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Plugstreet Blog

This is the new blog of the Plugstreet Archaeological Project.

   A Great War themed project exploring sites around Comines-Warneton and Messines in Belgium.    The project is being led by members of No Man's Land - The European Group for Great War    Archaeology and the Comines-Warneton Historical Society.

Trench Raids

Monday, June 5th, 2017

On the final day of preparation for the attack trench raids we carried out to assess the effectiveness of the artillery and the situation in the enemy trenches. In the Australian sector 33rd, 37th, 40th, 42nd and 43rd Battalions send parties out in the early hours of the morning.

The men from C Company, 33rd Battalion climbed silently out of the trenches by the road at St Yves, not far from the place where our team excavated the British Bunker. The short distance across No Man’s Land was successfully negotiated and they entered the enemy trenches just north of where the Ultimo Mine waited deep beneath the clay. The front line trenches were deserted, the party explored around 50 yards of the same trenches we have been exploring, but were unable to find their main objective. The party were tasked with locating the entrance to a suspected counter tunneling shaft, if the enemy tunnelers had also planted explosives beneath the Belgian blue clay, they were liable to trigger them in the opening of the battle and the results could have been devastating for the advancing Australians.

It would be over 90years before the presence of the suspected shaft was confirmed, the bulky notched timbers, knocked askew by the force of the explosion which created Ultimo Crater, next saw the light of day when our team uncovered them.

The Allied Artillery conducted a practice barrage at 3 p.m. and another at 8 p.m. In retaliation the enemy guns bombarded the rear areas, aiming to silence the guns. A enemy shell landed in Bailleul Station, blowing up a Ammunition train, bringing in much needed ammunition for the Allied guns.

The time for Zero hour was revealed to those who needed to know, 3.10am on the 7th of June.


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