The Occupation of Jersey during World War II

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  • Guernsey Liberation Day celebrations
  • Liberation day dancing
  • La Roccoco Tower

The Occupation of Jersey during World War II

Liberation Day

9th May – Jersey, Guernsey & Herm

10th May – Sark, 16th May – Alderney

Hitler’s Atlantic Wall

During World War II, Hitler saw The Channel Islands Occupation as part of a strategic defence strategy and formed plans to militarise them as part of a huge Atlantic Wall against Britain. Occupying forces moved in for 5 years from 1940 until 1945, creating a huge and lasting presence on both the islanders and the islands.

Occupation on each island

By 1940, The Channel Islands were being promoted as tourism destinations in an effort to boost the morale of British Citizens. However when the Battle of France took place in June, 46 Whitley bombers were sent from Guernsey and Jersey to assist efforts in Italy. When the battle was lost, Winston Churchill took the decision to de-militarise the islands, unbeknown to Hitler. As bombs began to fall on 28 June 1940, in the ensuing confusion, authorities on each island took their separate decisions as to whether evacuation was necessary. Guernsey prepared to evacuate its children with parents given an option to go with them, Herm remained relatively unscathed and Sark’s Dame, Sybil Hathaway, chose to treat the new occupants as guests. In Jersey the majority of the population stayed whilst Alderney residents were ordered to evacuate entirely. By 1st July, Nazi flags were flying high on all the islands.

The Channel Islands, a military history

As you visit the Channel Islands today, you can’t fail to notice military looking fortifications dotted around the coastlines. The Channel Islands have a long military history of being variously claimed by Britain and France and many fortifications date back to Napoleon’s time. When German forces entered during World War II, many of the former military sites were adapted for new purpose. There are a number of excellent museums in Jersey and Guernsey which bring to life events of the time. 

Jersey Occupation – places to visit

Channel Islands Military Museum

A former German bunker with a collection of memorabilia.

Jersey War Tunnels and German Underground Hospital

Set in the actual tunnels dug by German prisoners of war, learn the fascinating history of the Occupation in Jersey with exhibits and interactive displays.

Battery Lothringen

Command bunker at Noirmont Point in St Brélade is open to the public.

Marine Peilstand or MP Towers

Can be seen around the island. Intending 6 to be used as look outs to sea, only 3 were eventually built. MP1 is part of Battery Lothringen, the radio tower at Corbière lighthouse serves as MP2 and MP3 is part of Battery Moltke.

Battery Moltke

Situated at St Ouen has one bunker open with public access.

Hohlgangsanlagen

A network of various cave like tunnels around the island. Ho8 is a museum.

Plémont guardhouse

Adapted from an 18th Century battery to have a tank turret and contain an emplacement with twin machine guns, an observation post and searchlight shelter.

10.5cm Jäger Casemate

Situated at various coastline locations with Corbiere the fullest example and operating as a museum. St Ouen’s Bay is another location, also operating as a museum although lacking a gun. There are 2 unrestored examples at Elizabeth Castle.

4.7cm Festung Pak 36 (t) Casemate

Often added to sea walls. CIOS operate a museum at Millbrook where one is situated.

Multiple Sechsschartentürme

Six looped turrets can be seen around the island with one at Corbiere now a museum although lacking its turret.

Noirmont headland, St Brelade
Liberation Day dancing
Jersey War Tunnels