Could you have a bit of history in your attic? The German World War II signs 'yet to be uncovered'

  • Words and video report by Will Tullis, reporting from the Channel Islands Military Museum.

When Nazi forces occupied the Channel Islands during the Second World War, they built structures that we still see today.From bunkers and forts, to sea walls, much of that history is still visible today.

German forces made their mark on the Islands, erecting an abundance of signs on roads and public buildings.

Written often in both the languages of the occupier, and the occupied, they were emblems of an Island that were - for five years - under new control.

Decades after Liberation, most of these signs have been taken down and discarded. In the hard times immediately following the end of war, many of these signs were used as firewood, or painted over.

Signs were put up to guide German troops around the Island. Credit: Channel Islands Military Museum

One Jersey historian has said there are more of these German signs out there. He's asking people to check their sheds, attics and gardens to see if they too - are unknowing owners - of these historical objects.

"These signs are an important reminder of the Occupation and a key part of the history of the Channel Islands - if not the most important part of our Islands' history", said Damien Horn, of the Channel Islands Military Museum in St Ouen.

Damien has been collecting Occupation artefacts for the past 52 years. His own family were on the Island when Nazi forces invaded. His grandmother's identification card - written in both German and English - is on display in the museum.

There is a story behind every sign in Damien's collection. In September, a German man visited to retrace the steps of his father.

"[He'd] heard I had a sign in here, a proclamation that had been signed off by [his ]father and he just wanted to see it so he came along and we've got it here in the cabinet", Damien said.

"His father was Prinz Zu Waldeck, he was a one-time commandant of the Island".

'Preserve it today, save it for tomorrow': Historian Damien Horn said these signs are 'vital' to understanding the Channel Islands' past under Occupation.

Damien thinks there are more signs out there.

"There are many yet to be uncovered. They may well be others languishing in sheds, barns, attics, and if anybody has anything, you know where I am - come down and see me", he said.

"Preserve it today, save it for tomorrow".

These signs of times past may have outlived their daily use.

But on the long road of history, they're still important markers of the journey these Islands have been on.