Looking at the remnants of the German defences of Guernsey today, the observer cannot fail to be impressed by the sheer scale of the undertaking. Yet these structures are the product of barely two-and-half years work, from early 1942 until the late summer of 1944, by which time the Channel Islands had been effectively isolated from mainland Europe as allied forces advanced from the D-Day beaches of Normandy. In October 1941 Hitler had issued orders for the permanent fortification of the Channel Islands and the commitment of the Organization Todt to supervise the construction programme for the so-called 'Atlantic Wall' defences. Most defences are on private property but those on this site are open to the public or available for bespoke guided tours by Festung Guernsey.


St Jacques Naval Headquaters

The Headquarters of the German Naval Commander Channel Islands (Seeko-Ki) were originally established in Guernsey at the neighbouring La Collinette and La Porte Hotels in the Summer of 1942. Radio communications were a vital part of operations at Seeko-Ki Headquarters and the powerful radio transmitters and receivers were first housed in the loft of La Collinette Hotel before the decision was taken to build the permanent bunkers in the hotel grounds. Work began in the Autumn of 1943 and the Signals Headquarters, under the command of the Naval Signals Officer (M.N.O.), Oberleutnant Willi Hagedorn, was operative on 1st February 1944. The adjoining Seeko-Ki bunker, linked by a short tunnel, and detached generator bunker were completed at a later date. The M.N.O. Headquarters handled all the important radio signals traffic for the German forces in the Channel Islands; especially after the Allied landings in Normandy. Messages were transmitted and received by naval codes using the Enigma enciphering machines on a variety of frequencies operating under the station callsign 'Flu'. The bulk of traffic passed through Naval Headquarters in Paris and, during the final months of the war, directly with Berlin. The Signals Headquarters bunker has been restored by members of the Channel Islands Occupation Society (Guernsey) in cooperation with Fortress Guernsey. Many of the original fittings are retained, including the ventilation and heating systems. The rooms have been re-fitted and equipped to as near original condition as possible, based on detailed information supplied by the former Naval Signals Officer and other German personnel. Equipment has been loaned by private individuals, the States of Guernsey Museum Services and the extensive collection of communication and signals collection of the German Occupation Museum.



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