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
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.