Liberation 75: Bailiff's Balcony Tribute To The 'Jersey Spirit'

In a radically-changed 75th Liberation Day, the Bailiff, Lieutenant Governor and Dean of Jersey have made video speeches and the Union flag has been raised without the usual crowds watching on.

Elements of the traditional annual ceremony in Liberation Square have featured in a special programme broadcast online.

The Bailiff, Tim Le Cocq took to one of the balconies of the Royal Court Building to address islanders.

"None of us could have imagined a few short weeks ago, that we would have been marking the 75th anniversary of the end of the Occupation in this way. We were looking forward to gathering together in Liberation Square in the greatest numbers ever, perhaps in sunshine and bright colours, to celebrate our liberation by the forces of His Majesty the King on 9th May 1945. We anticipated a Royal Visit, festivities here in Saint Helier, gatherings in our parishes and the other things that have come to mark a traditional Liberation day in Jersey and the special plans for the 75th anniversary. None of that was to be."

The Bailiff described it as our job to remember and tell stories of the Occupation, and explain to the younger generation what people endured under five years of Nazi rule.

"It is tempting, perhaps, to suggest that we are experiencing in our current situation of lockdown, what those here during the Occupation experienced. It is not, of course, the same. During the Occupation our people experienced 5 years of enemy subjugation, real hunger, the fear of deportation, examples of cruelty, extreme deprivation. There was no sense of when, or even if, it was all going to end.

It is not the same. But there are parallels. During those years the people of Jersey were faced with an enormous challenge. Almost in an instant their lives were drastically changed. They were no longer free, they were cut of from the outside world, from loved ones.

Our world too has been changed and we too are cut off from loved ones and the easy social connection that we have taken for granted. For many, this is indeed a very difficult time."

He drew parallels too with islanders sense of endurance, community spirit, acts of kindness and resilience which he called 'part of the Jersey spirit'.

"During the Occupation there was endurance and community spirit. Some took risks and paid the price to protect and shelter others. We have all heard the stories that can make us proud of what was done by many during those years, the spontaneous acts of kindness, of bravery, of resistance. Our people showed themselves to be tough and resilient. These things are part of the Jersey spirit.

And we are showing those qualities and that spirit today, in the dedication and selflessness of our Healthcare workers, in those who work in our care homes, in our emergency services. It is found in those who work to maintain the infrastructure, and essential supplies on which the rest of us depend. We see it in those who have responded to the current challenges by volunteering. It has shown itself in the ceaseless efforts of those in government and the civil service who are working long hours to grapple with the challenges we face. It is shown in the work and dedication of our States Members in responding to this crisis.

But it also shows in the rest of us who have followed the guidance and directions of our experts and government. Those steps that we have taken and are taking, and the restrictions we accept which I recognise have had a significant impact on everyday working lives, are keeping all of us safe by protecting the community as a whole. We are entitled to be proud of what we have all achieved. This is what Jersey is about, the Jersey spirit, and it shows a resilience that those here in the Occupation would have recognised. Jersey people, wherever we are from or whatever our
mother tongue may be, are strong and community minded and I am proud to be Bailiff."

The Union flag was raised above the Pomme D'or without the usual crowds below

Calling on us to reflect on the suffering of those who endured life under Nazi rule, evacuees, those deported to prison camps, those who died in slavery or shot because of acts of resistance, the Bailiff also urged us to use this time to reflect on what is truly important to us.

"We can take this anniversary, as an opportunity to ask ourselves searching questions. What is truly important to us? What do we value? What do we really need? What can we do without? What gives meaning to our lives? What do we want for our community?

If we reflect upon them and reach answers that come from the best in us then we will be making the most of our current situation, the freedoms we all enjoy and the choices we can make afforded to us by liberation.

Our lives and understanding have been changed over the past months and this is hard. But the marvellous qualities of the Jersey community and its people are clear. We can be confident in the capabilities and capacity of this generation and can draw from this deeper knowledge in the years to come.

Please celebrate this, our national day, safely, in the best way that you can. Even if we are not physically together, we are together in spirit. Thank you."

The Lieutenant Governor, Sir Stephen Dalton has delivered a message to the people of Jersey from Her Majesty The Queen:

"To My loyal Members of the States and people of Jersey, I send My warmest Greetings on the occasion of the 75th Anniversary of your liberation from enemy occupation.
On this significant anniversary, I am reminded of the pleasure that my parents took in being able to visit shortly after your liberation in 1945, together with my own fond memories of visiting the Island.
As you remember the bravery and sacrifice of the Jersey men and women who lived through occupation, deportation and evacuation, I know that you will join together again as a community to overcome the challenges that you are facing.
I send my thoughts and prayers to all the people of Jersey as you mark this notable anniversary in the Island’s history."

See more on how Jersey is marking Liberation 75 here 

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