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In June 1944, the Normandy landings marked the initiation of ‘Operation Overlord’, the invasion of northwest Europe by the Allied forces. By 7th May 1945, the Germany army had surrendered and the end of the war in Europe was announced. Early on 9th May the German forces occupying the Channel Islands surrendered to the Allies and, within hours, Jerseys’ liberators, Force135, had freed the Island of German control.
During the week leading up to 6th May Islanders had been hearing reports of Hitler’s fall in Berlin by way of their hidden radios. In spite of the fact that the Island was still officially under occupation, rumours began circulating of an imminent end to the war in Europe.
The German Command were defiant and no reference to surrender was entertained. Instead, the Germans portrayed their defeat as a shift in focus towards a union between the powers in a new fight against Russia.
At 07.15 on 9th May, on the quarter deck of HMS Bulldog, Second-in-Command for Guernsey General Siegfried Heine signed the Instrument of Surrender on behalf of the German Command of the Channel Islands, effecting their capitulation. On completion of this, General Heine was then ordered to “immediately cause all German flags and ensigns now flying in the Channel Islands to be lowered”.