Petit Bois - Markwald

Is situated at a height of 1 km north-west. From the church of Wijtschate, there are two minecraters in the fields. The craters have a diameter of 66.1 meters and 14 meters in diameter after the mining stroke, the other a diameter of 53.3 meters and a depth of 14.9 meters.


In the vicinity of Petit Bois, several mine loads were blown up in the summer of 1915. On December 16, 1915, the 250th Tunnelling Company started a deep shaft at the ruins of Candamme Farm, from where a 17 meter long gallery left. At the end of January 1916, it decided to extend the shaft to 32 meters. The old start was used for the installation of a water pump.

To accelerate digging, one attempted to transfer and install a custom drill used in coal mines. This became a company that went very hard. Meanwhile, a second shaft was already digging and already 27 meters far, with a special room to assemble the riverside.

After several attempts, it was possible to start the machine, but it had to be panned many times and had to be dug again. After three attempts to boot the machine, this plan was waived. Meanwhile, the excavation work in the gallery was quite smooth. After 550 meters the German lines were reached, to walk Y-shaped another 100 meters below Petit Bois.

In the early morning of June 10, 1916, the Germans caused two powerful charges to blast, the northernmost of which was below the British main gallery and collapsed over a length of 75 meters. As a result, 12 British men were sealed at a depth of 30 meters in a tunnel of 1.3 meters high and almost 0.9 meters wide. Only 1 Tunneller survived this adventure by keeping calm and losing as much oxygen as possible.

The only survivor was Sapper Bedson from Cumberland, an experienced miner, he was sent home, but returned to his unit. His eleven mates who did not survive are buried at cemmel Chateau Military Cemetery.

The Germans suspected that the British were beaten back, but were able to locate the exact position of the mines and released explosions from the crater of June 10, which required a lot of restoration work for the British. Also later, Germans were causing explosions that brought damage to the galleries. In the following months a subway with access to the gallery and a number of underground brigades and batajon headquarters were also dug.

The mining charges caused by Petit Bois on June 7, 1917 two craters, one with a diameter of 66.1 meters and 14 meters depth and one with a diameter of 53.3 meters and 14 meters depth. The wooden lining of the underground systems was taken by the Royal Engineers recovered


The forgotten war under Salient of Bostijn Franky - The Mine War in Flanders by Lampaert Roger.

  Petit Bois Wood left of the trench H3 2nd Battalion Royal Irish Rifles as the trench 1914-1915. Photo: IWM

  Part of British map 1917.