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Vampyr dugout


Taz
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The Vampire dugout (known locally in Belgium as the Vampyr dugout), was a First World War underground brigade headquarters, located near the Belgian village of Zonnebeke. It was created 14 metres (46 ft) below Flanders by the 171 Tunnelling Company of the Corps of Royal Engineers,after the Third Battle of Ypres/Battle of Passchendaele. Rediscovered in 2007, it was the subject of a 2008 British television programme in the Channel 4 Time Team series, also shown on the Science Channel in the United States. The dugout, inaccessible to the public as it is located on private property, is inspected every year by the local battlefield historical society.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vampire_dugout

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Shame that the archaeologists never had time or resource to get to the end of the bunker.

It also seems as though it was never actually occupied as the forces were pulled back before the work was complete. Must have been a quick retreat as quite a lot of specialised hand made tools were discovered.

A couple of German items were also discovered but only around the entrance that perhaps says that the advancing Germans although finding the bunker never ventured inside probably suspecting traps.

Interestingly, hand driven tunnels and headings (without a can) are built much the same way today.

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I was at a conference on WWI on Saturday and had a session by a Canadian group named CANADIGM who are busy working in France to document, with photography and 3D laser scans the carvings in some of the old 'souterraines' and tunnels in the Vimy area. The plan is to reproduce some of them and sent them cross Canada on tour. Fascinating stuff. Here's a link to one news story, with shots of a couple badges: http://www.ctvnews.ca/underground-carvings-memorialize-canadian-soldiers-1.651603

Several of the badges we saw in the presentation were carved by a tunneller who was a stone mason to the Royal Family before he came to Canada and joined the army. beautiful work and the reproduction techniques - laser - allows them to be copied so well that a pencil mark on thwe stone would change the thickness of the scan. And all buried for 100 years under tons of garbage in the back yard of French farm!

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