Sark & The War Years
Occupation & Liberation
Sark was occupied, along with the other Channel Islands, during WWII. The German soldiers arrived on 3rd July, 1940 and remained on the island for nearly 5 years. During that time Dame Sybil, the island's Seigneur, famously kept the soldiers in check and protected her subjects by using her greatest strengths to her advantage: feudal etiquette and good old fashioned class.
“You do not appear to be in the least afraid,” one officer said.
Without hesitation, Dame Sibyl replied, “Is there any reason why I should be afraid of German officers?”
Having a leader who spoke German, as well as French and English, was another great advantage for the people of Sark. Dame Sybil was able to communicate and negotiate better treatment for local residents and convinced the majority of them to stay on Sark during the occupation. This proved to be a saving grace for the island, as mass evacuations on other islands devastated their communities.
“I am not promising you that it will be easy,” she told them. “We may be hungry but we will always have our cattle and crops, our gardens, a few pigs, our sheep and rabbits.”
Whilst Europe was liberated on 8th May 1945 & Guernsey the following day, Sark was not liberated until 10th May. As Channel Island members of Liberation Route Europe, there are vectors to follow, where you can walk in the footsteps of the allied forces who arrived to liberate the island.
“Would you mind being left for a few days, or would you prefer to go to Guernsey with me?”, asked Lieutenant Colonel K. Allen.
“As I have been left for nearly five years,” she said, “I can stand a few more days.”, replied Dame Sybil.