30 June marks the anniversary of the arrival of the Germans in 1940. This followed an air raid on 28 June which you can read about on my last blog, just scroll down or click here
A German aircraft, a Dornier Do.17 similar to the one pictured below, had landed earlier in the day but had beaten a hasty retreat when attacked by three RAF Blenheims that were in the area. The first German Oberfeldwebel Roman Gastager, a Dornier Do 17 crewman from Fernaufklärungsgruppe 3.(F)/123. This is recorded in Simon Hamon’s excellent book “Channel Islands Invaded: The German Attack on the British Isles in 1940 Told Through Eye-Witness Accounts, Newspapers Reports, Parliamentary Debates, Memoirs and Diaries”
Having found the island undefended they reported back to their base at Cherbourg and troops were sent over to occupy Guernsey. The occupation began when German troops arrived from Cherbourg on 30th June 1940 aboard JU 52 transports.
Jersey was occupied one day later on 1 July 1940.
Below are a selection of photographs of their arrival and some further information and reading on the subject.
If the Airport on the current site hadn’t been completed in 1939 then they may have had a slightly tougher time in landing as the previous aerodrome was at L’Eree on the coast and is a wetland that is now a nature reserve. L’Eree had a runway of 450 yards and a very short lived operational life.
Luckily for the Germans the airport had been moved to the current site and had been opened in May 1939. It had four grass runways, night landing facilities and direction finding equipment. Taken over by the RAF in September 1939 and vacated by them in June 1940 they took the precaution of sabotaging the equipment before they left. I wrote about the experiences of some RAF Pilots in June 1940 who were based in Guernsey. You can read about it at
A TALE OF TWO PILOTS, HURRICANE GIRLS & A FRENCHMAN!
Soon after their arrival orders were issued to islanders with the threat of any attempt to cause trouble would lead to St Peter Port being bombed.
In subsequent months there followed Junkers 52 troop carriers, Dornier DO 17 bombers, Heinkel He 111 bombers, Henschel Hs 126 reconnaissance aircraft, ME109 fighters and Junkers Ju 87 dive bombers.
If you want to find out more about the arrival of the Germans you can find a summary here
In my blog about the life of a doctor in Guernsey he talks about the arrival of the Germans. You can read it here.
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I will be adding more as time permits. Thank you for taking the time to read this, and I hope you enjoyed it. Please share it on social media or add a comment if you did. Feedback is always appreciated.
Also happy to be contacted with questions about the war in the Channel Islands, media appearances, podcasts etc.
© Nick Le Huray
2 thoughts on “THE OCCUPATION STARTS – FIVE LONG YEARS UNDER THE JACKBOOT!”
My Dad, Martin Le Page, was a boy messenger with the Post Office. He was on early shift the morning the Germans arrived. None had been seen but everyone was aware of the arrival. He decided to go to work in his suit. His mother took one look at him and told him to “go back upstairs and change into your uniform” He wore that for the rest of the occupation! When he arrived no one was about so he went to the telegraph office, opened the door, to see a fully armed soldier sitting in a chair Luckily he was asleep so Dad crept out and went downstairs waiting for instructions. That was his day one!
Thanks for taking the time to read and comment. What a great story. Would you mind if I shared it on Twitter?