SUNDAY 25TH SEPTEMBER 2-5pm
Including a British Liberation FORCE 135 display!
Admission £5, children under 16 & CIOS members free
With construction staring in late 1942, Strongpoint Corbiere formed a key part of the defences of St. Ouen’s Bay and also boasted several bunker designs unique to Jersey. Visit the M19 5cm automatic fortress mortar bunker which is uniquely connected to a 6-loopholed heavy machine gun turret bunker by an impressive underground corridor.
The bunkers are authentically restored to their original wartime condition and displays are based around information given by the soldiers who actually served there! There is also information on the forced labourers who constructed the site and interactions between the soldiers with nearby civilians as well as an escape attempt which ended in failure on the causeway to the lighthouse in September 1944. The sites gives a ‘working atmosphere’ feel to the visitor and you are allowed to touch and interact with some of the exhibits.
Knowledgeable volunteers will be on hand to guide you and give details of the fortifications and the actual soldiers who manned the complex and what they got up to along with an audio commentary explaining the original crew.
Liberation FORCE 135 Living History Group display
It is little known that Jersey’s Military Rule and Occupation didn’t end on May 9th 1945 with the unconditional surrender of the German forces but was carried on for 90 days by the British Army.
Of Course this extended Military Occupation by British Soldiers of Force 135 to restore order was welcomed. Tasked with removing “the taint of German Occupation” was no easy job as thousands of mines, weapons and bobby traps would need to be cleared and disposed of as well as 22,000 tons of ammunition. Lethal hardware was easily accessible in fortifications and official warnings to stay away were issued, although this did not stop the curious which resulted in several injuries from playing with live munitions.
Apart from the clearance of military hardware, Force 135 also had to process the 11,000 strong former German garrison now prisoners of war and who had largely surrendered peacefully except for one notable exception. On May 14th the Honorary Police reported to Force 135 that a ‘nest of Germans’ armed with a machine gun were refusing to surrender at La Preference (Maufant, St. Martin’s) and ready to make a defiant last stand. Apparently, shots were fired before the situation was brought quickly under control and the Germans brought into captivity.
Force 135 Living History Group will demonstrating minefield clearance as well as displays of period items of relevance including a JEEP.
More info on their group can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/Force135/?ref=page_internal
OPENING TIMES NOT CONVENIENT?
As a volunteer Society, we can’t open as much as we would like too. But we do work with Jersey Bunker Tours (who have the bonus of a superb online resource regarding the Occupation!) as well as History Alive who both offer ‘out of hours’ tours of all our sites. With tours available for all budgets and tailored for requests
The CIOS arguably boasts some of the best-preserved fortifications today that originally formed and defended part of Hitler’s much vaunted “Atlantikwall” which stretched from inside the arctic circle of northern Norway to the French/Spanish boarder with about 10% of the fortifications constructed found in the Channel Islands! Today, thanks to the work of the CIOS, these structures attract both experts and those with a general interest in the Occupation with displays including first-hand accounts of soldiers of both sides, the forced labours used to build the fortifications through to civilian life and the Allied battles that took place to help Liberate Europe and those who sacrificed their lives for this goal.
But the CIOS is not just about bunkers!
With a reputation as the ‘go to’ Society for information regarding the Occupation, the CIOS also has an extensive archive, which is held with Jersey Heritage, and we welcome new members from all backgrounds to join our volunteers to help open and maintain sites. So if you’re interested give us a shout!