V for Victory – war & love at Jersey

Jersey is a small and autonomous island under the shadow of the UK. It is part of Channel Islands. But it is not part of United Kingdom. St Helier is the capital town.

This small water-locked country, has a close connection with India. Lal Bahadur Shastri wanted to transform a milk-deficient India into the world’s largest milk producer. National Daily Development Board was formed and Dr Verghese Kurien (Amul man) became its chairman. As the Jersey cows were adaptive to hot climates, they have been imported from Sweden and Germany. In Nepal, these cows are called drought animals!

It is a well-known financial hub. They use English as their main language. They have their own currency. At the same time, Pound Sterling is also allowed at 1:1 value. It has lovely beaches on all sides too! I went there on a sunny morning. After my commitments of the day were over, I used to walk around the streets of colonial buildings. That is how I crossed their Liberation Square.

France and Britain declared war on Germany in 1939, as it invaded Poland. They knew Germany was trying to reach them. German army was known for its valor and efficiency. After Poland, Germany wanted Western Europe. By 1940, France had surrendered. Followed by that, Channel Islands started vacating as they were prone to attack.

Despite Channel Islands being at its door steps, the UK remained indecisive. (But the irony is, they had a clear vision of splitting India and Pakistan 😉 ) Germany occupied the islands in 1940. German press orated their victory. It appeared to that world like ‘England was finished’. But it is not 100% false. The UK lost a place, where its flag was flown for eight centuries, without firing a shot. The UK was questioned for demilitarizing the islands.

Picture (c) Imperial War Museums

1941 – UK radio asked the islanders to put up ‘V for Victory‘ sign boards. Some of the islanders joined in that movement, which angered Germans. It was not an organized protest. Individuals and small groups did it. German’s imposed curfew and censorship of press to safe guard their interest.

While Germans fortified the islands heavily, there started a scarcity of food. The West, who destroyed colonial India by their man-made-droughts, sent Red Cross ship to deliver food parcels.

A girl of Jersey, Edna Loftus Channing, was unhappy with the brutal ruling of Nazi forces. She was working as a launderer. She had no other choice except adapting herself with the new rule. She received an identity card, which is to be possessed by her at all times. She has been warned to adhere to German rules.

Their driving rules were changed. Time is adjusted to Berlin’s. German currency was hailed. The Germans looted Jersey’s garment shops to send back to their German girl friends. German soldiers wrote letters with Jersey’s British stamp, which contained the king’s face. Singing National anthem was restricted. Public entertainment were screened for Anti-German propaganda.

Edna was happy when the British Liberation Army came for rescue.

German’s influence declined after they lost in D-Day landings in 1944. Jersey took one more year to get itself liberated in 1945. The Royal Navy and British Army liberated the island. British flag returned to Jersey Island after 5 years. Islanders cheered it on with joy and gratitude. This is where Liberation Square was established on its 50th anniversary.

Edna, too, joined the gathering to welcome the British soldiers, who landed in St Helier and St Peter Port. Nazi Swastika flag was replaced by Union Jack. The islanders rejoiced and partied.

Few days after the liberation, she crossed a sentry post where she found a soldier with charming face. He smiled at her and said a ‘hello’. He was Silas Martin. He was one of the British troop. Edna and Martin fell in ‘love at first sight’. Both of their minds might be arrested by each other. Because Martin did not go back to his home country. He worked as a builder and and Edna worked in a guest house near by. Their endrance made them as a great couple. They married and lived together happily.

Edna died at 68. Martin died 6 weeks later.

***

2011-09-02

I’m participating in #BlogchatterA2Z 2022 with theme Yātum ūrē!

Liberation Square
Crowds welcome British troops on Jersey during the liberation of the Channel Islands. Picture (c) mirror.co.uk
V for Victory – Winston Churchill. Picture (c) mirror.co.uk

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