The most obvious reminder of the German Occupation are the many fortified bunkers built by the Germans as part of Hitler’s Atlantic Wall to defend his conquered and occupied territories from what was considered to be an inevitable Allied attack. However, there are many other everyday reminders which are completely overlooked as relics of that time or there are others hidden from view, as nature takes its course and smothers them. There are examples of resistance by the population, not armed in view of the very small size of the Island, but more subversive in nature, which was nonetheless still heroic and severely punished, if caught.
It wasn’t that the Island suddenly ceased to be affected by hostilities after occupation the Germans arrived in 1940. Far from it, the Island became a fortress upon the personal orders of Hitler and one which he had no intention of giving up. Any allied shipping or aircraft were fired upon if they dared to approach, and a number of Allied combatants loss their lives around the coast, or were forced to crash land on the Island. Military construction was on a unprecedented scale in the Island’s history, with a huge forced and slave labour workforce being imported when troop and local labour (those who either owed no allegiance to the British or were tempted by higher German wages) were insufficient for the task in hand.
And there was great hardship experienced, particularly after the occupied Islands were themselves cut off behind the Allied advance after D Day in 1944.
You will be guided around the Island visiting a selection of sites from the German Occupation. As well as the more obvious present day reminders of that period such as bunkers, which are particularly prominent on the west coast, there are many less obvious ones which have blended into the scenery such that many don’t even realise that they were built by the Germans. Other sites like forced and slave worker camps have effectively disappeared and their whereabouts are known by very few. You will also discover where notable events during the Occupation happened – a Commando raid, plane crashes, an execution, a naval engagement close to shore, as well as where those who resisted lived. And then there are the stories of the occupied Islanders, and sometimes, those of individual German soldiers, who were often actually far from the Nazi stereo-type most often assumed.
German Occupation Tour Dates and Options
We will have a number of German Occupation themed tours:
1. “The German Occupation – Military History and fortifications” which will generally run as a Half Day tour on MONDAYS and SATURDAYS from 09.30 to 13.00 during the summer season, but occasionally will be on another day.
Summary: Military History Interest. This tour explores the military history of the German Occupation and includes interior bunker access on three sites. It’s a shorter version of “The German Bunker Tour” amongst the scenery of the west of the Island, so see that tour for details of sites.
2. “The German Bunker Tour – Occupation 1940-45“ which will run as a Full day tour on WEDNESDAYS and selected other days from 10.00 to 18.00
Summary: Military History Enthusiasts! This is a unique tour with private access to the interiors of most of restored German bunkers maintained by the CI Occupation Society
3. “The German Occupation – Life in Jersey” which will run as a Full Day tour which is available as a private tour.
Summary: German Occupation General Interest. The German Occupation changed Jersey forever. Loss of freedom, hardship and millions of tons of concrete and steel! A more general tour covering the impact of the Occupation upon Jersey’s residents as well as the Island itself. This tour circles the Island and therefore includes most of Jersey’s best scenery. Visits to CI Military Museum (which is in a former bunker) as well as some German fortification sites.
Highlights of the German Occupation Tours
- Lager Wick, forced labour camp
- Diélamont Manor Memorial to crashed Spitfire pilot, Pilot Officer Scheidhauer, RAF
- Site of the British Commando raid, Égypte, Trinity
- Grève de Lecq
- Batterie Moltke and MP3, Les Landes
- Channel Islands Military Museum
- Sechsschartentürme – Heavy Machinegun Turret bunker, Val de la Mare
- St Ouen’s Bay
- Corbière Strongpoint bunkers
- St Brelade’s Bay
- Batterie Lothringen and MP1, Noirmont – also site of US PT Boat naval engagement offshore
- 4.7cm Anti-Tank Gun Casemate, Millbrook
Please see the separate Places section below to see some of the locations which are included in these tours. The different featured tours have different stops and the Half Day tour will make fewer stops than the Full Day tours.
You can also Click the Map icon (below main image in grey bar to the right) to view locations and see further information
History Alive’s and Jersey Military Tours are devised in a way to give our guests an overall and enjoyable experience which means that we won’t always follow the same route or stop at all the above locations. This also gives us the ability to make changes either to take advantage of, or to mitigate against, factors such as weather or other delays which might affect timing. On full day tours, we stop at lunch times where refreshments/food can be purchased, and on all tours, we will stop as necessary for refreshments and comfort breaks.
Our Tours are a combination of a coach tour and exploring the sites on foot, so please refer to the Level of Fitness required to enjoy these Tours. For that, and for what’s included in these Tours and Prices, as well as Pick-Up points for the Tours, please see Information below
Please note that we have many other tours including these tours which are available to book as a Private Group Tour on any available day throughout the year – PLEASE BOOK ONLINE OR CONTACT US TO ENQUIRE