“As the owner and founder of Jersey Military Tours, I am passionate about military history and want to share that passion with my guests by offering tours covering Jersey’s unique military past spanning some 3000 years. During conflicts of the past centuries, Jersey was the frontline mainly between warring England and France. The Island has been invaded many times and there have been plenty of battles and other confrontations, as well as a number of occupations, the last on which was in the Second World War. I invite you to be my guest so that I can share all that history with you!”
Jersey’s history starts at least 3000 years ago when Bronze Age inhabitants built defensive positions to protect themselves from marauding invaders. Indeed, there may even have been earlier Neolithic Stone Age defences!
The most significant militarisation (before the 20th century) started shortly after King John of England (also known as Duc Jean of Normandy) lost his continental lands in Normandy in 1204 to the French, which thrust the Channel Islands onto a frontline between England and France. War was waged on and off for more than 600 years and the Channel Islands were fortified against French attack to a much more significant extent than mainland England.
With militarisation came battles and sieges and there is only one century (the 19th) since the 13th century when there hasn’t been a battle here. The 19th century was, however, for Jersey the pinnacle of British militarisation and garrisons of thousands of men which in their own way led to the cultural and linguistic change within the Island from French to English.
Video of some of the many military history sites in Jersey.
The English built castles and other fortifications garrisoned by their troops from the 13th century. Jersey also had a compulsory militia for all men between the ages of 16 and 60 who were trained to defend their island which ensured until the First World War, a very large body of fighting men were available . At the height of Jersey’s British built and manned defences in the early part of the 19th century in the aftermath of the Battle of Jersey (1781), there were more than 800 cannon mounted around the Island in over a hundred locations!
The Island’s most recent military history was during World War Two, when the Channel Islands were occupied by Nazi Germany. Many German bunkers and fortifications are permanent reminders, and of course, that period is still within living memory of some Islanders. The German Occupation closes hundreds of years of violent conflict, built layer upon layer around our island.
Jersey Military Tours use fully insured and licenced modern luxury Public Service Vehicles – a 16-seater mini-coach and an 7-seater minibus, both equipped with digital media technology to enhance our tours.
Jersey Military Tours will take you on journeys back in time to all the different eras in Jersey’s military history around our beautiful and scenic home. We also have examples of the different weaponry from those different eras (some original and some replicas) which you can see and handle and so better understand Jersey’s military history.