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Nutcracker or groyne?

Nutcracker or groyne?

Thursday 20 February 2020

Nutcracker or groyne?

Islanders have 'cracked' the case of a mysterious concrete and iron structure found in St. Ouen’s Bay by a woman looking for sea glass, and initially feared to be an unexploded bomb.

Bev Michel at first thought she had stumbled upon a mine and gave the strange structure – which consisted of concrete base with iron rods sticking out on either side and two wooden pieces located further up on the beach - “a wide berth."

On the way back, she admits she got curious and took photos of the structure which she then posted in ‘Unseen Jersey’, a Facebook group which aims to “discover, uncover and bring to light, the hidden histories of Jersey”.

Pictured: The mysterious object was found in the area of Barge Aground.

Members of the 9,000-member strong group quickly took to the comments to suggest what it could be. 

Ocean plug, a “toppled over one-man bunker”, beach mine or a pill box were among the options put forward.

Others chimed in with more humorous interpretations, such as a “trap door to go to Guernsey”, an hippopotamus “obviously covered in concrete” or Captain Nemo's submarine.


Pictured: Bev Michel initially believed she had found a mine.

Several members of the group also believed the mysterious object to be the base of a ‘Nußknacker’ (nutcracker), an anti-landing obstacle.

 “There were various types of German WWII underwater obstacles placed on the beaches to prevent an Allied beach landing,” Alex Fearn, a member of Unseen Jersey and history enthusiast, told Express.

“Much of the defences we see were focussed on defending the beaches from such an attack. These were mapped out by the Allies using photo reconnaissance and used by researchers today to help interpret what remains today.”

Mr Fearn also pointed out “the mystery object” could be the base of one type of underwater obstacle, or the base of a beach groyne – a structure built into the water to prevent beach erosion or to trap and accumulate sand. 

Beach groin bev Michel

Pictured: It appears the mysterious object could be a beach groyne.

Another member of the group shared the same view, writing in the comments that the item “didn’t look very German” “The granite base plus the wooden pieces further up the beach suggest something like the remains of a beach groyne. 90% sure it's not a German beach obstacle in all honesty.”

It's the second beach discovery this week to turn islanders into history hunters.

Local dogwalker Nigel Hill stumbled across what appeared to be an 80-year-old message in a bottle when he was out for a morning walk with his Labrador, Reggie.

After posting his discovery on Facebook, it quickly piqued the interest of islanders with many joining efforts to find out who the author was.

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