Monday, September 14, 2015

The Grouch's take the British Isles by land and by sea! Part 4

Our first landfall was the island of Jersey in the Channel islands group close to the coast of France.  The islands, part of the UK, were intentionally undefended when WW2 started in order to spare the islanders the horror of a fighting invasion by the Germany military.  Those islanders who wished to be, were evacuated by the government before the Germans arrived.  The remaining population were faced with a German occupation that lasted five long years.   PBS showed a great dramatic series several years ago made in the UK about the initial occupation of the Channel islands by the Germans.  It is probably still available for purchase via PBS for those interested. 

We signed up for the WW2 tour of Jersey which first took us to the German coast artillery emplacements along the cliffs and then to an underground German hospital/command center.  According to the information provided during the tour of the underground hospital, the only fighting that occurred for Jersey was in the air when Allied planes strayed over the island and were fired upon by German AAA batteries.  The island were never attacked by the Allies and stayed under German occupation until the end of the war.

Much hardship was experienced by the islanders as food and medicine came to be in short supply as the war dragged on.  The German occupiers became more harsh as food shortages grew and the war turned against them.

Jersey itself is a green and beautiful island and its prime industry is no longer dairy farming but banking!

Our mode of transportation from the ship to the dock.  the tenders shuttled the passengers back and forth all day.

The Grouch clan is ready for an adventure on land

A good thing to read before the tender starts to sink!
Back to the ship for another load of passengers to tour Jersey
At the coast artillery emplacements

Our ship, waiting for our return

The remnants of the coast artillery battery range finder
One of the spooky bunkers

The tower on the island is the grave site of a pirate ship captain.  Honest!
German anti-ship gun, Young Son and the Missus

Jersey is green, cool, and very pleasant

The entrance to an extensive tunnel complex built by the Germans using a mix of paid and slave laborers.  The Germans loved to dig tunnel complexes.  They are everywhere still in Europe.

The Grouch and a Kubelwagen - both inside the tunnel

A genuine Enigma coding machine.  The Germans never realized that we were reading their mail on a daily basis

One of the many tunnels
A gas mask for infants and toddlers

German rifles and MGs

A replica StG assault gun.  Looks real to me!

The crowded Jersey harbor

Street near the Jersey port

Young Daughter is feeling a bit tired out after a day of touring!

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