Beneath Flanders Fields
The Tunnellers' War 1914-1918
Date of publication: 2007
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 hospitals, housing the innumerable troops who passed through this part of the Western Front.
Here, this extraordinary, hidden world is revealed and the fragile legacy it has left behind on Flanders fields is brought to light.