Guernsey Occupation Crystal Set, 1944

Imperial War Museum image, © IWM (COM 501).

Imperial War Museum image, © IWM (COM 501).

The crystal set shown here is from the collections of the Imperial War Museum.

The Channel Islands were the only part of Britain that were under German occupation during World War 2, and while islanders were initially allowed to keep their radio sets, they were eventually confiscated. In response, many residents obtained crystal sets such as the one shown here. This one was manufactured in Guernsey in 1944.

Evening Post photo of confiscated radios in Guernsey, via TheIslandWiki.org.

Evening Post photo of confiscated radios in Guernsey, via TheIslandWiki.org.

The plans for the set were broadcast by “Colonel Britton” of the BBC. This set, along with about 50 others, was manufactured by the person who donated the set to the museum. The coil was made of wire stolen from a German car, and the crystals were made by mixing sufur and lead, baked in a fire in a German rifle cartidge case.

Occasionally, the wavelength of the BBC broadcast would change, at which time “Colonel Britton” would announce that more windings would need to be added to the coil. Either a radio headphone or a telephone receiver could be used to listen.

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