In WWII the Channel Islands were the only part of the British Isles to be occupied by the Germans. In June 1940 Alderney’s population were mostly evacuated to the UK. On 2 July German troops arrived on the island.
The five year German Occupation of Alderney left many lasting marks on the island's landscape.
Following Hitler's orders to convert Alderney into an impregnable fortress, thousands of slave workers from countries like Russia, Spain, France, Poland, and Algeria built hundreds of bunkers, gun emplacements, an anti-tank wall, as well as tunnel complexes on our small island.
The Occupation Trail explores some of the sites from this dark period of the island's history.
Situated on the Giffoine at the western end of the island overlooking high cliffs, this naval coastal artillery battery had four large guns with a range of 22km.
A huge naval range-finding tower, built with the purpose of directing artillery fire from the island’s heavy gun batteries onto multiple naval targets.
One of the four WWII German forced labour camps on Alderney which was also occupied by the Schutzstaffel (SS) for fifteen months from March 1943 to June 1944.
Lager Borkum, lying in the centre of the island, occupies the least exposed location of all of the four principal wartime labour camps set up in Alderney in 1942 by the Organisation Todt (OT).
Covering an extensive area of land at Platte Saline, Lager Helgoland was built by the Organisation Todt (OT) in 1942 to hold up to 1,500 inmates under extremely harsh conditions.
One of the four WWII slave labour camps used to house Russian, French, Czech, Dutch and Spanish with the capacity for 1,500.
Longis 'Russian Cemetery'
The 'Russian Cemetery' at Longis was the principal burial ground for foreign workers in WWII.
Fort Tourgis Batteries
Cambridge Battery and Battery No.3 of Fort Tourgis are excellent examples of how the island's Victorian forts were utilised by the Germans in WWII.
Hammond War Memorial
This memorial was built by local residents on their return to the island after WWII to commemorate the many labourers who lost their lives on Alderney.
Longis Anti-Tank Wall
This long curving concrete anti-tank wall was built by forced labour under the German forces to prevent an amphibious assault by Allied forces.
This is the site of some of the best-preserved WWII German defences in the Channel Islands and offers a remarkable insight into the fortification of the island.
631b Anti-Tank Bunker
This bunker was armed with a powerful 4.7 cm anti-tank gun angled to bring devastating fire along Longis beach.
The plaque at the Court House are the words of a notice pinned to the Court House on 22 June 1940 by Judge French to notify islanders.
Sapper Onions Grave
The only British war grave on the Island; Sapper G E Onions, of the Royal Engineers, was killed during German mine clearance in June 1945. He died aged 22.
Visitors are able to experience the inside of the bunker and learn about the structure.