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13 November 2014

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You are in: Guernsey > History > Local History > Fort Saumarez

Fort Saumarez

Fort Saumarez

From ancient origins to modern concrete Fort Saumarez is a long standing point of fortification.

The headland that forms the northern tip of L'Eree and extends to the Lihou causeway is unmistakable on Guernsey's coastline thanks to the imposing form of an occupation era tower looming over the beach below.

However, the headland shows signs of life dating back many years.

Fort Grey and Fort Saumarez

Fort Grey and Fort Saumarez in the distance

This is most evident in the form of the passage grave which sits in the centre of the hill that forms the promontory and dates back to Neolithic times.

More recent years have seen it used as a military base by two notable forces.

First was in Victorian times when a Martello tower was constructed, much like the one at Fort Hommet. This was built to protect the beaches in the area from French invasion and was armed with several guns, though was never battle tested as soon after its construction England and France became allies during the Crimean conflict.

Proving the adage that "a good military position is a good military position" the Occupying forces in the Second World War built one of their own naval observation towers directly on top of the pre-existing Martello tower.

This tower, along with the batteries that surround it, were constructed to form part of Hitler's 'Atlantic Wall' designed to prevent the allies from reaching northern France.

While this ultimately proved unsuccessful the towers in Guernsey were again never battle tested so their reinforced concrete forms remain almost as they were originally as they were still constructed to "fortress standards" and now provide a fascinating insight into the island's military history.

last updated: 01/05/2009 at 16:17
created: 01/05/2009

You are in: Guernsey > History > Local History > Fort Saumarez

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