The Occupation of Jersey during WWII left lasting marks on Jersey’s landscape. Following the orders to convert Jersey into an impregnable fortress, thousands of forced workers from countries like Russia, Spain, France, Poland, and Algeria built hundreds of bunkers, anti-tank walls, railway systems, as well as many tunnel complexes. Many of these sites are scattered around Jersey’s countryside and coastline. Explore the island’s unique wartime history and see the traces the five-year-long Occupation left behind, from concrete defences, bunkers and fortifications to a network of underground tunnels.

Visit historical sites or join a expert-led tour to cast light on this dark side of Jersey’s history.

The Jersey War Tunnels.

Jersey War Tunnels or Hohlgangsanlage 8 as the location was known during the war, is over a kilometre of German underground tunnels that were built – mainly by slave workers. Today, it’s a thought-provoking experience that tells the many stories of Jersey’s Occupation through installations, soundscapes and relics of the time. Designed to capture attention with its powerful content, the atmosphere of Jersey War Tunnels impresses on visitors the importance of reflecting on these curated stories.

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The Channel Island Military Museum.

It’s a fitting home for this fascinating collection of Occupation history; housed in a WW2 German bunker on St. Ouen’s Bay, this museum is a rich source of insight into history, from German military artefacts to memories, recounted and recorded by locals who lived through the Occupation years. The bunker itself once formed part of Hitler’s Atlantic Wall defences, and is now used as a space for visitors to experience the past.

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The Occupation Tapestry.

How did a local community react to the German invasion? That’s the question answered by the artists who created the award-winning Occupation Tapestry to mark the 50th anniversary of the island’s liberation. Inspired by the stories and memories of those who experienced the Occupation first-hand, you can see it for yourself at Jersey’s Maritime Museum.

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The award winning Jersey War Tunnels.

An archive image of forced workers at Thiebault Quarry

Liberation Route Europe - Forced Workers Trail.

To achieve Hitler’s orders of transforming Jersey into an impregnable fortress, approximately 6000 foreign forced workers were brought to the island against their will over a two year period. The Forced Workers Trail will take you on a journey, visiting the places that tell the story of the plight of the forced workers as witnessed by the civilian population and through writings of the workers themselves.

As you make your way around the Forced Workers Trail, you’ll visit memorials, unassuming buildings and haunting landmarks. A visit to The Stranger’s Cemetery and memorial at Westmount is a reflective experience. Monolithic concrete constructions at Elizabeth Castle serve as monuments to the scale of the forced worker’s labours. Look out for a message left by Spanish workers scratched into the wet concrete, ‘made by Spaniards 11.08.1943’, it whispers. The forced worker’s memorial and exhibition at La Hougue Bie is an evocative reminder of the workers stories. So, set off to uncover the poignant story of forced labour in Jersey during WWII.

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A bunker at Noirmoint

Bunker tours.

Keen to see more? Through the year, visitors and locals have a chance to delve deeper into the island’s wartime history with tours of Jersey’s many bunkers from the guides at the Channel Islands Occupation Society, Jersey War Tours and Jersey Military Tours.  It’s a unique glimpse into this period of history, and a chance to see traces of the Occupation years for yourself.

You’ll be amazed at what you’ll find.

As you explore Jersey, you’re likely to stumble across a number of Occupation sites purely by chance. If you want to immerse yourself in Jersey’s Occupation history, here are a few sites to look out for as you explore the island’s hidden military secrets.

A gun emplacement from the Occupation of Jersey

Discover Jersey's Occupation story.

The Channel Islands were the only part of the Britain Isles to be occupied by German forces in WW2. The five-year Occupation came to an end on 9 May 1945 – Liberation Day, an event still celebrated in Jersey with an annual Bank Holiday.

Delve into a story of resilience, hardship and heroism.

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