We were invited by the people of Jersey, who had seen the reports and photos of our Normandy 2004 event, to come and help them celebrate the 60th anniversary of their liberation in May 1945.
45 of us, and 15 vehicles, sometimes after traumatic journeys, set sail from Portsmouth and Weymouth on 5th May 2005, arriving on the island later that day.
We were co-located with the "Military Mania" military vehicle show, capably organised by Richard leBrocq and other members of the Jersey Military Vehicle Club. To look at their website, click here
The facilities provided were very good - onsite toilets, showers within walking distance, shops, pubs and restaurants all within easy reach.
Friday 6th May dawned windy, cold and damp. Most of us stayed on site that day, setting up our displays ready for the weekend. But we al had time to visit the island - some of us officially to schools and other functions, others privately to see museums and fortifications.
Saturday and Sunday 7th and 8th May were dry, windy and sunny. Members received around 7500 visitors to the camp over the two days, and particpated in arena displays of mine clearance and a small skirmish.
Monday 9th may, Liberation Day, a public holiday on the island, was the real highlight of the visit. Warm, brilliant sunshine all day. Over 100 WWII military vehicles departed in convoy to drive from St Peter's to St Helier, through streets lined with cheering crowds. Once there, "hurry up an wait" became the order of the day, as we, recreating Force 135, went onto the beach and were loaded onto landing craft. After another wait we drove down the ramps, up the beach and slipway, and along the esplanade. There must have been tens of thousands of people lining the route. The rest of the day ws spent in St Helier.
That evening we were guests of honour at a dinner held for us at the restaurant at La Corbière, surely one of the most beautiful places on a picturesque island. Later many of us enjoyed the firework display in St Helier.
So, on Tuesday 10th May, we all left the island, tired but happy, many of us vowing to return.
Thanks to these groups who attended -
The Garrison, the Hampshire Regiment, the Historical Maritime Society , the Gold Beach HQ group, and individuals who joined us too.
Thanks also to Carol and Peter on the island, who worked so hard to make this work, and the people of Jersey who made us so welcome.
And to Richard leBrocq and the JMVC - courteous and thoughtful hosts.