“Needs Some Work…” – German-Built WWII Bunker For Sale In The Channel Islands

Many German-built fortifications exist still on the Channel Islands, such as this observation tower at Battery Moltke.
Many German-built fortifications exist still on the Channel Islands, such as this observation tower at Battery Moltke.

For only $155,000 you can be the proud owner of a World War II bunker on an island complete with a periscope, showers and toilets, gas-proof doors, a sophisticated air purification system and an escape hatch.

This particular bunker has a hall measuring twenty six feet seven inches by six feet two inches leading to a room in which twelve soldiers slept, seventeen feet by thirteen feet eleven inches, the original shower room, seventeen feet one inch by 3 feet 9 inches, and a storage room twenty feet one inch by four feet eleven inches.

There are no windows in case of attack, but the air purification system kept the inside air fresh.  It has also been equipped with electricity and plumbing.  The bunker has been empty since 1945 when it was abandoned at the end of the war, although the current owner has used it for storage.  He contracted with Swoffers, a local real estate company to sell the bunker and the two acres of pasture surrounding it within sight of the ocean.

Very little has been done to change the bunker and German propaganda and instructions on what should be done in case of a gas attack stenciled on some of the walls can still be read.  The agent has suggested it would make an interesting vacation getaway but much would have to be done to make it habitable.

The seven feet thick walls are peeling with mildew growing at the bottom, and the floors and ceilings would need to be replaced.  In fact, the entire interior would need to be gutted.  Electric wires are exposed, and conduit and plumbing runs on the outside of some walls.  It could run into many thousands of dollars to renovate enough to pass local codes and obtain local permissions.

The outside is covered with weeds and vines and can no longer be seen from the air.  A small gravel driveway allows access from the main road.

While die-hard World War II enthusiasts interested in roughing it or staging a reenactment may be interested, it is unlikely that it would become a vacation hotspot that would show any kind of profit after paying for such extensive renovations.

Between the years of 1943 and 1945, Adolph Hitler’s Nazi Germany built a series of structures to defend Western Europe and his dream of a Nazi Empire from invasion.  Beginning in upper Norway and extending one thousand six hundred and seventy miles, passing through Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium and France including all of the Channel Islands to the Pyrenees Mountains on the border of France and Spain, the Atlantic Wall was built by Scandinavian,  French and German civilians, POWs and German military men.  There were huge coastal guns, batteries, walls, and bunkers to house the Nazi soldiers assigned to each fortification.

The Wall ran perilously close to southern England as it passed over the border between Belgium and France.  Much of the Wall has been removed, crumbled away or fallen into the sea but this particular bunker which is located in Torteval on Guernsey, one of the Channel Islands off the coast of France still stands.  There were as many as ten bunkers built all along the perimeter of the island including three that served as headquarters for the Naval Signals Commander and also housed the switchboards and the generator.

This bunker was remodeled and now houses a museum dedicated to the German occupation of the Channel Islands.  Guernsey was populated with British civilians at the time, and they were forced to observe German customs such as driving on the right side of the road, rationing, censorship, and clocks were set to German time.   The smaller island of Alderney was evacuated by force to build four labor camps and a series of bunkers.

Real estate agent Scott Ingrouille claimed, “This is a great chance to own a bit of Second World War history.”

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE