BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.

28 October 2014

BBC Homepage

Local BBC Sites

Neighbouring Sites

Related BBC Sites

Contact Us

Occupation & Liberation

You are in: Jersey > History > Occupation & Liberation > Jersey War Tunnels

Inside the operating theatre

Inside the operating theatre

Jersey War Tunnels

The Jersey War Tunnels are a stark reminder of the occupation of the island during World War II.

Jersey was meant to be an essential part of Hitler's Atlantic Wall. The War Tunnels are only one of many fortifications that the Germans built on Jersey.

Slave labour

In order to build the tunnels, a huge workforce was needed, and this was supplied by the Organisation Todt. More than 5,000 slave labourers were brought over to Jersey - Russians, Poles, Frenchmen and Spaniards.

The entrance to the hospital

The entrance to the hospital

The men were treated harshly, but the Russians suffered the most. They were seen to be sub-human, and were treated like animals. Men are known to have died from disease, malnutrition, accidents and exhaustion.

How the tunnels were made

The tunnels were blasted out with gunpowder and handtools, and then covered with concrete. The hospital was dug into a slope, so that it would drain naturally.

Its location within the hill also ensured that the temperature remained at a constant temperature throughout the year.

D-Day draws nearer

The tunnels were originally constructed as an ammunition store and artillery barracks, but the Germans converted them to a casualty clearing station as D-Day drew nearer.

One of the corridors in the hospital

One of the corridors in the hospital

Unfinished tunnels were sealed off, and air-conditioning and heating systems were sealed behing gas-proof doors.

Wards were added, along with an operating theatre, a medical supply room, a casualty assessment centre and a dispensary.


Today, the Jersey War Tunnels house 'Captive Island' - an exhibition dedicated to how the occupation affected the islanders and the island.

The operating theatre and other areas have been restored to show how the hospital looked during the occupation.

last updated: 18/04/2008 at 18:01
created: 05/03/2007

You are in: Jersey > History > Occupation & Liberation > Jersey War Tunnels

About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy