Friday 5 April 2024

Jersey castle and war tunnels

We are having a long weekend in Jersey and arrived in the late afternoon yesterday. We had a bit of a lazy evening and then woke up this morning ready to explore.

What a start, with a walk to Elizabeth Castle.

It was built in around 1600 when Sir Walter Raleigh was Governor of the island and he named it after his queen, Elizabeth the first.

It can only be reached on foot at low tide, and by a happy coincidence, that was when we arrived.

It was a proper castle, built on huge boulders, with a grand entrance and fancy turrets.

We didn't actually go inside as it didn't open until 10am, but it was well worth the journey, and then we headed back along the causeway to a bus stop.

On the way we passed this superb sculpture called 'Freedom' which was unveiled by Queen Elizabeth the second in 2005 to commemorate 60 years since the liberation of the island.

The bus arrived on time and swiftly carried us to the War Tunnels.

Jersey was invaded by the Nazis at the start of the Second World War and were occupied by them until VE day in 1945.

The tunnels were built by the Nazis using local labour as well as prisoners from many other countries including Russia. Working conditions were very bad and many people died during the construction.

It was originally used as a hospital but is now a very well laid out museum telling explaining what happened on the island during the war.

We were given copies of identity cards of genuine islanders and told to look out for their story amongst the exhibits. Darren's was a young man who was among the very few who managed to escape by boat, and mine, very disappointingly, was of a collaborator who was almost lynched after the war and was taken to England for her own safety. She was given £5 and released and who knows what happened to her after that.

We then walked back to St Hellier and the sun had gone in, the castle causeway had also disappeared and the only way to visit the castle was by an amphibious bus.

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