British and Commonwealth Mining Operations on the Western Front 1914-1918

The information contained within this small site is by no means definitive, nor does it claim to cover every aspect of mining in this region during 1914~1918. Specifically it is my undergraduate dissertation reworked into a web format with some alterations suggested by those who marked it. I was particularly fortunate to have had the help and guidance from my tutor, Mr Rob Thompson, whose passion for the subject of the First World War as a whole is only matched by his personal knowledge, and from my supervisor, Professor Martin Alexander, who gave me every encouragement. I would like to take this opportunity to thank both Professor Alexander and  Rob  for all their help and to say that my only regret is that personal circumstances at the time prevented me from making the most of the excellent advice and information that they gave me. Changes and/or additions may be made from time to time as opportunity allows and, if it works, I can be contacted via the e-mail link below where any comments would be welcome. When looking through the site some may notice that there is no mention of mining operations carried out at Vimy Ridge. At the time of writing a decision had to be made as to what operations should be included due to considerations of space, although in retrospect Vimy should have at least been mentioned as, ostensibly, this was the forerunner to Messines itself. I am hoping to rectify this omission at some future date.  I hope you find this site of some use to you.  *A section on Vimy Ridge has now been included.*

Neil Ashworth

                    Picture of Hawthorn Ridge Redoubt Mone                     
Hawthorn Ridge Redoubt Mine fired at 07:20, ten minutes before zero hour, on the Somme,
1st July 1916. A still frame from a cine film taken approximately
1 mile away when the mine was fired

 Picture of La Boisselle Mine Crater
The mine crater at La Boiselle on the Somme. Measuring 450 feet across
this was the largest crater of the war. Close scrutiny of the picture will reveal
 a man standing at the base who was a former member of 185 Tunnelling Company

(Both photographs taken from Barrie, A. The War Underground)

                           Introduction         Efficacy         Effects on Morale          Opportunity for Breakthrough       


                                                                   Conclusion                  Bibliography

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Diagram of a vertical shaft
Links to other sites

The Western Front Association

Trenches on the Web

Hell Fire Corner

First World War

The Great War Society