Alderney is an island that’s the most northernmost of the inhabited Channel Islands and is a part of the British Crown dependency of Bailiwick of Guernsey. It was also the only part of the British Isles to have been occupied by Nazi forces during WWII. The British evacuated the civilians off of the island before the German invasion.
When Germany was defeated in 1945, all of the people would return back to the island on December 15th of that year. This day would then be marked as Homecoming Day from that day forward—a holiday that’s still observed by the population of Alderney till this day.
The History Of Homecoming Day In Alderney
When Allied Forces were defeated during the Battle of France, Great Britain decided that the Channel Islands weren’t strategically important enough for them to waste defenses on, so they decided to instead evacuate them instead. In June of 1940, a mass evacuation of civilians began, and in about 10-days over 2,000 people were evacuated from Alderney. German forces would then occupy the island on the 2nd of July of that year.
German occupation of Alderney continued until July 16, 1945. Although Germany surrendered in May of 1945, and German forces left the island a week later, a huge cleanup operation had to be undertaken on the island to ensure that it was safe enough for residents to return. On December 15, 1945, the people who were evacuated off of the island were relocated back. And that’s why every year on this date, the whole island celebrates Homecoming Day.
Observing Homecoming Day In Alderney
On Homecoming Day every year, special events are held all over Alderney to mark the occasion. Schoolchildren perform reenactments of the original homecoming, wreaths are laid on memorials, and families come together to spend time with one another.
The people of Alderney also sing an anthem about the events which transpired during this time and sometimes a tea dance is held. People also use the hashtag #HomecomingDayAlderney to spread the word about this holiday around the world.
When is Homecoming Day?
|This year (2022)||December 15 (Thursday)||Multiple dates - more|
|Next year (2023)||December 15 (Friday)||Multiple dates - more|
|Last year (2021)||December 15 (Wednesday)||Multiple dates - more|