While islanders' impressions of Liberation Day have been formed by black and white images of crowds gathered in front of the Pomme D’Or Hotel, one islander has a very different story to tell about the day.
In this edition of 'Looking Back', Jersey Heritage shares the story of Hazel Tadier, who is now in her 90s...
"Most of us weren’t around to experience the joy and euphoria of the original Liberation Day 75 years ago. Our impressions of that day have been formed by black and white images of crowds gathered in front of the Pomme D’Or Hotel to watch the Union flag being raised on the first floor balcony by British soldiers, who had come to free Islanders from German Occupation.
But what about the rest of Jersey? How did people celebrate Liberation in the country parishes, away from the busy streets of St Helier? What about those who weren’t able to drop everything and head to Town to join the party?
In May 1945, islander Hazel Tadier – now a sprightly lady in her 90s with a very keen memory of the time – was a young mother living in La Vallée des Vaux with her husband, Roger, and her baby. When news of the Liberation reached the family, they were naturally overjoyed like everyone else. Roger was not a smoker, but Hazel remembers that he lit a cigar, drank some whiskey, and walked up and down the valley with his friend, singing ‘Rule Britannia’.
Pictured: Roger lit a cigar, drank some whiskey, and walked up and down the valley with his friend, singing ‘Rule Britannia' to celebrate.
From their home, they could hear the church bells ringing out to mark the Liberation after five long years of Occupation and Hazel tuned in to the radio that they had successfully kept hidden from the Germans. Once, it could have led to her imprisonment. Now, it allowed her to follow the events of Liberation as they unfolded.
Roger and his friend, like many others, headed into Town to find out what was going on first-hand and to join in the celebrations. But Hazel chose to stay at home with her child. She said: “I didn’t want to go into the town with the little one, because I knew it was going to be very crowded. I just stayed at home and listened to the radio, and of course church bells were ringing everywhere.”
While she may have spent the day quietly at home, doing chores and simply enjoying her new-found freedom, Hazel was delighted to hear the happy news that her husband brought back from his trip into Town. He told her about the excited crowds at the Pomme D’Or and she shared with him the feeling of huge joy and relief experienced by every islander on that historic day.
Pictured: One of the iconic images of Liberation. (Société Jersiaise Photographic Archive)
She recalled: ‘It was a very emotional day. You cannot imagine the joy, the happiness, the relief that we were once again free. Because it wasn't living during the Occupation, it was existing. But to know that you were free to live, to enjoy life to the full again…you cannot describe it.
With thanks to Hazel Tadier for sharing her memories of Liberation Day 1945."
This story was told as part of a series in collaboration with Jersey Heritage. To uncover more stories like this, you can delve into Jersey Archive's online records by clicking HERE.
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