Military history fans from Finland tour heritage sites

MORE than 40 Finnish military history enthusiasts recently visited the Island to learn about Jersey’s diverse and unique past.

The group, with Marc Yates of Jersey Military Tours, at Batterie Moltke
The group, with Marc Yates of Jersey Military Tours, at Batterie Moltke

Marc Yates, a local historian and founder of Jersey Military Tours, was the guide throughout the group’s stay, taking its members to parts of St Helier where the Battle of Jersey was fought in 1781.

The group was also taken to see some of the bunkers around the Island including Batterie Moltke at Les Landes in St Ouen, as well as Liberation Square and the German War Tunnels, where he gave talks about the Occupation.

Mr Yates said he believed that Jersey should use the growing interest in the Island’s war history to create a niche tourism market.

‘For people with an interest in military history, Jersey is a unique destination which has an advantage due to the fact it has layers of military history of defensive fortification, which spans over 2,000 years,’ Mr Yates said. Jari Forsblom, the organiser for the Finnish Military Society, said there was a huge amount of interest in visiting Jersey and the Channel Islands within the society.

He said: ‘Many of our 1,300 members were very interested in coming here. And the only reason 42 came was because there wasn’t any more room for any more people on the tour bus.

‘There is a lot of interest in Jersey among the group and we are already talking about organising a second trip next year.

‘Jersey and the Channel Islands are very interesting to us because of how heavily fortified the area is for such a small place. There are 24 artillery batteries across all of the Channel Islands, which is quite unusual.

‘And it is such a beautiful island, with very welcoming people – so I am hopeful that we will come back.’

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