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Messines Ridge (Paperback)

Messines - Wystchaete - St Eloi

WWI Ypres Battlefield Guidebooks 1914 1915 1916 1917 1918

By Peter Oldham
Imprint: Battleground
Series: Battleground Books: WWI
Pages: 142
ISBN: 9780850526240
Published: 12th August 1998
Last Released: 2nd January 2013

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The battle for the possession of the villages of Messines Ridge, Messines, Wytchaete, St. Eloi, took place in 1914-17, and the final battle for Messines in 1918. The 1917 Battle of Messines was preceded by 19 giant mine explosions and was the biggest military mining effort in history. This book gives comprehensive details of what happened where and when, together with what can be seen today, including maps of all the remnants and sites.

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About Peter Oldham

Peter Oldham has a special interest in defence strategies and tactics of the First World War, ranging from the grand planning and organization of defence schemes to the parts played by the sapper who dug the trench and the tommy who has to man it. Having studied the evolution and changing theories of fixed and elastic systems, he then researched the part played by permanent fortifications and shell-proof protection for troops and services. His understanding of the problems of the supply and use of building and concreting materials is unrivalled. As a concrete technologist, he has spent twenty-five years testing and producing concrete materials and structures.

WWI: Battle of Messines

7th June 1917

The Battle of Messines began on 7th June 1917 when the British Second Army under the command of General Herbert Plumer launched an offensive near the village of Mesen (Messines) in West Flanders, Belgium. The target of the offensive was a ridge running north from Messines village past Wytschaete village which created a natural stronghold southeast of Ypres. One of the key features of the battle was the detonation of 19 mines immediately prior to the infantry assault, a tactic which disrupted German defences and allowed the advancing troops to secure their objectives in rapid fashion.


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The extent and frequency of coal-mining disasters was far less during the twentieth century compared with the Victorian times, especially after the nationalisation of the industry in 1947. Legislation, inspection and knowledge of the main causes of accidents, especially concerning emissions of gas and explosions, combined to reduce the chances of major mishaps. When disasters did occur, an increasingly highly-trained and well-equipped mines rescue service came into action, saving lives, even at the expense of some of their own brave members. Yet through much of the century coal mining continued…

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