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Remembered Today:


towisuk
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Thank you Doug.

The second charge at Peckham was lost. Obviously the charge that was blown was not lost. The second charge which you can see on the plan that I posted was lost through an inrush of sand which rendered it impossible to recover the tunnel to gain access to the charge. It was not lost in the sense that the tunnellers did not know where they had put it.

Justin

The sources for the unblown mines are the War Diaries for the tunnelling companies, which have been available since 1968, and the mining plans some of which I posted, probably also available since the same date. The records were there but not consulted.

Regards

Simon

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Hello Dough Johnson,

The Ridge going from Messines to St Eloi ??? NO sir.... Look at the level at Diependael...

Wytschaete insignificant compared to Messines ? Oh my dear you don't know. Wytschaete was always 10 x bigger than Messines, Warneton was important, it had factory's and a harbour....

Wytschaete population in 1910 : 3308

Messines population in 1910 : 1399

Warneton population in 1910 : 3986

The Ridge is Wytschaete ... When You like it or not, And most of the time you will find Wytschaete - Messines Ridge.. Wytschaete level 85 m Messines level 60 m.

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Simon, many thanks for posting the maps with the position of the mines, and thanks for filling me in on this subject of which as you can see I don't know a lot about but has grabbed my interest.

The depth of knowledge which people such as yourself have and make it available on the forum is most heartening

once again, many thanks

regards

Tom

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post-5284-1157369502.jpg

Playing around with google Earth I think the pin is in the general area of Birdcage mines. Unfortunately there is not to much detail on this earth but working from the info I have seen it's in the near vicinity

regards

Tom

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Simon, your maps and efforts are most gratefully received! I walk this area often and have always wondered where the mines were! Thank you.

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  • 1 month later...

When filming the field last Friday under which three of the birdcage mines had been laid, I was invited to the home of a nearby resident to see photos taken in 1955 of the resultant crater.

The mine that had blown was the most eastern one, 200-250yards east of his property on the opposite side of the road.

I was able to supply him with details off the other 3 mines one which lies in the field adjacent to his home,

as my friend said to him "don't tell the insurance company!!! "

Unfortunately the photos we took of the original photos didn't come out as well as expected but I hope to return next year and see my new friend and retake the photos with better results

photo's to follow

Regards

tom

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post-5284-1160568853.jpg

Im the one on the right, the room in which we are sitting is built right over the German front line trench

Tom

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post-5284-1160569087.jpg

One of the photos we were lucky enough to see

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post-5284-1160569911.jpg

Another photo, and a lot of the locals obviously very interested in the new landmark

Tom

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Thanks Tom, it's interesting the see the 1955 photos. I wonder if the In Flanders Field museum documentation centre have copies?

Simon

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Hi Simon,

Its thanks to you I got to see these photos, thanks for the help.

I don't know if they have copies in IFF museum, next time I go over I'll take a bottle of Scotch for my new friend and see if we can communicate better.....my knowledge of French is almost nil, the only way we managed to hold a conversation was the fact he knew some very basic english.

I think it came as a bit of a shock to him to find the southernmost mine in the field to the east of his home was clearly shown on the maps you kindly supplied me with. He has lived in the house for 25 years, knew there were 3 other mines in the area but not where they were located. or that his home was built over the German front line trench.

It was very nice of him to invite me into his home when he saw me up the lane with my camcorder ,he was returning home in his car at the time.

Needless to say I threw the equipment and maps into the car and followed him down to his driveway.

my friend who accompanied me on the trip almost choked on the sandwich he was having for lunch as I set off!!!

Again, regards

Tom

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post-5284-1160573555.jpg

Another of the photos

Tom

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The risk of getting your **** blown off by one of these mines is no greater than being hit by a meteorite.

....and probably similar to the chances of winning the National Lottery!!

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Ahhhhh! but would YOU buy a house next to one of these mines???????

Tom

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I missed the beginning of this Topic 5 weeks ago, and I'm glad someone dragged it up. For I have a problem too with these mines. Actually more than one. So many that after a while I thought : this is getting so complicated, and the sources often are so contradictory that I'd better give up. But as I was in the area with a US contact recently (Hi Bill !) and have just read the previous postings, I cannot resist.

I was there end of May 2004, with Iain McHenry, who had a map where the mines were. Using his map we stepped the distance in the field to where one of the Unexploded Mines are. Looking at the attached map here (it's not the one Iain had with him IIRC, this one here comes from P. Barton, P. Doyle, J. Vandewalle, Beneath Flanders Fields (p. 192) ) I think we were standing on Mine marked as 3 or 4 (difficult to remember, because this map shows no scale).

We were accompanied by the local living near the T junction, and who has the photos. (Kind and helpful gentleman) And standing in the field were joined by the farmer using the field. (The poor man had not really been inteersted in the subject before, and was lsitening with growing interest. He was not sure whether he was supposed to be proud or alarmed at the thought ... :D

But the reason of this posting is something else. All these years I have been sure that the mine that exploded in 1955 was the one marked on the attached photo as NUMBER 2. Imagine my surprise when I read the caption in P. Barton's book saying that the Exploded Mine was NUMBER 3 !

Please, help me, which one was it ? Number 3 or Number 2 ?

Yes, I could look at the 1955 photo's, and I do see where the road is (the Chemin des Loups). But that does not seem enough to me to decide.

Another thing is that I did talk to the local near the T-junction indeed, a couple of times, but he did not come to live there until 25 years ago (that's what he told us, and that's what I think I read in a previous posting). So he was not there when the thing went off. I wish someone who did live there at the time could assure me where the explosion took place (Number 2 or 3 ?)

Aurel

post-92-1160584105.jpg

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And this is a photo I took (May 2004) standing on what we (Iain and me) had calculated was the place where the unexploded mine (one of them) was. (And which on Peter Barton's map (see my previous posting) has Number 3 or 4, I'm not sure.)

(I don't think this was a dangerous enterprise, as neither Iain nor me smoke. :lol:

And there was no thunder in the sky. )

I am aiming my camera at the Chemin des Loups, more specifically where I thought (and still think) where in 1955 an Unexploded Mine went off. It's near that electricity pole in the middle, one that is a bit taller than its neighbours. (Counting from the T junction where the gentleman with the photo lives, it is the 7th.)

Aurel

post-92-1160584758.jpg

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Albeit a fascinating debate in its own right here, could someone then confirm whether there are still the previously mentioned 165,000lbs of unexploded mines under the ground in this area? Could they still go off? If not, why not?

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Hi Aurel,

It seems you and I have been speaking to the same gentleman, his house is on the opposite side of the road as you approach the "T" junction from the Messines direction. and he had lived there for 25 years.

It was the No 2 mine that went up in "55

We were told it was 7 electricity poles along to the east from his home at the "T" junction across on the Messines side of the road, a slight depression is visible in the field where the resultant crater was filled in.

Regards

Tom

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Hi Aurel,

There is a slight depression in the ground where the mine crater had been filled in at mine position No2, This is 7 electricity poles along the road from the house at the junction on the Messines side of the road. At the moment there is a pile of suger beet piled up next to the small depression.

regards

Tom

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Sorry about the 2 postings p.c at this end playing up!!!

Tom

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I make it around 90,000 lb of explosive that are still resting underground in the Birdcage mine area,

2 to the north side of the road and 1 to the south

Tom

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Tom,

No doubt the same person indeed. He showed us the same photographs.

I have never had any doubts as to the location of the 1955 Explosion of the Unexploded Mine : near the Chemin des Loups, close to the 7th pole, which is somewhat taller.

But the sketch in P. Barton's book alarmed me. (Of course he can be wrong too.)

Maybe one day I'll go back and find that slight depression you mention. Just this, when leaving the gentleman's house at the T junction, going east (into the Chemin des Loups), is the depression (the former 1955 crater) on the left (north side) of the road, or right (south) side ? Looking at P. Barton's sketch, the heart (center of the circles) is on the left side.

And when I'll go back I'll take your photos and mine (I have two, one from Ted Smith's book A Walk Around Plugstreet, one from P. Barton's book), and have a look at the buildings in the background, to be a little bit more sure of the location.

Aurel

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Aurel,

The depression is on the north (lefthand side) as you travel east.

I did a video of the field on Friday and at the time I was under the impression that it was the mine to the south of the road that had detonated with the lightning strike but when talking to our friend from the adjacent property I was shown the slight depression in the field just north of the road

The field to the south of the road had crops which had not been harvested 6 days ago so I was unable to see any soil contours of that field while I was there.

I hope to return in March to spend a bit more time in Flanders and around the birdcage mine area in particular, I did a detour on my way from Zeebruge to Arras to take in this part of the front last Friday.

regards

Tom

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Aurel,

The depression is on the north (lefthand side) as you travel east.

I did a video of the field on Friday and at the time I was under the impression that it was the mine to the south of the road that had detonated with the lightning strike but when talking to our friend from the adjacent property I was shown the slight depression in the field just north of the road

The field to the south of the road had crops which had not been harvested 6 days ago so I was unable to see any soil contours of that field while I was there.

I hope to return in March to spend a bit more time in Flanders and around the birdcage mine area in particular, I did a detour on my way from Zeebruge to Arras to take in this part of the front last Friday.

regards

Tom

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I hope to return in March to spend a bit more time in Flanders and around the birdcage mine area in particular, I did a detour on my way from Zeebruge to Arras to take in this part of the front last Friday.

regards

Tom

Thanks, Tom.

And when you return in March, don't forget your shovel.

And your camera.

So that you can post a photo of the other Unexploded Mine(s).

That is, before they .... :rolleyes:

Aurel

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