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1st Canadian Tunnelling Company




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1st Canadian Tunnelling Company was formed in eastern Canada. On arriving in France they were sent into the Ypres sector for instruction in early 1916 and in March 1916 they relieved 182nd Company near Armentieres. They then worked on tunnels at the Bluff and next took over the tunnelling operation at Hill 60 in preparation for the Battle of Messines. They handed the operation at Hill 60 over to the 1st Australian Tunnelling Company and moved to take over the tunnels at St Eloi, driving the tunnel system beneath enemy lines, crossing them on the 1st of April. They saw the tunnelling at St Eloi through to the 7th of June and sucessfully detonated the mines.

The 1st Canadian Tunnelling Company used a Whittaker Tunnelling machine for their workings at Lock Hospital in 1917, this tunnel was handed over to the 2nd Australian Tunnelling company on the 10th May 1917. The tunnelling by machine in the Belgian Blue clay was problematic and the War Diary lists numberous stoppages for repairs.

The unit patch of the 1st Canadian Tunnelling Company was a red square with a large black capital letter `T' on it.



Those who served with The 1st Canadian Tunnelling Company

at the Battle of Messines.

  • Anderson
  • Wilfred Laurier Spr. d.8th Aug 1918
  • Arundel
  • Robert Spr. d.8th Nov 1917
  • Barclay
  • John Cpl. d.11th Aug 1917
  • Bates
  • Lt
  • Binnion
  • T. Spr. d.2nd Oct 1917
  • Bishop
  • E. Spr. d.27th Aug 1918
  • Bland
  • Spr.
  • Bland
  • Wilfred Henry Spr. d.31st Jul 1917
  • Bradbury  
  • Horace Frederick Sapper
  • Brown
  • Lt
  • Buchanan
  • Lt
  • Buchanan  
  • Thomas Russell "Buck" Lt.
  • Carey
  • Spr.
  • Clark
  • G. A. L/Cpl. d.20 Aug 1918
  • Clarke
  • R. Spr. d.3rd May 1917
  • Clegg
  • R. Spr. d.31st Aug 1918
  • Cleworth
  • W. Spr. d.7th Oct 1917
  • Davis
  • J. Spr. d.2nd Dec1917
  • Delvaux  
  • Arsène Joseph Pte. d.27th Aug 1918
  • Deveaux
  • Hector Spr. d.7th Oct 1917
  • Duthie
  • Lt
  • Essig  
  • Ernest Albert Spr.
  • Foster  
  • E. B. Spr. d.7th Apr 1917
  • Gabriel
  • F. Spr. d.4th Dec 1917
  • Gabriel  
  • Frederick Spr. d.4th Dec 1917
  • Gaines
  • Benjamin Spr. d.8th Aug 1917
  • Gillis  
  • A Sjt. d.23rd Apr 1917
  • Godas
  • Matt Spr. d.29th Aug 1917
  • Goldsworthy
  • W. Spr. d.6th Jan 1917
  • Graham  
  • Murdo Matheson Pte. d.23rd Feb 1917
  • Gray  
  • Roy Cooper Spr.
  • Hancock
  • Thomas Richard Sgt.
  • Hawes  
  • C. H.
  • Healey  
  • Harry Pte.
  • Humphrey
  • Thomas William Spr. d.10th Sep 1917
  • Hutt
  • Robert Edward Pte. d.8th Aug 1917
  • Livingstone
  • Claude Spr. d.9th Aug 1917
  • MacPherson
  • Lt
  • McKay  
  • Robert Finlayson Spr. d.2nd Oct 1917
  • McLean
  • J. L. Spr. d.28th Jun 1917
  • McLeod
  • Sjt.
  • McNeil
  • Spr.
  • McQuarrie
  • Sjt.
  • Metcalfe
  • 2nd Cpl.
  • Mills
  • Blair Wilfred L/Cpl. d.26th Mar 1917
  • Mitchell  VC.
  • Coulson Norman Capt.
  • Mitchell
  • Robert Ernest Sjt. d.9th Sep 1918
  • Montgomery
  • Wiliam Edwin L/Cpl. d.27th Jun 1917
  • Moore
  • D. B. Spr. d.18th Aug 1917
  • Moriaty
  • Patrick Spr. d.7th Apr 1917
  • Nichol
  • P. Cpl.
  • Nicholson
  • John Spr. d.25th Mar 1917
  • O'Riley
  • Lt
  • Oates  
  • A. Sgt. d.21st Apr 1918
  • Penfold
  • A. d.19th Jul 1917
  • Peskyr
  • James Spr. d.30th Nov 1917
  • Pixton
  • H. 2nd Cpl. d.2nd Jan 1917
  • Poisson
  • G. Spr. d.8th Oct 1917
  • Powell
  • Sjt.
  • Rattray
  • J. N. Capt.
  • Reynolds
  • A. H. Spr. d.11th Sep 1917
  • Robertson
  • Lt
  • Rogers
  • Blise Herbert Spr. d.7th Oct 1917
  • Ryan
  • Leonard Spr. d.6th Jun 1917
  • Seale
  • W. G. Spr. d.7th Aug 1917
  • Sim
  • L. H. Spr. d.24th Sep 1917
  • Slade
  • W. Sjt. d.23rd Jul 1917
  • Smith  
  • John Montague Spr. d.1st Jun 1916
  • Sphynda  
  • Harry Spr.
  • Steele
  • Sjt.
  • Tanner
  • Frederick Andrew Spr. d.3rd Nov 1917
  • Taylor  
  • Edgar L/Cpl.
  • Thom
  • James Sjt. d.18th Aug 1917
  • Thorne
  • Capt.
  • Thorne  CDG.
  • Stuart M. Mjr.
  • Trenholme
  • T. W. Spr. d.27th Aug 1917
  • Webb
  • J. Sjt. d.12th Aug 1917
  • White
  • Daniel Spr. d.26th Mar 1917
  • Williams
  • Otto Russel Dvr. d.29th May 1917
  • Wood
  • Spr.




    Beneath Flanders Fields: The Tunnellers War 1914-1918

    Peter Barton, Peter Doyle & Johan Vandewalle


    Whilst the war raged across Flanders fields, an equally horrifying and sometimes more dangerous battle took place underground. "Beneath Flanders Fields" tells the story of the tunnellers' war, which still remains one of the most misunderstood, misrepresented and mystifying conflicts of the Great War. A wealth of personal testimonies reveal the engineering, technology and science behind how this most intense of battles was fought - and won. They speak of how the tunnellers lived a relentless existence in the depths of the battlefield for almost two and a half years, enduring physical and mental stresses that were often more extreme than their infantry counterparts. Their lives were reduced to a complex war of silence, tension and claustrophobia, leading up to the most dramatic mine offensive in history launched on 7 June 1917 at Messines Ridge. Yet, Messines was not the end of their story, which continued with the crafting of a whole underground world of headquarters, cookhouses and hos


    Underground Warfare 1914-1918

    Simon Jones


    Simon Jones's graphic history of underground warfare during the Great War uses personal reminiscences to convey the danger and suspense of this unconventional form of conflict. He describes how the underground soldiers of the opposing armies engaged in a ruthless fight for supremacy, covers the tunnelling methods they employed, and shows the increasingly lethal tactics they developed during the war in which military mining reached its apotheosis. He concentrates on the struggle for ascendancy by the British tunnelling companies on the Western Front. But his wide-ranging study also tells the story of the little known but fascinating subterranean battles fought in the French sectors of the Western Front and between the Austrians and the Italians in the Alps which have never been described before in English. Vivid personal testimony is combined with a lucid account of the technical challenges - and ever-present perils - of tunnelling in order to give an all-round insight into the extraord
    More information on:

    Underground Warfare 1914-1918






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