Alderney Homecoming Day
For Alderney, there was no Liberation as is remembered and celebrated by Islanders in Guernsey, Sark and Jersey as all Alderney residents were evacuated in June 1940 and the island housed the only Concentration Camp on British Soil.
After spending over five years on mainland Britain, on December 15th 1945 the Alderney islanders finally began to return home. On their return they found their homeland changed forever. The island had been ransacked and looted and the years that followed were hard times where they struggled to rebuild their homes and their community.
Every year, the islanders come together to celebrate Homecoming Day with a church service and the laying of a wreath under a brass plaque at the courthouse with the famous words of Judge French calling the islanders to assemble ready to evacuate the island in June 1940.
This year the Lieutenant-Governor and Mrs Cripwell were able to attend the service and this moving ceremony unlike any other held in the British Isles. Pauline Redhead from the Salvation Army described the actual boat landings from "The Alderney Story" and schoolchildren read the Alderney Homecoming Poem and sang with their choir. A tea party at the Island Hall followed, attended by families and where His Excellency and Mrs Cripwell were able to meet the last handful of Homecoming survivors still resident on the Island.
In the picture on the front, is President William Tate with some of the schoolchildren at the laying of the wreath and below is the church service.
Photos courtesy of David Nash.