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Remembered Today:

Miraumont dugouts?


andrew pugh
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Good Evening.

Just been reading a book that mentions a large concentration of caves or dugouts called the Fellsen Keller at Miraumont that were used by the Germans, do they still exist or are there any remains to see?

Best Regards Andy.

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Not heard of this before. A quick search on goggle got this page..but my German is poor..ney non existent!

https://www2.landesarchiv-bw.de/ofs21/olf/s...eKlassi=002.002

I will follow this with interest as 21st div fought round here in 1918.

Regards

Arm

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Good Evening. Just been reading a book that mentions a large concentration of caves or dugouts called the Fellsen Keller at Miraumont that were used by the Germans, do they still exist or are there any remains to see?

Best Regards Andy.

I would guess that these would be the caves at the back of Miraumont Station. I await confirmation from someone who knows the area well. I was shown this site by Iain McHenry after we had had a walk through Boom Ravine.

Two photos - from a distance and a close up look. You could feel the cold air of the breeze flowing out of here.

post-16428-1257452801.jpg

post-16428-1257452888.jpg

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I went into those positions in Miraumont quarries back in the 80s and again in the 90s. They once had wooden bunks in them, or the remains of, and plenty of wine bottles. It was my understanding they were billets in 1916, but I have since heard them described as a 'hospital'. What have your sources thrown up, Jack?

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Paul

It was an extremely significant site and very extensive. I featured it, including a map dating to Nov 1916, in my Germans at Thiepval guide (p 144). Unfortunately I am in UK, separated from my papers, and cannot post a copy of the map, which details how space was allocated within the workings. At that time it had two main entrances and two more being constructed. There were also ammunition and ration stores hacked back into the chalk face. A 1929 visitor from Marine IR 1, Theodor Kinder, wrote about it, 'From Achiet le Petit we made our way to Miraumont, a station on the Albert-Arras line. Here there was an enormous chalk mine, big enough to house several regiments. Whilst the battle for Courcelette was raging, it was an important location for housing reserves and supplies. In those days we called it the Heldenkeller [Heroes' Cellar!]. We found that it had returned to its peaceful purpose as a place where chalk is mined.'

Jack

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  • 6 years later...

Hi Team,

I like to respond to this subject, which I should have done years ago, when my wife got onto your site, after our European holidays in 2004.

I was informed, that I have no permission to use the Forum presently. I am registered as of the 20 March 2016 with this site.

We have 7 posts about Miraumont caves on our Favourites Folder.

I visited the Miraumont caves,inside for many hours, during my first trip to the WW1 battlefields in summer 1974.

I knew the owner of a interesting WW1 museum, in Hoorn,The Netherlands then, quite well and he organised a local French guide from a village near Miraumont for us.

As far as I can remember, his wife or himself comes from the region. I was born and bred in Amsterdam.

During mining operations in 1973, entrances to the caves were exposed. Elderly locals remembered and a chain reaction followed.

The French Army was called in, because there were many German corpses, couple of 100’s,as I can remember, inside.

The Army cleaned the place up a bit,corpses,weapons, but there were still heaps of collectables to be picked up.

Up to day, I still kick myself, for not picking up any of the 100’s of wine bottles, lying everywhere in the caves.Beautifull pre-war labels.!! Probably more collectable now, than German militaria we picked up that day.!!

We opened various wine bottles already opened by the Germans, containing half a bottle of liquid or so, but it smelt foul.

It might have been human urine, because the Germans were purposely suffocated by the Allies, by means of destroying the entrances to the caves.

That’s the story we were told at the time, by our local French guide.

I returned to the caves in the summer of 2004, during a European holiday ,with my Australian wife. I live in Brisbane, Queensland, for over 40 years.

I had great troubles finding the place, because it has changed so much since my last visit in 1974.

Unfortunately my wife considered the place very eerie/haunted and did not want me to get closer to the entrances than the photos shown.

All the mining equipment has gone and the area has been re-vegetated. Very peaceful, in fact.

I will follow up with pictures of the area from 2004.

Thank you for posting this update on your website.

Kind regards, Robert Schuss

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Looking forward to your 2004 photo's, Robert!

Roel

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Sorry, but the pictures my wife took in 2004, outside the caves, were too big to upload. Do not know how to reduce, but my son will.!!

Have contacted my friend in The Netherlands, regarding photos of our 1974 Miraumont visit. I can't find mine, but maybe amongst my 3000 slides.!!

Dear Roel,

So sorry to read about your forefather. I hope the War Graves Commission find his grave or their graves soon.

Robert schuss

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Thanks for your kind words, Robert. Who knows it may happen someday...

Roel

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The Germans had a beautiful (and large) cemetery at Miraumont, in what is still an empty field below the communal cemetery. There are photographs of it out there. So far as I understand it, the remains were removed soon after the war's end and cremated and thus never transferred to one of the retained German cemeteries. All rather sad if true. The Germans buried a number of British soldiers in the communal cemetery - most in a large-ish plot and the rest scattered around the cemetery (in the spring/summer it is fairly easy to find them, as the CWGC cut a path through the otherwise rather neglected grass: at least this was the case some years back).

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Morning All

Can I ask a favour, would someone be able to pin the location on a modern day map?

I'll be in the versinity in a couple of week and would like to visit the site.

Kind regards

Paul

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If in Miraumont there are two German concrete shelters in the village. One near the church and one on the outskirts. Don't miss them too.

TT

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  • 2 weeks later...

Was there a few days ago. Nothing to be seen of dugouts as scree covers base of cliffs, and this is covered in bushes.

Peter

PS Paul. it's easy to find, go under rail bridge by station, turn left up the track, and you are there. Can be seen on Google earth.

post-2649-0-79346700-1459844199_thumb.jp

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I'm staying in Miraumont in the summer, and would love to learn more about these caves / structures..... does anyone have the photograph of the German cemetery that was?

Andrew

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Lieutenant General Theodor von Wundt, who commanded the German 51st Reserve Infantry Brigade (Württembergers) on the Somme front and had his headquarters in Petit Miraumont, commissioned a series of paintings by Albert Heim, a commercial artist serving in one of his regiments. Several of the paintings depict festivities taking place in caves near Miraumont ... http://www.abbottandholder-thelist.co.uk/heim/

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I'm sure one or more of the Battleground Europe books has extensive coverage of the old German Cemetery including pics. Will check.

TT

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As regards the quarry at Miraumont, see Jack Sheldon's The Germans at Thiepval, Battleground Europe, pp 143 - 147, which also includes a sketch map of the system inside the quarry. For the cemetery, see Jack's Beaumont Hamel book, pp 140-142 - there are a couple of photographs of it there.

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Thank you very much to all who responded; appreciate your help

I'll get digging into the storage boxes where all my books are languishing ready for a move!

Andrew

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