Posted 7 months ago
This post has come about; after a conversation with fellow Collectors Weekly Member Blunderbuss2; see his original post where he talks about salvaging Bronze Cannon, and you will perhaps see the relevance of this post:
See COMMENTS .27 & .28 for context).
Several years ago; my brother, brother-in-law and myself (all members of the UK Military Vehicle Trust) took a flight to the Island of Jesey to tour the WW2 German fortifications they constructed during their occupation of the island. We have all been involved in Military Historical Research. My brother also in WW2 Aircraft recovery, and I have had some Cave Diving experience. I will not deal with Jerseys WW2 history in this post, as this is well covered out on the web, but deal with our search:
We knew that after the War, the Island of Jesey Authorities asked the liberating soldiers to blow up all the German Costal Defence gun tubes (not sure if they were afraid the Germans might return!), but anyway; the story went that: The liberating allied troops only had so much explosives with them. The major fortifications were not destroyed and can be toured to this day:
Photo .1: Shows just one of the Nazi Coastal Defence "Range Finder" Fire Control Towers still in good order. These were untouched!
Photo .2: Shows the effect the liberating soldiers had on the German gun tubes they managed to "blow up" with demolition charges. Scenes such as these are scattered all round the coast of Jersey.
However; as I said above; the Soldiers only had access to a finite supply of demolition explosives. They did not finish blowing up all the Guns emplaced around the island. There was a semi-mythical tale of best "Krupp Steel" naval artillery barrels "missing" up at the north end of the island. The story went that the soldiers came back to the Authorities and told them they had run out of explosives and couldn't finish the job. The authorities told them to go back and physically "man-handle" the gun tubes off of their mounts, carry them a specified (very long) distance, and heave them over the cliffs into the sea. It is said that the specified distance was exactly "2 Miles".
Over the intervening years military enthusiasts, and others, even divers had searched at the foot of cliffs two miles away from the empty emplacement missing the guns, to no avail.
Photo .3: We search all around the coast, looking down from the cliffs into the clear water, trying to locate the gun tubes, again to no avail. We checked out all the emplacements, paced off "2 Miles".....NOTHING!
We sat down at the main emplacement to have lunch and a beer, worn out from trudging up and down the north eastern coast of Jersey! I looked out to sea...and said to the others....if you were a "knackered" (worn out) "squaddie" (Ordinary British Soldier*) just exactly how far would you carry those heavy gun barrels? We all stood up, rushed to the nearby cliff edge, shouting "just right about here, right by the gun emplacement, absolutely no further!!!!!"....we looked down but nothing was there.....then it dawned on us that it was high tide.........
*Who, like any good idle grunt; takes the easiest, quickest route to successfully completing any given task!
Photo .4: Next day at LOW tide we returned (well my brother didn't as he had to fly home that day...shame!).....we carefully leaned out over the cliff (roped up)....and there they were!!!!!!!!....tucked up, right under the cliff!!!!!!
We are led to believe the gun barrels have since been recovered by such groups as the Jersey MVT and Channel Islands Occupation Society (Jersey) etc. restored and put on display.
If members wish, I can post further research photos we took during our visits and extensive explorations of the Channel Islands and their WW2 history.
More info and links at the very good Wikipedia article on Channel Islands during WW2:
Here's the link for my final post on the Jersey Guns: