23-26 June 2015
On 23rd June 1940, at 12 hours’ notice, around 1500 Alderney people were asked to assemble on the quay at Braye Harbour. Six ships had been sent at the islanders’ request to evacuate the whole population to England as the German army advanced rapidly across Normandy. The pupils of St Anne’s School will re-enact this momentous event at 12 noon on Tuesday 23rd June 2015, 75 years to the day since the actual Evacuation.
Just as in 1940, the bells of St Anne’s Church will ring to summon the evacuees to the harbor. The French ferry Victor Hugo has kindly offered to provide the means of “escape” this time around, and they will take the schoolchildren and the parents of the younger pupils for a short journey outside Braye Harbour before returning at 1pm to re-enact the Homecoming, which actually happened on 15th December 1945. Victor Hugo will also also be bringing to Alderney French visitors keen to understand what happened here 75 years ago.
Nearly 80 surviving evacuees have been identified, and they and their memories will be the focus of the commemoration. The previous evening, Monday 22nd June at 7pm, John Glasgow, five years old when he was evacuated, will recount his experiences of the days and years that followed this traumatic event in the Island Hall. John travelled with his mother, who was gravely ill and died only a week later in their temporary home in Glasgow. They had been sent there along with many other Alderney evacuees.
Martin Batt, Living Islands Manager said “Throughout 2015, we’re featuring the unique events of 1940 and 1945 in Alderney. The island owes our surviving evacuees, their parents and contemporaries who are no longer with us, a huge debt of gratitude. Their hard work and persistence has given us all the beautiful island in which we live today. We’d like to see as many of the islanders, and our visitors, on the quayside on 23rdJune from 11.30am, to see our schoolchildren off. Living Islands will continue to work hard to conserve our very special historic and natural features and promote Alderney as a fascinating visitor destination.”
For more information contact Living Islands on +44 (0)1481 823709 or +44 (0)7781 426143