Monthly Archives: February 2022

ONE HUNDRED THINGS TO DO IN GUERNSEY WHEN THE REST OF THE WORLD HAS GONE TO SH*T NO.52 BATTERIE DOLLMAN GUN PIT, PLEINMONT

This French, 10 tonne, 22cm gun was restored by Guernsey Armouries in 1997 and sits in Gun Pit No. 3 of a German Coastal Artillery Battery, Batterie Dollmann. Its the last of its type in Europe.

When the project of restoring this German Coastal Artillery Battery was started, initial inspection showed the bunkers to be remarkably intact with armoured doors and a bunker telephone still in situ.

An estimated 1,000 tons of spoil was removed using an excavator although many tons had to be shovelled out by hand. Work could now begin on restoring the bunkers and pit. All steelwork was shot-blasted and repainted, the original wiring in the bunkers replaced and walls repainted. Externally, the camouflage has been replaced as original. All work has been carried out as authentically as possible to return the site to its wartime appearance.

Following the successful recovery of a 22cm K532 (f) barrel from the base of cliffs at Les Landes, Jersey, an enquiry to the French Ministry of Defence revealed that the original blue prints of the cannon de 220L MLE 1917 were held at the Centre d’Archives de l’Armement in Chatellerault and copies of the relevant plans were obtained so that work could commence.

Today, work still continues to put those final touches in place with new features still being restored. On some Sundays during the summer the site is fully open to the public and the gun is fired using blank charges. (Source: https://www.visitguernsey.com/see-and-do/things-to-do/batterie-dollman-gun-pit/)

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ONE HUNDRED THINGS TO DO IN GUERNSEY WHEN THE REST OF THE WORLD HAS GONE TO SH*T NO.51 ST CLAIR BATTERY, PETIT BOT

Petit Bot, St Clair Battery
Petit Bot Bay (and my finger soz)
Dogging litter
What’s this???!!

Oh my  gâche !!!!

There’s a car park at the bottom of a steep and winding hill, where there be sex litter. Or could this be the detritus of a business frisson? The boundaries are so blurred these days. When is it a picnic or a business meal? Does crisps with sandwiches make it a meal? Does Special Brew make business meetings finish on time? I wonder what Sue Gray would make of Guernsey’s ‘Gatland-Gate?’ The Private Eye was not impressed:

https://gsy.bailiwickexpress.com/gsy/news/chair-cca-unimpressed-private-eye-churning-gatland-gate-again/#.YgJ8QujP3rc

To be fair, there hasn’t been much sex litter in these chilly months before and after Christmess and New Year. Raspberry wrappers are the harbinger of dogging season?

A few yards away from the dogging littered car park at the bottom of Petit Bot hill you’ll find St Clair Battery. These buildings are dotted around the island. St Clair Battery, previously known as Boufresse Battery, has an associated magazine. In 1816 this battery mounted two 24 pounder guns and would have been associated to Tower No. 13.

At one time, there were over 60 gun batteries in operation around the island.

They were constructed in strategic positions to protect the coastline from possible landings by the French. Typically they consist of a sloping paved stone platform to carry the ordnance, together with a brick or stone lined barrier as defence against oncoming fire. A number of batteries have been cleared of overgrowth in recent years and restored as historic sites.

A magazine building would originally have stood nearby to store powder and shot. In some cases the magazines still survive though the battery has been lost. In dark times like this, monuments to the past become like bright lighthouse beams on the hazy dream horizons. They take us back to a time when a gun battery was simply that, and nothing else. Certainly, back in time, nobody could have accused the St Clair battery masquerading as a floating gin palace or a finger buffet that thinks its a Board meeting. I think that we will lean on history even harder, to give us gravity in these post-Trumpian times of fake news and trumping science with a meme. We have lost so much, let’s hope that truth does not fall any further or sink any lower.

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