Jaonnet Bay is a deep cove on Guernsey’s south coast. It can be accessed from the coastal path, with some effort. It is around half a mile’s walk from the car park at Icart Point, and the only access is by way of a long, steep set of steps. There is somewhere to sit half way down (and, crucially, half way back up again) but it is unsuitable for children and anybody without a good set of strong legs on them.
The last section is a ladder down to the beach itself.
Jaonnet Bay was the site of a second world war raid on Guernsey by a British commando. Taking place on the night of 8 July 1940, when the island was under German occupation, it was led by Hubert Nicolle, a Guernseyman himself, who spent three days on the island and was picked up again by the Royal Navy so he could return to the mainland and give his report.
He was transported to the waters around Guernsey by submarine, but made his final approach to the south coast by canoe. He then met up with friends and acquaintances on the island, gathering information from as many as he could, before being collected by the submarine under cover of darkness.
Nicolle returned to Guernsey on a second information gathering mission two months later, but when his escape transport failed to turn up he was forced to surrender and was taken prisoner.
A fictionalised version of a larger commando raid takes place in book 2, Blowfish, where it is being filmed by the BBC 25 years before events in the story itself take place. Local builder Frank Hollett is one of the many extras employed to act in the production.
A carved granite stone was unveiled on the cliffs at Icart Point on the 70th anniversary of the raid at a point where you can look along the south coast towards the landing point at Jaonnet Bay.