Liberation Day (Jersey)

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Liberation Day
Liberation Day in Jersey 2-0070.jpg
Liberation Day in Jersey, 2007
Official name Liberation Day
Observed by Jersey
Type National Day
Date 9 May
Next time 9 May 2015 (2015-05-09)
Frequency annual
Related to Liberation of Jersey from German occupation during World War II

In Jersey, Liberation Day (Jèrriais: Jour d'la Libéthâtion) is celebrated each year on 9 May, to mark the end of the occupation by Nazi Germany during World War II. It is celebrated as Jersey's national day.[1]

History[edit]

Re-enacting the raising of flags on Liberation Day 2011

On 9 May 1945, HMS Beagle, which had set out from Plymouth, arrived in Jersey to accept the surrender of the occupying forces. Two naval officers, one of whom was Surgeon Lt Ronald McDonald, were met by the Harbour Master who escorted them to the Harbour Master's Office where they together hoisted the Union Jack, before also raising it on the flagstaff of the Pomme D'Or Hotel. This has been re-enacted every year on Liberation Day since 1995. From 2003 to 2011 Harbour Master and Jerseyman Captain Howard Le Cornu performed this annually. His father John E. Le Cornu and uncle David M. Le Cornu had been in the crowds and had witnessed the occasion on 9 May 1945.

Official status[edit]

The Public Holidays and Bank Holidays (Jersey) Act 1952 established Liberation Day as a public holiday if it fell on a weekday.[2] The Public Holidays and Bank Holidays (Jersey) Act 2010 further laid down that Liberation was also to be a public holiday if it falls on a Saturday.[3] It is not a public holiday, and no day off in lieu is provided, if it falls on a Sunday.[4]

Ceremonies[edit]

Bailiff, Lieutenant-Governor and other officials in procession on Liberation Day 2012

Since the 50th anniversary of Liberation in 1995, a pattern of official ceremonies has developed based in and around Liberation Square in Saint Helier where the events at the Harbour Master's Office and Pomme D'Or Hotel occurred in 1945. Following a special sitting of the States of Jersey in the morning, States Members, clergy, the Bailiff of Jersey, the Lieutenant-Governor, Jurats, Crown Officers and other officials process from the Royal Square to Liberation Square accompanied by the Royal Mace and the Bailiff's Seal. An open air ecumenical service takes place in Liberation Square followed by the singing of "Man Bieau P'tit Jèrri"/"Beautiful Jersey" (in Jèrriais and English) and a re-enactment of the raising of flags (including that at Fort Regent). A parade of vintage and military vehicles, bands and service organisations is reviewed by the official party.

The afternoon community celebrations are of an informal character, including a programme of entertainments and stalls in Saint Helier.[5]

An official ceremony also takes place at the Crematorium where there is a memorial to victims and slave workers of various nationalities. Representatives of affected nationalities take part in the commemoration.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Jersey 'lieu day' motion for Sunday Liberation Day". BBC News. 2010-02-24. Retrieved 2012-10-03. 
  2. ^ "Public Holidays and Bank Holidays (Jersey) Act 1952". Retrieved 13 May 2012. 
  3. ^ "Public Holidays and Bank Holidays (Jersey) Act 2010". Retrieved 13 May 2012. 
  4. ^ "States of Jersey Official Report". Retrieved 13 May 2012. 
  5. ^ "Jersey islanders mark Liberation Day". BBC News. 2010-05-09. Retrieved 2012-10-03. 
  6. ^ "Never forget the price of freedom". Retrieved 13 May 2012. 

See also[edit]