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Page last updated at 15:12 GMT, Tuesday, 29 June 2010 16:12 UK
Seventy years on from Guernsey's Occupation
German troops in St Peter Port
The German based themselves at the Royal Hotel as the occupation began

On Sunday 30 June 1940 German forces landed at Guernsey airport and began a five year military occupation of the island and the rest of the Bailiwick.

Prior to this, on Friday 28 June 1940, three German aircraft bombed the island, focussing on the White Rock.

At the time of the attack, shortly before 1900 BST, the island's tomato trucks were lined up on the pier and 49 of them were destroyed or damaged.

The bombing killed 34 people and injured many others.

Molly Bihet lived in St Peter Port at the time of the bombing. She said: "We were in Les Canichers walking home and these three planes came very low from the north... my mother pushed us into the closest house and we went down to the basement and we were hearing the noise, terrified we were really."

Bombed tomato trucks
The harbour bombing killed 34 and injured many others

She described the scene at the White Rock following the raid as "turmoil" and said they could hear screaming from where they were in Les Canichers.

Bill Gillingham's father was a member of the auxiliary fire brigade in 1940 and was called to help after the bombing. Bill said: "When he got there there was a blaze and what he saw was virtual carnage."

The raid came following the demilitarisation of the Channel Islands which saw Guernsey's Lieutenant Governer and the RAF's Blenheim aircraft, which had been stationed at Guernsey airport previously, return to England.

Richard Heaume owner of the German Occupation Museum explained that when the German's arrived they were taken to the Royal Hotel where they met with the Bailiff and other local officials and informed them that the island was being occupied.

German forces in Guernsey
The German forces occupied Guernsey for five years, until 9 May 1945

In the days leading up to this Richard said: "We didn't know what would happen... there was panic in the island."

He explained that in the days before the occupation around half of the island's population evacuated to the UK despite posters being put up to reassure the population that evacuation was not compulsory.

On Monday 1 July 1940 The Guernsey Press printed orders from the German occupiers detailing what was to be done now they were in command including rules on curfew, weapon ownership and sale of motor fuel.


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