Eric Pickles flies Jersey flag above Whitehall to honour the island's liberation from Nazi occupation.
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles raised the flag of Jersey outside the Department for Communities and Local Government headquarters to mark Jersey’s Liberation Day and the Channel Islands’ liberation from Nazi occupation.
On 9 May 1945 - just 1 day after Winston Churchill declared the end of war and that “our dear Channel Islands are also to be freed” - HMS Beagle arrived in Jersey to accept the surrender of the occupying forces. Swastika flags were taken down and replaced by the Union Jack to cheering crowds. Guernsey was also liberated the same day.
Events to mark the liberation of Jersey, the largest of the Channel Islands, from German occupation during the Second World War take place every year on that date. The raising of the British flag at the Pomme D’Or Hotel has been reenacted every year since the 50th anniversary of the island’s liberation in 1995.
Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, said:
We are stronger as a society when we celebrate the ties that bind us together, and we should fly the flags of our communities with pride. Today it is right that we honour Jersey’s freedom from tyranny. This British Crown Dependency suffered a 5-year occupation by Nazi Germany during the Second World War.
Jersey’s Liberation Day is a timely reminder about the freedoms that we take for granted across the British Islands.
Senator Philip Ozouf, Treasury and Resources Minister for Jersey, said:
Liberation Day is first and foremost a time of celebration for Jersey, as the point at which we regained our freedom and autonomy. Yet it is also a chance to reflect on an experience that is still felt deeply in our island and to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for the British-led cause of freedom in the world.
The raising of the Jersey flag in Whitehall on this most important of days for the island is a significant symbol of Jersey’s strong relations with the United Kingdom, our historic partner and friend. Our relationship with the British Crown has existed for over 800 years and, as such, the Jersey flag flying in London is an important symbol of the unity of our past, present and future. I very much hope that this powerful new tradition will continue.
Today’s flag flying is part of a wider initiative to recognise and celebrate local, national and international flags, including Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories. Flags previously flown include the Gibraltar flag to mark its National Day and the Falklands flag to celebrate its liberation from Argentinian forces.
The Channel Islands are not part of the European Union, but benefit from a Customs Union and other individually negotiated agreements.
Working with the independent Flag Institute, the government is encouraging more local communities to create their own local flags. The Institute has published a guide (PDF, 8.6MB) on creating new local and community flags.
The government has also relaxed the planning rules relating to the flying of flags to make it easier for a wider range of flags to be flown without the need for express consent which could cost up to £335. The changes are helping increase the number of flags people can fly, promoting integration and community spirit.
The United Kingdom Union flag always flies in superior position on the department’s primary flag pole. The secondary flag pole flies a range of local, national and international flags; the default flag is the Cross of St George, reflecting the department’s work with local government in England.
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