Friday, 1 July 2016

Hohlgangsanlage 8

As you may know, Jersey was occupied during the Second World War.  Now this was, as you well imagine, a Big Thing.  Churchill said "The Channel Islands will not repeat not be defended against external invasion' and once the Germans were informed (after they dropped some bombs) they arrived to take up residence in the islands.

The usual war-like sort of stuff went on.  One of the first things they did was change the time to Central European Time, which kind of flummoxed the locals for a while.

Gradually, or maybe not so gradually, the islanders' way of life changed.  First they weren't allowed to fish, which was a biggie, for a small island.  Then they confiscated all radios.  Food was rationed and neighbours started ratting on their fellow kin, as some people are want to do when the going gets rough - old scores need to be settled.  Letters were sent to German Command along the lines of 'Check out Mrs So-and-so, she has a radio under the floorboards', 'Why has Mr Whoever got stockpiles of tinned food in his wardrobe?', and so on.   Interesting to read about it now, some 70 years on.  Human nature and all that, eh?

One from the darkroom, that, as you can probably tell.  I skipped in there this morning for a couple of hours.  Nothing great came out, mind you, but it was nice to be there all the same.  This one should have had a lot more light about it, but hopefully you get the gist.  There used to be an old gas mask like these in our shed when I was growing up and it was very weird putting it on.  Don't know what became of it - probably got dumped, as things do from time to time.  

The occupiers took to writing articles in the local press - the usual propaganda stuff.  Thing is, the editors didn't correct their English, so it was pretty clear to any islander what was going on.  Things took a turn for the worse after a few years, however, when the spotlight was turned on any English-born islanders and then any Jewish.  Anyone found harbouring a radio or generally getting into the German's bad books was deported to mainland Europe and generally didn't come back.

There was a lot of evidence of the the occupation in Jersey.  You have Liberation Station.  And the Liberty Bus service.   Very good they were too, the old Liberty Buses.  On time, good value, clean and with friendly drivers - what more do you need from a bus service, eh?

A final note about the War Tunnels, which were built as an ammo dump and an underground hospital (Ho8).  They were mainly built by forced labour from nations across Europe (although there were some well-paid, voluntary workers alongside).  The ones who suffered most were the slave workers, mostly from Ukraine/Russia, who were treated like sub-humans.  On most Sundays they were rested and could beg/buy any spare food from the locals.  They were not given any protective clothing, so when a local store got a delivery of bowler hats they were bought out by the workers.  Slave workers in bowler hats blasting out underground tunnels?  Strange, but true.


  1. Interesting story, and great pics as always.
    Quite a few things was obviously done more or less the same way in Jersey as over here in Norway during the occupation. They were not too keen on letting the locals listen to any radio broadcasts, the germans. Still I guess there were enough of the things around to let people know what was going on, somehow.
    Fishing and hunting was another thing they did not like, but there were ways to work around that as well. Not everyone was too pleased with the new rules, as you would expect.

    1. Hard to believe that it all happened, isn't it? But it did, of course and the stories are pretty uncomfortable. Still, better than a few hundred years ago I guess, when invasions took a rather different, and more direct, approach to the problems of dealing with the locals...