Monday, 26 December 2016

Resistance Nest Kempt Tower

A WWII resistance nest was created by the occupying German forces in and around the 1834 Martello Tower in Jersey's St.Ouen's Bay which (the tower) was named after Sir James Kempt, the Master-General of the Ordnance from 1830-34. The tower, of the same design as some English ones (as is the case at La Collette too), has concrete in evidence at the ground level entrance (to the floor housing the kitchen and toilets) and up on top there were MG positions.

The excellent resource which is Jersey War Tours has some great shots of the bunkers here (including aerial ones) but I'll also chip in, as I do things slightly differently and have something new to offer :)

The most noticeable hulk of a bunker is at the end of one of the sea-side car parks along the bay. Notice there's something concrete (with metal plate?) near the car park entrance.
Closer, and I find it interesting how the wooden shuttering was arranged for the concrete pour. It's almost as if a vertical section here was a gap originally, which was filled in later!
Not sure what the slightly sloping construction was here, it looks like it may have been open originally and filled in post war?
Left a bit.. the entrance to the Jäger type casemate, and on the right some rungs led up to an open position (or tank turret?) which has been filled in.
Up the grassy slope and it's easy to hop up onto the roof, looking south. Note the summer house in front of the Martello tower - more on this later.
In the other direction, north, showing the car park and the filled in position up top.
Strange outline here, what's this all about?
The business end of the Jäger type casemate, where a 10.5cm field gun would be providing flanking fire along the bay.

Bit of a problem with the invasive species "Hottentot Fig" (or pigface!) here.

Some convenient steps here allow us to trot down to the beach and look back at this bunker - note the two MG positions built into the anti-tank wall.
The bunker taken from a summer house inside a fenced area. I won't bore you with my interpretation of "private land" too much, but I invaded no-one's privacy nor caused any damage. One side of the fence is pretty much the same as the other. If it was more of a garden then I probably wouldn't have gone in.
The summer house door sports a sign that says "Please do not force this door. It is not a German bunker but a weekend bungalow and there are no German relics inside."
From the tiny bungalow, the owner can count themselves very fortunate to enjoy a view like this, which also shows the old cannon platform in front of the tower.
A German track from the bungalow (which was a search light position) runs down to...
(note corner of some more concrete, more in a moment)
.. the 606 type bunker where the light was kept.
Entrance well secured.

If the land owner here wants any help with the weeds, I'd be one of the volunteers in return for a look inside his bunkers.
The other end of the other concrete building seen from the searchlight track, storage/shelter for what?...
.. looking inside at a load of post war rubbish I presume.
Behind, the top of another bunker, up a little mound, and an escape shaft from...
.. another secured bunker, a type 646 water supply bunker. I hadn't noticed that they had escape shafts before, so that was a new one for me.
A plan of the 646 from an interesting thread at axishistory.com. Type 646 bunkers in Jersey are the "Brunnenstand" type, built over a well, with water pumped
into a small watertank - the "Wasservorratsstand" version just housed a larger watertank for storage only. The external recess to the left of the door is a "Zapfstelle", a dispensing station for filling containers from a tap.

The forum thread tells us there are/were 8 in Jersey :
1 - at Wn. Lewis Tower, within the old Chateau Plaisir, now demolished.
2 - at Wn. La Crabiere, sealed.
3 - at Wn. Kempt Tower, locked up (this one).
4 - at Wn. High Tower, locked up with grill gate.
5 - at Wn. Steps 43, locked up (El Tico parking).
6 - at Wn Düne, buried (near second car park along, up to Mont a la Brune).
7 - at the Kernwerk, still in use.
8 - believed to be at Wn. La Carriere, as some former soldiers remember collecting water from a bunker in this area and a corner of a bunker was 'discovered' while water mains were being laid there.

OK, back to public land and a car park over the road from the tower, here we see parts of a U/WaKoFest shelter...
.. and one entrance looks like it may be possible to crawl into. Not me, thanks!
However, along the main road towards the end of Chemin de L'Ouziere, and there's another U/WaKoFest shelter (see my blog posting about some other U/WaKoFest shelters for more details) where there's a bit of a hump in the roadside path.
The open position at the southern end of this one...
.. and when we took a look down there we were astonished to find it open for a crawling entry - had no idea this was possible!
First time I've ever got down and dirty to crawl into a bunker, I have to admit :)  Some nice webs to brush out of the way, suggests not many people venture in here very often.
The other entrance has been blocked (literally) up. Lots of broken glass here, wear sturdy footwear. Note the original camo paint still present.
Just before the gas lock, drain quite obvious. In we go, turning left...
.. and here's the gas lock. A 180 to look back...
.. where we came from..
.. and a sidestep to the left leads us into the crew room, also facing north. Note the weird compressed paper boards they used to make the crew rooms more homely with (other rooms left with bare painted concrete). Ahead to see the storage area..

.. and to the right, the escape shaft looks like it's had its load of bricks removed...
.. well, not all of them.
Looking back (messed up shot out of focus, sorry). Mind your step here, there's a square drain hole in the middle of the floor you could twist your ankle in.
Back into the standby room, the "orbs" reveal we'd kicked up some dust caught in the camera flash. Strange to be deep in a bunker and hear traffic going past for a change! Another ankle trap drain in the middle of the floor here.


The entrance, closer. The metal doors were taken by the scrap dealers in the 1950s.
And so, back out we go. Bit of a struggle on a mound of soft earth, to get up through the partially blocked up gap, if you're as old and "carrying excess weight" and creaky as me!
Well that was a highlight of the trip for sure, wasn't expecting that at all. Well worth putting the dirty clothes in the wash for.

Finally, down to the seafront for one last bunker, an MG position..

.. with a firing position to the south here (as well as another to the north) ...
.. and a metal roof plate which escaped the attention of the scrap metal men.
Great to see the pebble camo still present after all these years.

So that's my look at WN Kempt Tower, hope you enjoyed the tour - commenting is easy if you have time to bother :)
All the best for 2017 from this crapaud, have a fun bunker hunting new year!

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