The imposing, cavernous entrance tunnel takes you deep into the hillside. You’ll be faced with a Stug tank named ‘Hedwig’ – a replica of Germany’s most produced armoured fighting vehicle during WWII - and drawn into a stunningly realistic wartime diorama.
The dark clouds of war were gathering across Europe. Jersey, lying isolated in the English Channel did not see the threats growing on the horizon. Threatened Island gives you a taste of life in Jersey in the years leading up to the outbreak of war.
To Leave or to Stay?
As the UK announced that it would not defend the Channel Islands, residents were faced with an impossible choice - to stay and face the unknown enemy or to go, leaving behind families, friends and possessions.
German troops poured in by their thousands. Jersey and its sister islands were firmly under the jackboot. ‘First Contact’ recounts those initial days and months of uncertainty as the occupied learned to live with their occupiers.
The Boiler Room
Displaying the original heating equipment, the boiler room gives a very real sense of the types of technology employed in the construction of these tunnels.
The Paper War
With little physical resistance to deal with, it wasn't long before the German command began interfering in daily life. It's main weapon - a formidable bureaucracy, generating new laws and orders on a daily basis.
Like a macabre set from a horror film, the operating theatre contains all the equipment that German surgeons would have used as HO8 changed purpose from a barracks to a hospital.
As restrictions and shortages increased, Daily Life for islanders became more difficult. This gallery is a replica of an Occupation House and gives clear insight into the make do and mend mentality that kept residents going throughout the dark years of occupation.
Air Raid Shelter
Step inside a replica air raid shelter to get a feel for the conditions, noises and bleakness of the situation faced by Islanders of the occupation.
All land lines terminated in this communication centre. The German Underground Hospital was part of a network linking battle head quarters and other command posts. In the event of an invasion all would have been kept up to date with battle and casualty reports.
Head Storeman's Office
The head storeman was responsible for ensuring the hospital was fully equipped and prepared.
Whispers and Lies
Under occupation, accepted realities change for good. Can neighbours and friends still be trusted? Trust is everything in a small community; Whispers and Lies gives you an idea of how things change when huge strains are placed on the bonds that hold people together.
Cooperation and Resistance
Nothing is as it seems and choices are hard to make. Cooperation and Resistance looks at the dilemmas faced by everyone involved, from the UK government to the island's leaders and islanders in their daily lives. How do you resist when you have no weapons?
Cap Verde Entrance
On the other side of the hill, the Cap Verde entrance helps you understand the sheer scale of the excavation. Adjacent to the entrance, pipework from the original air conditioning system, shows how the occupying forces deployed the latest technologies in the operation of Ho8.
Men toiled with picks and shovels, loading the rocks into trolleys and pushing them back up to the tunnel entrance. In the semi-dark and the damp, with the constant fear of rock falls, this backbreaking work went on in 12-hour shifts. You experience it all through an interactive audio-visual experience in the unfinished tunnel itself.
Named after its founder, this prolific engineering organisation changed the face of Europe forever. Here, you can learn more about the organisation, it's methods and the people who, willingly or not, worked to build Hitler's Atlantic Wall.
Far in excess of their military significance, the Channel Islands used one twelfth of reinforced concrete for the entire Atlantic wall. Deploying the Channel Islands resources more reasonably ,could have doubled the strength of the Atlantic wall and had a profound effect on the Allied advance.
Hospital Bed Ward
Jersey War Tunnels were originally built as an artillery repair facility and barracks store. In 1944, fearing an assault on Jersey, the Germans had the complex converted into a casualty receiving station.
After D-day, the Channel Islands were cut off from all supply routes through France. The last year of the war was characterised by hunger and desperation.
In the final months of Liberation, Islanders became desperate. Food shortages were acute and with no knowledge of when the war would end, the Island entered its darkest times.
The event that islanders will never forget: 9 May 1945. Finally after five years of occupation, British forces arrived to free the Channel Islands. Scenes of happiness and relief characterised this most wonderful of days.
After Liberation came a time of deep reflection for the Island. This final gallery gives you pause for thought and a moment to think about the true effects of the Occupation.
The damp, dark conditions give a sense of the misery and danger faced by the unfortunate slave workers whose hands dug these tunnels.
Exit to the shop, café and gardens.