Archaeologists find the bodies of 21 tragic World War One German soldiers




 
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April 10th, 2012  
MontyB
 
 

Topic: Archaeologists find the bodies of 21 tragic World War One German soldiers


The 'Pompeii' of the Western Front: Archaeologists find the bodies of 21 tragic World War One German soldiers in perfectly preserved trenches where they were buried alive by an Allied shell

Men were killed when a huge Allied shell exploded above the tunnel in eastern France in 1918, causing it to cave in
Engineers find trench network 18ft beneath the surface near town of Carspach while excavating for a new road
Scene likened to Pompeii after skeletal remains found in same positions the men had been in at the time of the collapse
By Graham Smith
UPDATED: 18:37 GMT, 10 February 2012

The bodies of 21 German soldiers entombed in a perfectly preserved World War One shelter have been discovered 94 years after they were killed.

The men were part of a larger group of 34 who were buried alive when a huge Allied shell exploded above the tunnel in 1918, causing it to cave in.

Thirteen bodies were recovered from the underground shelter, but the remaining men had to be left under a mountain of mud as it was too dangerous to retrieve them.

Nearly a century later, French archaeologists stumbled upon the mass grave on the former Western Front in eastern France during excavation work for a road building project.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/arti...ars-later.html
April 10th, 2012  
Trooper1854
 
 
This memorial is in the middle of a field just outside of Ypres:



It commemerates the the Officer and Sappers of the Royal engineers whole still lie in the collapsed tunnells under the field.
The whole of the salient was tunnelled and mined throughout the war and Hundreds of thousands of men lie in these tombs.
Hill 60, at the start of the Messine's Ridge, is one of the few parts of the Ypre's Salient left as it was due to the huge number of soldiers still entombed beneath it.
Two good books about the underground war are:
"Beneath Flanders Fields: The Tunneller's War 1914-1918" by Peter Barton, Peter Doyle & John Vandewalle.
And "Thirty odd feet below Belgium" by Peter Barton, which is a collection of letters by Lieutenant Geoffrey Boothby, Royal Engineers.
He is the officer commemorated on the memorial above.
I met John Vandewalle last time I was in Ypres. He is a fascinating man with an incredible knowledge of the underground war.
April 10th, 2012  
BritinBritain
 
 
Some time ago an unexploded mine was found under the Canadian War memorial. Ex British Royal Engineers have found quite a few unexploded mines in various locations. They found is safer to leave the explosives where they are and simply remove or make safe the initiating devices.
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April 10th, 2012  
Trooper1854
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BritinAfrica
Some time ago an unexploded mine was found under the Canadian War memorial. Ex British Royal Engineers have found quite a few unexploded mines in various locations. They found is safer to leave the explosives where they are and simply remove or make safe the initiating devices.
They laid twenty one mines under the Messines Ridge.
Nineteen blew. The other two were forgotten about until one went up in 1952 when the field was struck by lightning!
The other mine is still unaccounted for.
The are around Hill60 has miles of tunnels beneath it and so many men still lie beneath it that the whole area has been designated a memorial.
Another issue is when the vast number of tunnels and bunkers beneath the Ypres area causes collapses. Cows, tractors, farmers, roads and buildings have all fallen into the voids under the area.
What is really sad though is that people scour the battlefields with metal detectors looking for artefacts, which is illegal without a permit.
If human remains are found, some of these people rather than inform the authorities, just dump the remains at the road side.
With no artefacts these remains cannot even be allocated to a nation let alone be identified.
April 10th, 2012  
BritinBritain
 
 
One British group found the remains of a German soldier, where they found engraved rings in his pocket. Through some clever detective work they found living relatives in Germany, the elder of which requested that the rings are reburied with the human remains.

My Granddad was facing Hill 60 when it went up, he was asleep after coming off guard and didn't hear a thing.
April 10th, 2012  
Trooper1854
 
 
These are some photos I took when I last visited the Ypres salient.
The weather was un-naturaly good for this part of the world.

This is the memorial stone at Hill 60:



This pill box was built by the Germans, captured by the British and "turned" to face the enemy:



This is Catepillar Crater, right next to Hill 60:


This is the new memorial to the Queen Victoria Rifles. the original was destroyed in WWII by the Germans:


Close up of the memorial plaque


The ground around Hill 60 still shows today how torn up it was in the war:


An excellent book regarding the re-discovery of remains, and battlefield archeology, is "FROMELLES" by Patrick Lindsay.
It is an incredible story of how one man, Lambis Englezos, strove to
re-discover a mass grave of Australian soldiers who died during the battle of Fromelles in July 1916, when Australia suffered 5500 casualties in one day.
April 10th, 2012  
VDKMS
 
In Belgium DOVO is responsible for clearing unexploded munitions, nearly all of them from both world wars. They get about 3500 calls a year (handgrenades to 1000 pounders) for a total of about 350.000 kg. The Westhoek still accounts for more than 10.000 kg each year. The farmers call it the "iron harvest".

April 11th, 2012  
Trooper1854
 
 
This is my piece of the "Iron Harvest".



I found it lying on the surface in a freshly ploughed field opposite the entrance to Tyne Cott cemetry.
I was just standing there looking across the field when an odd shaped lump of mud caught my eye.
A closer look showed it too be a fuse cap.
I did a stupid thing and picked it up, and its the only time I have ever removed anything from the battlefields.
Once washed off I could see it was safe.
Makes an excellent paper weight.
But it was a daft thing to do. The same week I was there another visitor picked up a Mills Bomb!
There are loads of artefacts lying around, the most common thing I saw were the barbed wire screw stakes, mainly because the farmers have reused so many in their fences.
April 11th, 2012  
BritinBritain
 
 
I remember a young boy kicked an unexploded 81 on a training area in UK, hey presto, red mist. I don't think they found as much as a button of him.

A young boy was found carrying a mills bomb by customs at Dover, when asked where he got it, he said a bloke running some kind of museum sold it to him in Belgium.

Scary stuff.
April 11th, 2012  
Trooper1854
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BritinAfrica
I remember a young boy kicked an unexploded 81 on a training area in UK, hey presto, red mist. I don't think they found as much as a button of him.

A young boy was found carrying a mills bomb by customs at Dover, when asked where he got it, he said a bloke running some kind of museum sold it to him in Belgium.

Scary stuff.
At the Hooge Crater museum just outside of Ypres, there is a gift shop that sell artefacts found in the area.
That is where the boy is believed to have bought his live Mills Bomb!
They have an amazing collection there including a room full of trench art.
In the salient some of the smaller private museums have just as impresive collections as the larger ones.
Hooge Crater cafe and Hill 60 cafe both have small museums packed full of artefacts found when the buildings were being put up.
 


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