Liberation Day Speeches in the States Assembly


Ahead of Liberation Day 2021, this Briefing Paper summarises the history of Liberation Day speeches, how they came about and some of the themes raised within them.

Liberation Day

After almost 5 years of occupation by German forces, Jersey was liberated by British troops on 9th May 1945, the day following VE Day, which saw an end to the hostilities of World War II in Europe.

On VE-Day, the German forces agreed to release prisoners and the Bailiff raised the Union flag over the States and Royal Court Building. 

This was done after Prime Minister Winston Churchill's speech to the House of Commons had been broadcast live to the Royal Square. A large crowd packed the square for the broadcast and heard Churchill’s famous statement:

“Our dear Channel Islands are also to be freed today.”

The Bailiff, Alexander Coutanche, then announced that the Royal Navy was on its way from the United Kingdom to arrange the surrender of the Islands by the Occupying forces. British troops finally landed in Jersey on 9th May. 

Jersey has continued to celebrate Liberation Day annually on 9th May, with celebrations being held in the Parishes and in Liberation Square. An established part of proceedings has been a special meeting of the States Assembly. However, the holding of such a meeting is a comparatively recent occurrence.  The tradition began with meetings of the Assembly to mark important anniversaries of the Liberation through messages to the Queen, and developed into the annual meeting of the Assembly that we see today. 

During these special meetings, one elected States Member is chosen to deliver a Liberation Day address.  The meeting is then followed by a procession of the Bailiff, States Members and other senior officials from the Royal Square to Liberation Square.  

Liberation Day Meetings

On 8th May 1985, following the adoption of a proposition from Senator Ralph Vibert, the States transmitted an address to Her Majesty the Queen to mark the 40th anniversary of the Liberation. 

“On this special occasion we remember with particular pride and gratitude the gracious message which your late father, His Majesty King George VI, sent to the people of the Channel Islands on 10th May, 1945, welcoming them on their restoration to freedom and to their rightful place with the free nations of the World.”

This was followed by a similar address marking the 50th anniversary of Liberation in 1995, proposed on that occasion by Senator Reg Jeune. At that meeting, the Bailiff informed the Assembly that the gift from La Société Jersiaise of a stone tablet commemorating the Liberation of the Island, previously accepted by the States, had been installed. 

Liberation Day Meeting Special Guests

The Liberation Day meetings of the States Assembly are special meetings and the sole item of business is the Liberation Day address of the nominated member. They are attended by His Excellency the Lieutenant Governor and, since 2017, have been transmitted by the Assembly live to Liberation Square and the Weighbridge.

Over the years they have been attended by representatives from many other jurisdictions, including Germany, Madeira, Spain, Portugal, Poland, France, the Isle of Man, Russia, Belarus, the UK and the Cayman Islands. 

On occasion, members of the Royal Family have also been in attendance for the Liberation Day celebrations; 

  • 2005 – Her Majesty the Queen was in the Island for the 60th Anniversary Liberation Day celebrations. The speech she made in the Island is available here.

  • 2007 – His Royal Highness the Duke of Kent

  • 2015– Her Royal Highness the Countess of Wessex attended the 70th Anniversary of Liberation Day and delivered a message to the Bailiwick of Jersey from Her Majesty the Queen:

"Today is a day for all the survivors of that generation and for the people of Jersey, young and old, to come together to give thanks for the success of the Allied Forces and the Liberation of the Island and to pass on the spirit of reconciliation to future generations." 

Annual Speeches in the States Assembly

The annual speaker is chosen from the elected States Members – and a full list of speakers is provided in Appendix A. Speeches have touched on numerous topics over the years.  A few quotes are provided below:


“Whilst today is a day of remembrance, it is also a day of celebration. It is Jersey's special day. We all enjoy and benefit from the freedom that was given to this Island community 55 years ago. It is therefore very important that everyone living in Jersey today, irrespective of his or her origins, should feel included and able to join in the spirit of celebration. 

Remembrance and celebration are the two words that we should hold in our hearts and minds throughout today, as indeed they were on the day when this Island was liberated 55 years ago.”


“We recollect these stories not just for our past, but for our future. These stories – the first-hand memories of those caught up the Occupation – must live on. The restoration of freedom was a momentous occasion for those who lived through those years – and every year we must continue to celebrate the freedom we enjoy to determine our future.”


“I imagine that members who have given this address in the past have asked themselves “why me?” – and I am no different. I wondered, Sir, why I have been asked to give it. Then it occurred to me. For the first time since 1945 there is no one in this Assembly, elected or appointed, who was born before May 9th 1945.”


“This not only marks 74 years of our liberation from German occupation, but it is almost exactly 100 years since this Chamber passed a proposition giving women in Jersey the vote. I stand here today acutely aware that the freedoms my children rightly take for granted, freedom from occupation and fascism, but also freedom for women to be represented and to represent were fought for, paid for and sometimes died for, within our living memory.”

A different 2020

Saturday 9th May 2020 marked the 75th anniversary of the Liberation of Jersey. States Members joined in the celebrations by participating in the first virtual States Sitting for Liberation Day, necessitated by the social distancing restrictions of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Loyal Address - 2022

In 2022 HRH the Earl of Wessex was present at the Liberation Day celebrations and delivered a loyal address from Her Majesty the Queen on the occasion of the 77th Anniversary of the liberation of the Island. The Bailiff then delivered a loyal response. Unlike previous years the special sitting took place in Liberation Square and not in the States Chamber. 

The loyal address was read as follows -

"On the occasion of the Seventy-Seventh Anniversary of your Liberation from occupation, I send you my warmest greetings. As you remember the trials and hardship that the people of Jersey endured during the occupation in the Second World War, we are reminded of the courage and sacrifice of those who remained; those who were deported or evacuated from the Island; and those served in the Armed Forces. Today, as you come together to give thanks for the Liberation of the Island, I am delighted that The Earl and Countess of Wessex have had the opportunity to travel to Jersey to represent me on this special occasion. I recall my own visits with fondness and pleasure, and you always extended such a warm welcome. In my Platinum Jubilee year, I continue to cherish our close and long-lasting ties, founded on the loyalty that the people of Jersey have shown. My thoughts and prayers remain with my most loyal Members of the States and the people of Jersey for your continued happiness and prosperity."

Appendix A

Liberation Day Speeches

​Name of Speaker
​Minutes / Hansard of Speech
​Bailiff, Sir Frank Ereaut

​Bailiff, Philip Bailhache
​Senator Jean Le Maistre

​Senator Pierre Horsfall
​Deputy Harry Baudains of St. Clement
​Senator Frank Walker
​Deputy David Crespel of Trinity
​Senator Jean Le Maistre
​Connétable John Germain of St. Martin
​Senator Frank Walker
​Senator Frank Walker
​Senator Terence Le Sueur
​Deputy Bob Hill, B.E.M, of St. Martin
​Senator Terry Le Main
​Connétable Daniel Murphy of Grouville
​Connétable John Le Sueur Gallichan of Trinity
​Senator Ian Gorst
​Connétable Len Norman of St. Clement
​Connétable Sadie Le Sueur-Rennard of St. Saviour
​Senator Paul Routier
​Senator Alan Maclean
​Deputy Carolyn Labey of Grouville
​Connétable Simon Crowcroft of St. Helier
Deputy Carina Alves​Link

Loyal Address​Link

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