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World War One (Tunnels)

14 Jun 2016

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Where can I find information about the tunnels that were made during World War One?

LEVEL: Intermediate / Secondary

During World War One many tunnels were made along the Western Front. Both sides dug tunnels as they extensively mined and countermined in an effort to get past the enemies' defences. New Zealanders were involved in this especially in the Arras region of France. There is lots of information about this online.

A good place to go for an overview of the tunnelling operations is the Long Long Trail website. This contains the history of the British Army
in the 1914-1918 war. The section on tunnelling companies has maps showing the main areas of tunnelling activity. It also lists the companies involved and where they worked. The BBC history website has a video of archaeologists excavating World War One tunnels.

The New Zealand Government's website for the World War One centenary has an article on the Arras tunnels with maps showing where New Zealanders worked. NZHistory is another website with a large article on the Arras tunnels.

HOT TIP: We like sites that are from government or other reputable organisations, because we can trust the information. You can tell these sites by their web address - they have .gov, .edu or .org in their address.

Another website which may be of interest is the New Zealand Tunnelling Company's website.  This has a section on their history during World War One from before they left New Zealand in 1915 until they returned. There is also a website called New Zealand tunnellers which has photos and is trying to provide biographical information on each of the men involved.

HOT TIP: Websites that have .com or .co in the address can have good information, but you need to assess how reliable it is. Check the ‘about us’ or 'contact us' link on the website, if you can find one. That can tell you what the company’s mission and values are.

We have a number of other entries on ManyAnswers around World War One that are worth a look.

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