alt=cupolas at Noirmont

Jersey Occupied – Batterie Lothringen

This is one of nine coastal artillery batteries built around Jersey during the Second World War, work started here in March 1941 using troops from Naval Artillery Battalion 604, assisted under duress, by local labour, supplied by the States’ Department of Labour.

At this early stage of construction, three L/45 15 cm guns were mounted in temporary earth emplacements. The four concrete artillery positions that we see today, were constructed by Organisation Todt, as were the anti-aircraft positions, the ammunition and crew bunkers, the command bunker and the observation tower. The range-finding tower has four slits unlike the other two towers in Jersey, that have five.

This battery was manned by 178 sailors (a compliment of 183 sailors was originally planned), who lived in wooden barracks, or closeby at the Portelet Holiday Camp. The artillery battery was made up of four 15 cm guns taken from First World War battle ships – hence the name Lothringen,  after the battleship S.M.S Lothringen, six anti-aircraft guns, together with crew and ammunition bunkers. In 1944, the area became an infantry strongpoint, with a Pak anti-tank gun, machine guns, flame throwers, mine fields and miles of barbed wire.

Interestingly enough…

The command bunker was built between March 1943 and April 1944. It is sited on a ledge blasted out of the cliffside, it is 40 feet deep and has two floors and is one of four found in the Channel Islands.

The two cupolas, beside the replica range-finder, on top of the command bunker escaped the scrap drive of the 1950s. They are 7” thick armoured steel and the only ones left in the Channel Islands.

The searchlights here at Noirmont, and across Portelet Bay, at Le Fret Headland, had code names beginning with ‘M’, because they were Naval artillery searchlights (Marine). On Le Fret, the search light was ‘Max’, here at Noirmont was ‘Moritz’. The army artillery searchlights had codenames beginning with ‘A’ (Armee).

© Arthur Lamy

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