resources proved correct. Hitler ordered that 10 per cent of all concrete and steel used to build the so-called Atlantic Wall be directed to the islands, decreeing that Germany would hold them forever. There were roughly 50 German occupiers for every 100 islanders, troops who would have been of greater value elsewhere.
When the Normandy landings took place in June 1944 the Channel Islands were bypassed. Other than for propaganda reasons they had little or no strategic value, the Allied navies already controlling the seas around them. The fortifications built by the Nazis were formidable too, and an invasion would have been difficult and costly in men and munitions.
With supplies from France cut off, both garrison and civilians suffered terrible hardship, until it was eventually agreed in December that year that the Red Cross would deliver food and essential items to the territories. In all six missions by the Red Cross brought some relief to the islands before they became free again in May 1945.
The Germans on the islands announced the end of the war on May 8. The next day HMS Beagle arrived in Jersey to take the surrender of the occupying forces there. HMS Bulldog almost simultaneously carried out the same function in Guernsey . The islanders were some of the last people liberated in Europe, and were in a parlous state when finally freedom returned.
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