Alderney is an island that is the northernmost of the inhabited Channel Islands and is part of the British Crown dependency of the 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 from the island before the German invasion.
When Germany was defeated in 1945, all the people returned to the island on December 15th of that year. This day has since been marked as Homecoming Day—a holiday that is still observed by the population of Alderney to 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 were not strategically important enough for them to defend, so they chose to evacuate them. 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 then occupied 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 from 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 that 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.