Germany's Occupation of the Channel Islands
As the rest of Britain gears up for the sixtieth anniversary of VE Day on May 8th, Peter Tabb describes the last moments of the German Occupation of the Channel Islands, where the end of the War came twenty-four hours later.
On May 8th, 1945, Germany surrendered unconditionally but a day later 60,000 British citizens faced the prospect of naval and aerial bombardment by their own side as the commander-in-chief of the German-occupied Channel Islands demanded instead an armistice and had the force to back up his demands.
The Islanders would have been unavoidable ‘collateral damage’ as the victorious Allies contemplated subduing the most heavily armed and defended part of the Atlantic Wall, one which had not been breached following D-Day.
Vizeadmiral Friedrich Huffmeier proclaimed: ‘We will eat grass before we surrender!’ Meanwhile, the men of British Army Force 135 waited on board two Royal Navy destroyers, HMS Bulldog and HMS Beagle. The vessels hove to within range of massive German ordnance; as far as the Germans were concerned a state of war still existed, and the commander threatened to start shooting.