The Guernsey Liberation Medal

dlrg

LE
I came across this interesting article in 'The Gentleman's Military Interest Club'.

The Guernsey Liberation Medal…

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Over recent years observers watching the November Veteran march-pasts at the Cenotaph in London have spotted a medal with a rather brightly coloured ribbon appearing on the blazers & jackets of some of the former proud old soldiers taking part in this annual Act of Remembrance… and subsequent investigations have revealed it to be the Guernsey Liberation Medal that was first struck in 1995 and issued to the surviving members of Allied Force 135, the soldiers who originally liberated the Bailiwick of Guernsey on May 9th 1945 after 6 long years of German Occupation.

On May 8th as the German forces laid down their weaponry, the islanders broke out their hidden radios to hear Winston Churchill announce that “our dear Channel islands would once again be free.”. Meanwhile the Destroyer HMS ‘Bulldog’ had sailed for Guernsey waters under the code-name ‘Operation Nest Egg’, to drop anchor on May 9th just off St Peter Port’s harbour.

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The official surrender by Germany’s Major-General Heiner then took place aboard Bulldog, after which a lone Royal Naval LCI sailed into the harbour and the entire German garrison of some 10,000 men handed over the reins of command to just 30 British artillerymen and the initial joy at deliverance from German Occupation on that sunny day in May 1945 has never been forgotten and today May 9th is enshrined in as ‘Liberation Day’, an official holiday across all of the Channel Islands.
But what of those young British soldiers who originally came ashore on that wonderful day in 1945? This was a question that ex-pat Guernseyman John Richards, (a former advertising executive living in Hampshire), had often pondered but not knowing just how many Vets might even still be living, he joined forces with former Deputy Director of Guernsey Tourism (and a former officer in the Hampshire Regt), Major Evan Ozanne Ret. and the pair began a painstaking hunt across some 42 countries in an effort to trace those original members of Force 135. As they were doing so, sketches for the design for an original Liberation medallion were being made, incorporating the 3 Guernsey Lions to the front of the medal and the legend ‘Operation Nest Egg. Fiftieth Anniversary of Liberation .Task Force 135’ on the obverse; with a suggestion that the ribbon be two yellow vertical lines on a red background in representation of the colours of the Bailiwick of Guernsey and redolent of the triangular badge worn on the battle-dress shoulders of the liberating soldiers of Force 135.
Final designs were subsequently submitted to London medal makers Toye, Kenning & Spencer and the official Force 135 Liberation Medal, to be worn on the right breast, was born.

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By now John Richards & Evan Ozanne had located some 210 veterans from the original 1945 Operation Nestegg’ and, on Liberation weekend in 1995, a number of them were invited over to Guernsey to be presented with their medallion by the Bailiff of Guernsey, Sir Graham Dorey, whilst those unable able to make the trip were officially presented with their medallions in their home towns, as a small but heartfelt token of gratitude from the people of Guernsey to those young soldiers who came ashore on that joyful and emotional day in 1945.


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SpiderFox

Clanker
Thanks for posting, my Grandfather would have been one of those liberated.

All the islanders that remained on Guernsey were presented with a medal in the 1970's (I think):

SoGMedal.jpg


My father and his brother were evacuated on the 20th June 1940 on the SS. Antwerp, his sister and mother the next day. Grandpa stayed behind and waited for his boss to return from taking his aged mother to England. Alas the Germans landed before his return and my Grandfather became the acting head of the Income Tax Department during the German Occupation.

He was reunited with his family on 1st September 1945.
 

dlrg

LE
.Task Force 135’ on the obverse; with a suggestion that the ribbon be two yellow vertical lines on a red background in representation of the colours of the Bailiwick of Guernsey and redolent of the triangular badge worn on the battle-dress shoulders of the liberating soldiers of Force 135.

Just to add. Here's an example of the shoulder badge of Force 135.

Force 135.jpg

Force 135 Channel Islands Liberation Force. (Printed) Circa 1945 -
Sold for £125 by Relic Militaria (2015?)
(British: Force 135 Channel Islands Liberation Force. (Printed)Circa.1945)
 
Thanks for posting, my Grandfather would have been one of those liberated.

All the islanders that remained on Guernsey were presented with a medal in the 1970's (I think):

View attachment 601673

My father and his brother were evacuated on the 20th June 1940 on the SS. Antwerp, his sister and mother the next day. Grandpa stayed behind and waited for his boss to return from taking his aged mother to England. Alas the Germans landed before his return and my Grandfather became the acting head of the Income Tax Department during the German Occupation.

He was reunited with his family on 1st September 1945.
Sadly all that looks a bit ‘homemade’ - the ribbon is that of the WW1 British War Medal. However the medal is interesting, to say the least.
 
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dlrg

LE
Thanks for posting, my Grandfather would have been one of those liberated.

All the islanders that remained on Guernsey were presented with a medal in the 1970's (I think):

View attachment 601673

My father and his brother were evacuated on the 20th June 1940 on the SS. Antwerp, his sister and mother the next day. Grandpa stayed behind and waited for his boss to return from taking his aged mother to England. Alas the Germans landed before his return and my Grandfather became the acting head of the Income Tax Department during the German Occupation.

He was reunited with his family on 1st September 1945.

There is also a similar commemorative medal for the States of Jersey.

Jersey.jpg
 

SpiderFox

Clanker
Sadly all that looks a bit ‘homemade’ - the ribbon is that of the WW1 British War Medal. However the medal is interesting, to say the least.
Do you know what medal the ribbon comes from?

He was a gunner in WW1 (241 Royal Field Artillery), the Liberation Medal was passed to me along with his other medals, etc. when my uncle died.

Here's his occupation ID card (The cover has come out a bit more pink than reality):

Grandpa ID card cover resized.jpg
Grandpa ID card inside resized.jpg
 

dlrg

LE
Do you know what medal the ribbon comes from? He was a gunner in WW1 (241 Royal Field Artillery), ....

As mentioned above, It's the ribbon of the British War Medal 1914-20. Commonly accompanied by the 1914 or 14/15 Star and Victory Medal.

Perhaps @FourZeroCharlie can shed some light on his WW1 service history.

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SpiderFox

Clanker
Thanks chaps!
I've posted Clifford's medals in this thread. They were initially passed to my uncle Henry (who made the box) and it looks like some of the ribbons got mixed up.

I don't know where else to post the following photos, but as there's a tenuous link to this thread I'll put them here. The photographer was someone in the family, the description as it is on the back, both taken around Liberation Day.

HMS King George V outside St. Peter Port harbour, 8 May 1946:
HMS KGV 8 May 1946.jpg


HMS Fierce, with Castle Cornet in the background 14 May 1947:

HMS Fierce 14 May 1947.jpg
 

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