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Discovering a buried WW1 tunnel of death hidden in France -BBC article


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A fascinating story, Claudius. Thanks for bringing it to our attention.

 

For those who are interested, it concerns the fatal entombment of soldiers of the 10th and 11th companies of the 111th Reserve Regiment, during a French bombardment on 4 May 1917, and the recent rediscovery of the tunnel they were trapped in.

 

Worth reading.

 

Edited to add: I don't completely understand the seeming indifference of the German War Graves Commission (VDK) to identifying and reinterring the bodies.

Edited by Trooper_D
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What I found strange is the article reference that the looters haven't reached the tunnel yet, however after tossing aside rusted trench items they haven't gotten to the "treasure trove". 

 

What do they consider the treasure?  The body remains in decayed uniforms?  Rifles, bayonets and other gear in rotted condition?  Do they think that there are some helmets in good enough condition to be valuable?  

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If the tunnel was closed off and the air in it used up by the unfortunate soldiers, I wonder if that might have created conditions whereby everything would have been preserved as they were on the day of the bombardment. The article also refers to mummification present in the bodies of, I think, the soldiers dug out of the tunnel found in the 1970s, another indication of optimal conditions for preservation. All of that being the case, I suppose it might be that items found in the tunnel would have appeared in auction houses - or the 'Bay - before long.

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I suspect Trooper D is correct about what the looters hoped to find.  The idea seems to be that if the bodies are that well preserved there must be other thongs of 'value' there as well. :( 

 

Not too long ago now I saw photos of a 'dig' in France which uncovered a mass grave in which almost a dozen Tommies had been buried, all on their sides as if 'spooning', to fit the bodies into the short trench.  Sadly, the night after the excavation was closed up, looters dug it up again, presumably looking for things to sell.

 

As to the attitude of the German war graves people, the explanation may lie in the fact that it is a privately funded organization, with no official support, and therefor, I suspect, l;ikely to be chronically short of money. :(

 

Peter

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From what I understand, the location of the tunnel has always een knowing, the people who "found it" attention seekers with a collecting bent..... A bit like the Craig "Got lube?" Gottlieb and his grave diggers in the press a few years ago

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  • 2 weeks later...

I mentioned on another forum tht Craig Gottleib would try to get in on this.  He is an Uber-douche.  I met him at a show once and was a total asshole.  
 

people that dig up graves for profit are wankers.

 

I hope the right thing is done here and maybe this tunnel can be preserved for others to cherish history.

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