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A mine explosion in Flanders. From 'The Nations at War,' 1918 Edition, by Willis J. Abbot.
Text:
A mine explosion on the bitter battle front in Flanders. The explosion has thrown a great quantity of earth into the air, giving the effect of an ivy grown ruin

A mine explosion in Flanders. From The Nations at War, 1918 Edition, by Willis J. Abbot.

Image text

A mine explosion on the bitter battle front in Flanders. The explosion has thrown a great quantity of earth into the air, giving the effect of an ivy grown ruin

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Friday, June 23, 1916

". . . I had just stepped off the fire-step into the sap—Pattison was about 5 yards from me—when I felt my feet lifted up beneath me and the trench walls seemed to move upwards. There was a terrific blast of air which blew my steel helmet heaven knows where. I think that something must have struck me then on the head—it was said in hospital that my skull was fractured—anyhow, I remember nothing more until I woke to find myself buried up to the neck and quite unable to move hand or foot. I do not know how long I had been unconscious. I was told afterwards that there was a heavy bombardment of our trenches lasting nearly an hour after the explosion of the mine."

Quotation Context

Excerpt from the account by Captain H. Blair of his being buried in the largest German mine exploded on the Western Front, one that created a crater 120 yards long by 75 yards wide, at 2:00 AM on June 22, 1916. It would be nearly 24 hours before Blair was freed. He woke to a German raiding party running nearby, and feared he would be kicked in the head. Another soldier was buried immediately behind him, both buried and suffering a broken leg. Blair freed an arm, and began digging, attracting the attention of a German sniper. Fear and thirst and desperation ruled their day. By 3:00 AM a rescue party, after nearly three hours of work, freed them. The narrative is from the writings — diaries, letters, and memoirs — of Captain J.C. Dunn, Medical Officer of the Second Battalion His Majesty's Twenty-Third Foot, the Royal Welch Fusiliers and dozens of his comrades. The unit was west of La Bassée, France, in Artois.

Source

The War the Infantry Knew 1914-1919 by Captain J.C. Dunn, page 210, copyright © The Royal Welch Fusiliers 1987, publisher: Abacus (Little, Brown and Company, UK), publication date: 1994

Tags

1916-06-22, 1916-06-23, 1916, June, mine, mine explosion, mining