Jersey

Jersey youth vital to Liberation Day - Bailiff

Liberation Day 2011
Image caption Young people from Jersey's cadet forces played the role of the Tommy's in re-enacting Jersey's liberation

Jersey's Bailiff, Michael Birt, said it was important young people were part of Liberation Day, so that its message would never be forgotten.

Thousands of people gathered in St Helier on Monday to mark the anniversary of Jersey's liberation.

It has been 66 years since Sir Winston Churchill said "our dear Channel Islands are also to be freed today" and ended five years of German rule.

Each year on 9 May islanders gather to celebrate their freedom.

Michael Birt said it was up to Jersey's young people to make sure racism and discrimination, which "fuelled the rise of the Nazi party" were not allowed to flourish.

He said: "This is particularly important given the changes in the make-up of the islands population with the arrival of communities from Portugal, Poland, Ireland and elsewhere in the United Kingdom.

"This aspiration falls upon our young people who will form the next generation and I am keen to encourage their participation in these Liberation Day celebrations."

At a special States meeting Senator Terry Le Main remembered the British forces arriving at St Helier harbour to liberate the island.

He said: "When the first Tommy landed and came up the steps, dad picked me up and placed me in the Tommy's arms, what a memory.

"This was a great moment for Dad, he was so very proud.

"Ever since that day he never bought anything unless it was manufactured in Great Britain, he was that patriotic."

The crowds watched the island's Harbour Master Howard Le Cornu raise the union flag above Liberation Square, as part of the re-enactment of the troops arrival.

Mr Le Cornu said: "I hoist the flag in remembrance of my father and uncle who witnessed that liberation.

"I also hoist it secure in the future that this island will ensure the future of its citizens and make sure we are not discriminated against.

"This generation is looking after the future as past generations looked after the past, we won't forget."

One of the last remaining survivors of the liberating forces is Eric Walker, who arrived as a bomb disposal expert to remove German mines.

Mr Walker said: "People were ecstatic, the girls were cuddling us and kissing us, men were patting us on the back, it was wonderful.

"To top it all I met my beautiful wife on that day."

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