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John Nettles' Jewels and Jackboots

John Nettles OBE stimulates impassioned debate with his book on the German Occupation of the Channel Islands entitled ‘Jewels and Jackboots’.

The book sheds more light on how Islanders were treated during the Occupation and how they reacted to Nazi invasion.

Mr. Nettles, a keen supporter of many Jersey charities, will be donating all his book royalties to Jersey and Guernsey Hospice Care.

The book, published by Channel Island Publishing in association with Jersey War Tunnels, was inspired by ‘The Channel Islands at War’ documentary series, which aired on national TV in 2010. The series was considered controversial as it featured revelatory interviews about the relationship between the Channel Islanders and Nazi soldiers. The book is the fulfillment of an ambition to tell, in much more detail than was possible in the documentaries, the true story of those extraordinary years.

Jewels & JackBoots Book by John Nettles front cover‘Jewels and Jackboots’ took John Nettles over two years to complete and features previously unpublished photographs and interviews as well as many little known Occupation facts.

John Nettles is best known in the Island for his starring role in the Bergerac series, which was filmed in Jersey. He has since gained acclaim for his leading role in Midsomer Murders. Aside from being an accomplished actor, John Nettles is also a history graduate with a keen interest in the Channel Islands Occupation. In complement to his new book, Mr. Nettles has also recorded the new historical audio tour for the Jersey War Tunnels Shuttle Bus operated by Char-a-Banc. His commission for this work is also being donated to Jersey Hospice Care.

John Nettles, author, Jewels and Jackboots, commented:

‘It used to be thought that the Occupation of the Channel Islands was a rather gentle, even benign affair, utterly unlike that of, say, France or Holland on mainland Europe. It was believed that by and large the German invaders behaved reasonably well and kept within the terms of the Geneva Convention. That is not the whole truth. The real history of the Occupation is much different from that. It is more morally complex, ambiguous and difficult. It is the story of a sustained and wholesale attack on human values, of great suffering, venality, violence and grotesque and hideous murder. It is also the story of extraordinary courage, wise and resourceful leadership and, surprisingly, given the awful conditions, much good humour. Special thanks goes to Jersey War Tunnels, and all individuals who helped with the production of the book.’

Paul Simmonds, Chief Executive, Jersey War Tunnels, added:

‘John has truly captured the essence of the period through the first hand experiences of the people who endured the five dark years of the German Occupation. The reader cannot fail to be touched by the highly emotive narrative and stunning imagery. Jersey War Tunnels are very pleased to be supporting this fascinating work; we believe projects such as this are essential to keep history alive and relevant.’

A short video of John Nettles commenting on writing Jewels and Jackboots and producing ‘The Channel Islands at War’ documentary series is also available via

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For Tuesday 27 January 2015