The ‘Pompeii’ of the Western Front: Archaeologists find the bodies of 21 tragic World War One German soldiers in perfectly preserved trenches where they were buried alive by an Allied shell

  • Men were killed when a huge Allied shell exploded above the tunnel in eastern France in 1918, causing it to cave in
  • Engineers find trench network 18ft beneath the surface near town of Carspach while excavating for a new road
  • Scene likened to Pompeii after skeletal remains found in same positions the men had been in at the time of the collapse

Archaeologists also uncovered the wooden sides, floors and stairways of the shelter.

The dead soldiers were part of the 6th Company, 94th Reserve Infantry Regiment.

Their names are all known – they include Musketeer Martin Heidrich, 20, Private Harry Bierkamp, 22, and Lieutenant August Hutten, 37, whose names are inscribed on a memorial in the nearby German war cemetery of Illfurth.

The bodies have been handed over to the German War Graves Commission but unless relatives can be found and they request the remains to be repatriated, it is planned that the men will be buried at Illfurth.

The underground tunnel was big enough to shelter 500 men and had 16 exits.

It would have been equipped with heating, telephone connections, electricity, beds and a pipe to pump out water.

The French attacked the shelter on March 18, 1918 with aerial mines that penetrated the ground and blasted in the side wall of the shelter in two points.

It is estimated that over 165,000 Commonwealth soldiers are still unaccounted for on the Western Front.

These men should be laid to rest with all due honours and solemnities.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2099187/Bodies-21-German-soldiers-buried-alive-WW1-trench-perfectly-preserved-94-years-later.html#ixzz1mCRU2YYi

 

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