Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Occupation remnants at Westmount

Up at Westmount the easiest occupation relic to spot, from the road, is this position if you look up to the right just before turning left on the way down the hill - this is at the eastern end of the Upper Park, to the west of People's Park.
.. if you head into the park and leave the path it's easy to reach this spot in the top corner. If you can imagine the view without the trees in the way...
.. it's no surprise they chose this spot.
Behind you.
Heading back to the path and westwards, you'll find the Observation Post for Battery Endrass...
.. spot the filled in observation slit surrounded by little recesses (what for, please, anyone?)
Most of the site of Battery Endrass is now in private hands, but this map shows where at least two bunkers can be seen if you venture into the estate.

This shot from "AbductedByBrambles" (thanks!) shows the first bunker on the south side half way along the part of Westmount Court closer to Overdale. There's another farther along but very overlooked by nearby properties so he didn't feel able to take a shot! The part of Westmount Court closer to the bay doesn't have anything obvious visible from the road.

While you're enjoying the park, drink in the wonderful view of a new 'leccy substation under construction (shot from May 2016)

Also on the map, apart my suspected site of a shelter in the grounds of Overdale, note the spot marked "Gone". This was the location of the gallows (see www.theislandwiki.org/) later fortified as a gun position, and deemed unsafe...

.. and demolished in 1988 (photo: JEP)

According to TracesOfWarJersey this was RN Pavilion?

Brief history lesson : Gallows Hill (Mont Patibulaire, or Mont ès Pendus in Jèrriais) was the site of public executions from the 1600s until 1829 when Philippe Jolin was the last convict to be hanged here for a "parricide" (family member) murder, on the 3rd October (see wikipedia.org/wiki/Capital_punishment_in_Jersey).

More on Batterie Endrass
Designated 4./HKAR.1265 (Heeres-Küsten-Artillerie-Regiment = army coastal regiment) - regiment 1265 - this battery was designed to cover the harbour approach and featured four K331(f) field guns (captured French WW1 10.5cm guns with 5 mile range) as commonly put into service in the islands (wikipedia.org/wiki/Canon_de_105_mle_1913_Schneider), in this case removed from their wheels and fixed in position in casemate bunkers. The battery also featured three machine guns (one in a tank turret), two 2cm FLAK guns, a flamethrower, a 90cm searchlight and a minefield covered the hillside park. The northern limit of the battery was along the side of the pitch and stand of a former football ground which is now occupied by some single storey buildings in the south-east part of the Overdale site.

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Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Strongpoint Le Grouin - St Brelades

Between St.Brelade's Bay and Ouaisne ("way-nay") lies a small break in the sweep of the bay, a wooded area called Le Grouin where the Germans created a strongpoint. There's plenty to see here, so it's one of my main recommended occupation areas to visit, just slightly behind Noirmont, Corbiere and Les Landes. The approach is just as easy from the mainly unspoilt Ouaisne side or the built up beach resort side - so I won't make any recommendations.

Le Grouin from the virtual air

On the St.Brelade's side it may be tricky to park in the height of summer but the walk along the prom will be pleasant; on the Ouaisne side you've got a narrow hill where it's almost certain you'll meet several cars coming the other way but it's a far more natural walk from the spacious dirt surface car park and you may even spot some green lizards basking in the sunshine along the path. There are pubs, restaurants and ice-creams to be had on either side of Le Grouin.

On the Ouaisne side, a Type R631 casemate. From the beach you may spot a fake loophole in the sea wall not far from where I was standing.
On the west side of Le Grouin (known as St.Brelade's Bay although technically both bays make up a larger St.Brelade's Bay!) an R680 sealed up.
Down at the coast at Le Grouin is a collection of structures well worth exploring...
.. and there's more a little higher up (machine gun table and tobruk here)..
.. and even more up in the woods. This one isn't too fascinating...
.. this one gets far more love. Note the ruin of an old guardhouse from the 1700s top left, a passageway cut into the rock for another position, and in the foreground a shelter with two routes in/out...
.. of here.
Cut into the rock, a mortar position?
Meanwhile, on the other side of the old guardhouse ruin, another shelter...
.. inside...
.. and below that, close by, this mostly buried heavy MG position. Note, the fence, what there is of it, indicates that this side of the guardhouse may be private land. Make of that what you will.
Now willing to explore further, we made our way right down to the attractions on the lowest level here. A PaK (anti-tank gun Panzerabwehrkanone) operated here and was stowed away...
.. amongst this lot...
.. here in this garage.
.. inside a shelter, must admit I've forgotten which one now!
If you venture up above the hexagonal tobruk you'll find even more...
.. and more. And another one or two I failed to snap at the time :)
And finally, a look down from the 631 at the narrow old slipway that the German bunker builders covered up, on which rests some of the bunker stone camo that has fallen off.

Strongpoint Le Grouin - rating 4.5 stars out of 5 - a Must See for visitors.

See Le Grouin from a distance here
crapaudmatic.blogspot.com/2009/01/back-to-stbrelades-beach.html on the way back from Le Coleron Battery at the western end of the bay
More views of the bay and the breakwater

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