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German Journalists Visit CIOS Bunker Sites

A group of German journalists visiting WW2 bunkers at Les Landes, Jersey

German journalists from newspapers Münstersche Zeitung, RND Redaktionsnetzwerk, Der Tagesspiegel, Stuttgarter Zeitung, Frankfurter Nue Press, and Nordwestzeitung were given a guided tour around CIOS Jersey sites MP-3, Fl 242, and Batteries Moltke and Lothringen over the past few days.

They also visited Jersey War Tunnels, Faulkner Fisheries, The Wetlands Centre with Jon Parkes and had lunch at El Tico with John Nettles. The visit was organised by Visit Jersey and Simon Watkins.

Thanks to CIOS members Tony Pike, Shane Boschat, and Gerry Knight for opening the bunkers for our VIP guests.

Concrete In The Frame Student Art Contest Winners

Four brightly coloured bunker images
Melanie Dixon, Art age 8-12 winner

We are delighted to announce the winners of our inaugural "Concrete In The Frame" student art competition for 2016. We received nearly a hundred entries from Jersey students and saw many fantastic new pieces of art. Winners and runners-up in each category have won cash prizes and one year memberships in the Society. Entries were judged by artist Ian Rolls and photographer Tony Pike.

All images are now on display at the Harbour Gallery in St Aubin.

Below are the rest of the winning images along with comments from the judges.

From Tony Pike: "The standard of the photography has been very high, with close attention given to shape and detail, with some equally  imaginative impressions giving a new look to our Fortifications. Melanie Dixon’s series of pictures has given us an impressive technicolour sandwich of some of our most unique fortifications, and deservedly receives an Applied Art prize."

From Ian Rolls: "Melanie’s four striking images are quite remarkable bearing in mind she is only 10 years old! The use of complimentary colours both within each view and the colour and form relationships of the composition of all four views together is worthy of an experienced artist. A very modern interpretation of a historical subject."

Photo by Moses Pike, Photographic age 8-12 winner
Moses Pike, Photographic age 8-12 winner

From Tony Pike: "Moses has really made a striking image here by darkening down the sky, and using the form of the fortification to create a ‘picture frame’ looking towards Sark in the background. On close study, one can even see a lounge chair and a lamp-stand, that has been taken to the fortification specially for the photograph! This is even more commendable, as there is no vehicle access onto the common, and must have been carried there almost half a mile. Other pictures that have been provided in his Album, show a very high competence of photography for his age, so extremely well done Moses!"

Photo by Cameron Edge, Photographic age 8-12 runner-up
Cameron Edge, Photographic age 8-12 runner-up

From Tony Pike: "Unusual but effective picture of the K2 Jäger entrance defence position, at Strongpoint Corbiere. Skewing the camera diagonally, he has created a striking image that really catches the eye. Good imagination displayed here. Very well done Cameron."

Photo by Oliver Mallett, Photographic age 8-12 runner-up
Oliver Mallett, Photographic age 8-12 runner-up

From Tony Pike: "There can be nothing that really sums up the competition than some truly original artwork from the Germans themselves! Oliver is also very keen and information hungry for our unique history which is an example to us all. Well done Oliver."

Artwork by Ruben Le Sueur, Art age 13-18 winner
Ruben Le Sueur, Art age 13-18 winner

From Ian Rolls: "Ruben’s first prize winning entry is a powerful evocation of the massive form and weathered surface texture that characterize German Fortifications. I particularly like the use of directional line that describes the various surfaces and the accentuation of the abstract elements of the structure, by the up-close perspective, the limited use of colour and free brushwork in the sky."

Artwork by Claudia Dixon, Art age 13-18 runner-up
Claudia Dixon, Art age 13-18 runner-up

From Ian Rolls: "Claudia’s picture is a delightfully upbeat and original interpretation of the undeniably oppressive form of a bunker. She brings her femininity, sensitivity and a sense of joyful colour to the subject, even making the barbed wire in the corner look like fairy lights! I particularly like the blue bubbles coming out of the vents, giving an underwater feel to the subject."

Photo by Benjamin Fry, Photographic age 13-18 winner
Benjamin Fry, Photographic age 13-18 winner

From Tony Pike: "A stunning impression of the Kriegsmarine MP3 Observation & Radar Tower at Strongpoint Butts, Les Landes St Ouen. Taken at sunset, with those menacing cloudy skies but with a glimmer of light and hope on the horizon, this picture conjures up many thoughts. One wonders if the Germans themselves looked from the same place on a similar evening seventy plus years ago with thoughts of home that was being bombed around the clock. Yes, a thought provoking image that has been well composed and exposed! A deserving senior category winner, so extremely well done Benjamin."

Photos by Emily Last, Photographic age 13-18 runner-up
Emily Last, Photographic age 13-18 runner-up

From Tony Pike: "Emily has shown her ability of working around the subject, using light and shape capturing some really interesting shadows and form. Detail of reinforcing bars and the broken concrete also makes an impression. Printed in black & white, these pictures caught my eye for the attention to detail. Well done Emily!"

New Displays at Strongpoint Corbiere

Assembling the replica 5cm Maschinengranatwerfer M19 weapon
Assembling the replica 5cm Maschinengranatwerfer M19 weapon

Most of the past winter's work has concentrated on the weapon components of the Strongpoint. The gun room of the north-facing 10.5cm K 331 (f) coastal defence gun casemate 'K2' has had a major refurbishment with the tongue and groove cladding installed in 1983 now revamped by adding skirting boards plus exposing several points for the remounting of telecommunications equipment. The gun itself has also received a complete repaint thanks mainly to the efforts of Matthew Snepp. The displays in this room have also been improved. Plus visitors can handle an original shell (inert!) and practice dropping an empty cartridge down the chute into the empty shell case room. The entrance defence room has also been refurbished and the very rare machine gun table has been repainted and the room has been enhanced with the addition of a wooden rack for holding ammunition boxes.

Work on the unique M19 mortar bunker has also been going well with the main thrust being the instalment of a replica of the actual 5cm Maschinengranatwerfer M19 weapon. This project was started in 1998 when the turret room, left shattered and back-filled after the removal of the weapon and its protective turret for scrap in 1953, was excavated. Work has continued since to rebuild the room and then to install a replica turret and now, finally the weapon itself.

M19 mortar ammo crates
30 x 5cm Wgr.36 mortar bomb ammo crates

Also several special M19 mortar specific ammunition crates labelled 'Mun.19' for holding 30 x 5cm Wgr.36 mortar bombs have been acquired (mostly through eBay!) and will put on display in the mortar's ammunition room and the interpretation for the M19 has been greatly improved to bring better visitor understanding of how the weapon worked and operated.

The public are invited to visit the various bunkers at Strongpoint Corbiere on their first open date of the season, held on Liberation Day Monday 7th May. Admission is £3 for one bunker or £5 for both, with accompanied children free. Look for a special book deal on Occupation Reviews No. 35 & 37 which tell the stories of former M19 commander Engelbert Hoppe and K2 crew member Horst Hermann, normally £14.90 but now offered at £10 for both while stocks last.

2017 Events Calendar

Film: "Hitler's Island Madness"
Wednesday 11th
8.00pm, Société Jersiaise Members’ Room
Local History Fayre
Saturday 28th
12:30pm, Jersey Library
Hohlgangsanlagen Tour
Saturday 4th
10:00am, Ho4 Grands Vaux
Annual General Meeting
Wednesday 8th
8.00pm, Société Jersiaise Members’ Room

Join The CIOS

Please download a membership application and return it to the address provided. Members joining after 1st November automatically qualify for the next year.

Membership Application

Trespass Warning

A word of warning to those who may wish to visit the Channel Islands’ Occupation sites. Most of the bunkers, gun pits and defences are on private property, and if you want to have a look, first obtain permission from the owner. Do not enter without a strong torch or lamp. There are different designs of defences that, from the outside look the same, but once inside, passages may descend without warning. Also wellington boots may be needed as over fifty years of dirt and dust will have blocked up the drains. We would warn you that bunkers on the coast will have been used as unofficial toilets - so beware! Young persons should not enter without an adult, as many bunkers have awkward steps and hidden ducts that can trip the unwary. Bunkers and tunnels that are sealed have been blocked up for this reason and for no other - those of you who hope to find an “Aladdin’s Cave” of war relics are too late, having been beaten to it by the scrap metal drive of the early 1950s.

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