German Occupation 1940-45 Tours

Conflict Archaeology of the German Occupation

Conflict archaeology of the German Occupation is everywhere you look around the Channel Islands. Some of us have it in our homes and gardens! I live right next to the coast on the south of the Island. All around the coast there are examples of conflict archaeology and reminders of both English/British military fortifications (from the period from the early …

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Nazi Germany occupies part of the British Isles – (The German Occupation of the Channel Islands Part 2)

The British government hoped that as open towns, the islands would be spared a German attack which would be costly in civilian lives as well as property damage. Indeed they even naively considered that the Germans would not even bother occupying the undefended islands, which might be able to sit out the war in isolation. For the Germans, victoriously sitting in Normandy …

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After 603 years of defending their home, Jersey Militia is disbanded in face of Nazi advance in June 1940. (The German Occupation of the Channel Islands, Part 1)

In June 1940, following the defeat of the British Expeditionary Force in the face of the German blitzkrieg and the evacuation at Dunkirk, the Channel Islands waited with great apprehension to see whether the war would reach them. The Jersey Militia, now voluntary since the First World War, had been preparing since the outbreak of war to defend the Island, albeit …

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Squadron Leader Henri Gonay, DFC, CdeG (1913-1944)

A short memorial video to a Belgian pilot in the RAF, Henri Gonay who crashed and lost his life in Jersey shortly after D-Day in June 1944. It is believed that Squadron Leader Gonay had been attacking German shipping to the south of Jersey when his Hawker Typhoon fighter was hit by anti-aircraft fire. His body was recovered from the wreckage …

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The Occupation Tapestry, Jersey, Channel Islands – commemorating liberation from 5 years of Nazi rule

The Occupation Tapestry was the biggest community art project ever undertaken in Jersey, and made by Islanders for Islanders. It was conceived in order to tell the story of what life was like during the five years of German occupation. The original idea about creating a tapestry came about when, in the lead-up to the 50th anniversary of the Liberation, suitable projects were sought …

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Soldiers’ graffiti from the German Occupation of Jersey

At Resistance Nest La Motte A, on the south-east corner of Jersey, Channel Islands, German troops manning the Kwk 39 5cm gun, used an existing beachside summerhouse for shelter and to house their searchlight. Like many soldiers, they left their graffiti including a rather sentimental thought from one who was perhaps missing his home and family. In the lead-work around …

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Resistance during the German Occupation of the Channel Islands – Part 1

I first explain that resistance could be one of three types: Armed resistance of the type already mentioned, whereby resistance groups waged a guerrilla war against the occupiers; Active resistance which is not in the first category, is generally non-violent, but is nonetheless deliberate and designed to harass, annoy or disrupt the occupying enemy; and Active resistance whereby assistance is given …

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British or German? – Who built the most military fortifications in Jersey?

What is also known is that the Germans chose many of the same defensive positions, particularly along coastline, that the British had fortified in the late 18th and early 19th centuries (see also note below on the Germans’ first reaction to these fortifications).  In many instances, they even adapted a number of those historic British fortifications, by adding reinforced concrete and modern …

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76 Years Ago – Memories of a 5 year old boy.

  A few years ago, my father, Silvanus Yates, wrote down what he remembered about that time, when he and the rest of the family were evacuated to England with the British military forces in the Island. Here is an extract of what he said (and which has not hitherto been published): “During 1938, the British Army had set up a …

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