About Unexploded mine under Canadian War Memorial
|December 10th, 2008||#1|
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Unexploded mine under Canadian War Memorial info
Accompanied by a team of volunteers, Lt Col Phillip Robinson - a British Army Royal Engineer, made a detailed investigation of the "La Folie" tunnel system and confirmed that the black powder was in fact, an abandoned mine charge, left over from the First World War. The DURAND mine, (the tunnel leading to it had been constructed by French Tunnelling Engineers) constituted about 6,000lbs of the high explosive ammonal. Subsequent tests, however, revealed the powder to be highly degraded and incapable of detonation.
In 1996, Lt Col Robinson returned to Vimy after further investigation had indicated another, much larger charge still lying dormant under the ridge. The BROADMARSH - so called because it sits under an area of the same name - was estimated to be 20,000lbs and lying uncomfortably close to a busy road junction within a part of the Memorial site that sees many thousands of cars, coaches and pedestrians passing over it each year.
The Canadian Authorities, mindful of their 'duty of care' to those visiting the site, agreed to an investigation. In October 1997, having assembled a team of specialist civilian and military personnel for the operation, Lt Col Robinson returned to Vimy Ridge and successfully excavated the BROADMARSH mine. In 1998, inspired by ethos of the tunnellers and the achievements at Vimy, team member Lt Col Mike Watkins proposed a continuation of the work and those present would form the nucleus of what is now The Durand Group.
Further analysis of the DURAND mine in February 1998 concluded that, far from inert, the explosive ammonal under the top layers of the charge was still in perfect working order and that the instability of the primers and detonators posed a very real risk to the general public on the surface.
This mine charge was subsequently made safe, as too was another, smaller mine - a CAMOUFLET designed to blow an enemy tunnel - further south within the "La Folie" system. It is not thought that any further charges - of British origin - exist within the Memorial Site boundary.
In August 1998 tragedy struck. Whilst trying to gain entrance to an incline into "O" Sector - a mining system to the south of "La Folie" - Lt Col Mike Watkins was killed when a section of clay sheared off.
Adversus solem ne loquitor
|January 29th, 2009||#4|
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Was all of this left overs from the first world war? or the second?
If we should have to fight, we should be prepared to do so from the neck up instead of from the neck down. General James H. Doolittle, USAAF
|January 30th, 2009||#5|
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I dont have the exact number of these mines but its quite a few have been located. Stacks of shells, grenades and other explosives are still being uncovered.
|January 30th, 2009||#6|
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The tunnelling history of WW1 is a story unto its self. The Germans wools try and intercept these tunnels and some there was a lot of hand to hand fighting underground. One of the things the Brits did was to take down a bowl of water and every now and again would stop digging and then watch the water and if there were ripples on it, then it meant that some one else was digging nearby. These mines are still some of the biggest non nuclear explosions ever to take place.
|January 31st, 2009||#7|
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My grand father in the Middlesex Regiment was close to Hill 60 when a British mine underneath detonated. He was asleep after a stint on guard, and didnt even hear it. He woke up to see a huge crater where there was once a hill.