SYMBOLS OF OCCUPATION

From the giant Battery Moltke to paper ID cards, the legacies of the Channel Island’s five years of hardship beneath the Nazi jackboot are surprisingly common today

IMAGINE WAKING UP TO FIND THE FRONTPAGE LIKE THIS. ON JULY 1, 1940, THE GUERNSEY EVENING PRESS RELAYED THE ‘ORDERS OF THE COMMANDANT’, WHICH STATED: “WE WILL RESPECT THE POPULATION IN GUERNSEY, BUT, SHOULD ANYONE ATTEMPT TO CAUSE THE LEAST TROUBLE, SERIOUS MEASURES WILL BE TAKEN AND THE TOWN WILL BE BOMBED.” SINCE REPRODUCED, THIS ORIGINAL COULD FETCH £75 ALL IMAGES VIA AUSTIN RUDDY, UNLESS NOTED OTHERWISE

For almost a millennia, Britain’s natural anti-invasion obstacle, the English Channel, has protected the country from occupation, most recently in 1940, when German tanks halted atop French cliffs. However, that does not mean all British citizens escaped Hitler’s clutches.

That summer, Germany invaded the Channel Islands – and so started a long, isolated, five-year occupation. Mainly comprising Jersey, Guernsey, Alderney, Sark and Herm, the occupation of the Channel Islands is often touted as the only part of Britain occupied by the Nazis.

Want to read more?

This is a premium article and requires an active subscription.

Existing subscriber? Sign in now

No subscription?

Pick one of our introductory offers