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Mine Exploration Forum

Author July 31st one hundred years ago.
pingu

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Joined: 24/04/2010
Location: Blaenau Ffestiniog

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July 31st one hundred years ago.
Posted: 30/07/2017 20:06:31
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On July the 31st 1917 at 3.10am the battle of Passchendaele started with the detonation of 19 huge mines. Many of the mine galleries were dug by Welsh miners. The battle lasted three and a half months and cost over half a million lives of many nationalities. My, as yet incomplete research, seems to indicate that 4 men worked at Cwmorthin and possibly 6 from the Oakley before loosing their lives in the battle. As First War records were hand written and often misspelt, accurately tracing men can be very difficult. If anyone has any information on any miners from the Blaenau Ffestiniog area who served in the First War I would be very grateful if you could contact me. Meanwhile, when you venture underground for your pleasure, please spare a thought for those who mined these hills and gave their all for us.
Er cof am bawb o dras Cymreig a gymerodd ran yn y Rhfel Byd Cyntaf.
IP: 109.155.173.98
simonrail

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Joined: 23/07/2008
Location: Cleveland

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July 31st one hundred years ago.
Posted: 30/07/2017 21:53:21
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I suspect a little confusion here as it was the Battle of Messines in 1917 which started with the explosion of 19 huge mines.
A major characteristic of the Battle of Passchendaele was the battlefield turning into a sea of mud which would certainly have prevented much tunnelling.


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Tamarmole

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Location: Tamar Valley

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July 31st one hundred years ago.
Posted: 30/07/2017 22:18:40
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The mine attack took place on 7th June 1917 as the opening move of the Battle of Messines. Messines was a total success (which is why most people have never heard of it - it doesn't fit into the received "lions led by donkeys" model). The battle secured the British southern flank which was an essential prerequisite for a break out from the Ypres Salient. The partially successful attempt to break out of the Salient was officially known as the Third Battle of Ypres but will be forever remembered as Passchendaele.

Messines /3rd Ypres was a pivotal moment in the role of tunnellers. Messines saw a classic tunnelling attack on fixed German lines and was the last time an attack of this sort was made on the Western Front. 3rd Ypres on the other hand saw the beginning of the break down of static warfare and the role of the tunneller changed from offensive / defensive mining to constructing large scale bunkers complete with hospitals, command posts etc (life on surface in the Salient being pretty much untenable). By 1918 with the German spring offensive and the later British advances the role of the tunneller changed again to what was in effect a combat engineer undertaking jobs such as demolition and bomb disposal.
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pingu

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Location: Blaenau Ffestiniog

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July 31st one hundred years ago.
Posted: 31/07/2017 03:40:58
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Ooops!!! Yes, thank you Simon. A massive cock up on my part! My defense being, I'm residing in very small cluttered caravan which doubles as a site office, I've taken to many drugs (legally prescribed), over tired, I'm an idiot!BlushBlush IP: 213.205.252.131
danswift

Joined: 31/03/2016

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July 31st one hundred years ago.
Posted: 31/07/2017 09:02:42
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Tamarmole wrote:

The mine attack took place on 7th June 1917 as the opening move of the Battle of Messines. Messines was a total success (which is why most people have never heard of it - it doesn't fit into the received "lions led by donkeys" model). The battle secured the British southern flank which was an essential prerequisite for a break out from the Ypres Salient. The partially successful attempt to break out of the Salient was officially known as the Third Battle of Ypres but will be forever remembered as Passchendaele.

Messines /3rd Ypres was a pivotal moment in the role of tunnellers. Messines saw a classic tunnelling attack on fixed German lines and was the last time an attack of this sort was made on the Western Front. 3rd Ypres on the other hand saw the beginning of the break down of static warfare and the role of the tunneller changed from offensive / defensive mining to constructing large scale bunkers complete with hospitals, command posts etc (life on surface in the Salient being pretty much untenable). By 1918 with the German spring offensive and the later British advances the role of the tunneller changed again to what was in effect a combat engineer undertaking jobs such as demolition and bomb disposal.


Serious question, is that a google copy and paste job or an on the spot summary? Thumbs Up
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ttxela

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July 31st one hundred years ago.
Posted: 31/07/2017 09:54:19
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Sir John Norton-Griffiths the fellow in charge is well worth reading up on as he had a very colourful life. I believe he had some trouble in convincing those in charge that tunnelling was going to be effective. He toured the front in his own converted Rolls Royce! IP: 188.39.178.242
Morlock

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July 31st one hundred years ago.
Posted: 31/07/2017 15:33:52
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ttxela wrote:

I believe he had some trouble in convincing those in charge that tunnelling was going to be effective.


Just about sums up the attitude of those in charge at the time, just a matter of one more charge into the machine guns.
Strange really as undermining the enemy was a very old and also very effective technique.
IP: 81.156.87.19 Edited: 31/07/2017 15:36:28 by Morlock
Tamarmole

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July 31st one hundred years ago.
Posted: 31/07/2017 18:21:25
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danswift wrote:

Tamarmole wrote:

The mine attack took place on 7th June 1917 as the opening move of the Battle of Messines. Messines was a total success (which is why most people have never heard of it - it doesn't fit into the received "lions led by donkeys" model). The battle secured the British southern flank which was an essential prerequisite for a break out from the Ypres Salient. The partially successful attempt to break out of the Salient was officially known as the Third Battle of Ypres but will be forever remembered as Passchendaele.

Messines /3rd Ypres was a pivotal moment in the role of tunnellers. Messines saw a classic tunnelling attack on fixed German lines and was the last time an attack of this sort was made on the Western Front. 3rd Ypres on the other hand saw the beginning of the break down of static warfare and the role of the tunneller changed from offensive / defensive mining to constructing large scale bunkers complete with hospitals, command posts etc (life on surface in the Salient being pretty much untenable). By 1918 with the German spring offensive and the later British advances the role of the tunneller changed again to what was in effect a combat engineer undertaking jobs such as demolition and bomb disposal.


Serious question, is that a google copy and paste job or an on the spot summary? Thumbs Up


On the spot summary - its a subject I regularly lecture on under the title "The road to Messines, military mining on the Western Front 1915 - 1917".
IP: 86.136.234.61 Edited: 31/07/2017 18:39:50 by Tamarmole
Tin Miner

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July 31st one hundred years ago.
Posted: 03/08/2017 18:11:11
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A very good lecture it is too... Had the pleasure of listening to Rick on the 21st February at Meavy village hall for the Yelverton & District Local History Society. An excellent presentation and well researched... thank you Rick IP: 94.175.21.78
Graigfawr

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July 31st one hundred years ago.
Posted: 03/08/2017 20:39:04
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About two years ago Big Pit National Coal Museum produced a temporary exhibition (now travelling around various Welsh venues, I think) on WW1 military tunnelling units, with special reference to Welsh miners recruited to them, tracing the careers of various individual miners. If you are near a venue it's worth looking at. IP: 94.193.38.178
Tamarmole

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Location: Tamar Valley

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July 31st one hundred years ago.
Posted: 03/08/2017 22:12:14
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Tin Miner wrote:

A very good lecture it is too... Had the pleasure of listening to Rick on the 21st February at Meavy village hall for the Yelverton & District Local History Society. An excellent presentation and well researched... thank you Rick


Very kind of you to say so.
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