Saturday 8 July 2017


This museum, on land near the airport, contains fascinating information and memorabilia. The light level was low and my photos are poor so I hope that you will be able to read the texts. We spoke to the owner, who looked about our age, and asked him what memories he had of the occupation. He told us that he was only an infant at the time and that the land all about the airport was farmed by his parents. When the RAF came to bomb the airfield his mother just put up the hood on his pram!
This cartoon shows a popular act of resistance on the island, the painting of a 'V' sign, meaning victory for the British. It was a punishable offence.

Some much-needed entertainment.
And underwear made from coveted parachute silk!
But many of the stories were tragic.
It always humbles me to read about the young men who came from overseas to help out in this long conflict and never made it home.
This photo shows one of the museum exhibits being salvaged from a tunnel under St Saviour's Church in the '60's. Items are still being given to the museum, personal items that have been kept within families since the end of the war.

In the late afternoon we went to Saumarez Park to see Le Viaer Marchi.
A nice wreath on the front door.

The Guernsey Military History Company put on a great display. They'd set up a field kitchen and it was doing a roaring trade.
They really looked the business!

What a cheering sight!
When my father was discharged from the army at the end of the war he bought an army bell tent. It was brown, dark and capacious inside. On holidays all the family, including the dog slept comfortably inside. Sometimes my father would pitch it in the orchard and then my brother and I could use it as a play tent. There was a wonderful smell of crushed grass and canvas.

The Bell Tent

When war was over and Dad was free
 to come back home and live with me
he bought a bell tent from the army.
Other people thought him barmy.
Huge and dark the space within 
where we could play and make a din,
run rings around the central pole,
emerge to sunlight like a mole
from dark brown canvas, flattened grass,
odour sweet as memory has.
No thoughts from me of men at war,
heads to the pole, boots to the door.

On holidays away we went,
dogs, parents, kids within the tent.
My mother could not sleep inside
unless the door was opened wide
and several times we'd start the day
with a cow's face or donkey's bray.
We'd climb up hills and gaze around,
our home a little mole-hill mound
beneath, and way up in the sky
we saw a golden eagle fly.
No thoughts from me of those poor men
who'd never see this land again.

 I looked inside this smaller tent that the history company had pitched.
"We could pitch one on our lawn and sleep in it," Himself suggested.This is a man who likes a comfortable bed! Travel forward is my motto.
There were various heritage island craft demonstrations.

The Victorian kitchen garden was closed so we returned the next day. It is manned entirely by volunteers. We spoke to the three charming people who were working on site. 'We're desperately in need of new, younger helpers' they told us, 'all the existing volunteers are growing too old.'
Unfortunately the lack of help was very evident in the garden as it was sparsely planted at a time of year when it should be bursting with vigour and growth. I liked the use of stones from the beach placed to edge each bed. Their greenhouse is a fabulous structure but with little to see inside. Oh, how I would cram it with stuff! 
But their sweet peas are better than mine.
We made a donation - every little helps.
Candie Gardens in town, described as a, 'restored Victorian oasis' were another disappointment, with crude corporate planting and beautiful old greenhouses, unlike those at Saumarez Park, going to rack and ruin for lack of attention. They date from the late 18th century and are the oldest known heated examples in the British Isles. Someone needs to clear the gutters and paint the structure before they fall down!
But the views out to sea are delightful.


  1. Thanks for sharing Rosemary. I had never known about the Nazi occupation. Hard to believe such cruelties in the world and so close to home.

    1. We were very subdued when we came away from the museum, so many sad and disturbing stories to absorb. People that we spoke to while on the island all had stories about relatives and friends. Our taxi driver told us of a relative who was evacuated to the mainland as a child who had been 'misplaced' by the end of the war. When they eventually found and returned him to Guernsey he could speak only English and not understand his parents who spoke only the island patois.

  2. Such horrors. My uncle, who was a pilot, was killed during WWII. I do not know where his plane went down, and he was never found, but they were all brave men fighting for a just cause. I don't think any of the terrible wars fought since then were just but instead were for power or greed.

    1. It is just such young men as your uncle, Maybe, whom I am profoundly sad and also very proud of for all that they did.

    2. Bad grammar, but you know what I mean!

  3. Lovely and sad at the same time.

    cheers, parsnip

    1. Yes, that's just it, Parsnip, some wonderful, heart-lifting stories and then others of betrayal and cruelty.

  4. It's very sad, but a lovely post at the same time :)

  5. That museum looks interesting. I remember visiting the underground hospital, built by the Todt organisation using slave labour. Your description of canvas and crushed grass brought back memories - and I enjoyed the poem, with a sting in its tail.

  6. AND thank you for this. History I never knew about except Guernsey milk cow...