28th June 1940

German planes attack St Helier

Nobody in the British government thought to tell Germany that it had demilitarised the Channel Islands. Thus, in advance of its invasion and occupation, Germany sent in a squadron of bombers, which dropped its payload on both St Helier and St Peter Port harbours. Nine locals were killed in the Jersey raid, which also struck La Rocque, and several others were injured.

Several killed and injured

The official Home Office announcement stated, “at least six persons were killed and several more were injured in Jersey, while, in Guernsey, 23 persons were killed and 36 injured. As stated last night, the Channel Islands have been demilitarised and all armed forces and equipment have already been withdrawn.”

Not only were the forces stationed in the Channel Islands moved back to the mainland: so was anything that could have been of use to German troops when the inevitable invasion took place, including tomato and potato crops.

Intention to kill

Many mainland newspapers carried the same report of the raid, in which locals said that the aircraft had approached from high altitude but swept down so low that it was evident their intent was to kill civilians, many of whom had stopped to watch the unexpected, approaching planes.

An unnamed correspondent was quoted as saying that three raids had taken place. Together, they lasted two hours and caused considerable damage to several hotels, a timber store and a coal yard, requiring the attendance of the fire brigade. The German aircraft remained in formation throughout the attack.


FREE Jersey history newsletter

Don't miss our weekly update on Jersey's fascinating history. We promise never to sell your data to anyone else, and there's a super-easy unsubscribe link on the bottom of each email so you can leave whenever you want.



Other events that occured in June