The Vampir Dugout - Channel 4 - 10/11/08 @2100 hrs

Just a headsup for those who were on the ARRSE Ypres tour earlier in the year and got into the Vampir Dugout. The documentary covering the finding, excavation and exploration of the Dugout is going out on UK Channel 4 on the 10/11/08 at 2100 hrs UK time.

For those who werent there but are interested, it was an amazing project to be part of, giving us a mini porthole into the work of a WW1 tunneller in the Ypres Salient.


I cannot get Channel 4 over here. Anyone making a copy of it?
I will upload it to youtube - be in about 9 parts


Just watched.

Put a lot more meat onto what we saw down there.
I watched this last night, fascinating. I was wondering if anyone actually cleared the whole dug out at any time or is it in the same condition as shown at the end of the programme. I thought this was a fascinating insight into the world of the WW1 squaddie. What was more interesting was the additional pay and respect given to the tunnelers, not the best of jobs at the worst of times. I would have thought and they must have been gutted to have to down tools and just walk away before it was finished. Good on you all lads for a job well done.
This website may be of interest to some-

I liked the way the Belgian bloke called everyone out of Vampire because of the 1st collapse and it mysteriously got washed out and cleared when nobody was about.
Done a bit of work in re-shoring mine levels and the like myself, its hairy work at best but in truth the 2nd collapse is diggable and the rest of the bunker should be accesable.
Stunningly well built piece of engineering


I believe the main reason it had to be left was one of cost.
No doubt FM can give us a heads up on that one.
Good Job, by the way, FM finding the family of the CSM.
Why can't the RE go and finish it off? They go build foot bridges and Aviaries in Scotland etc., so this would be a good use of their skills.
enjoyed the show. would hope that someone else comes up with some dosh to reopen the thing and get past that blockage.

I liked the way the Belgian bloke called everyone out of Vampire because of the 1st collapse and it mysteriously got washed out and cleared when nobody was about.
I thought that was so suss - 'washed out' my arrse especially when they actually went on to say that the only way for water to get into the dugout was down the shaft or the stairs due to the heavy clay ... should have watched the Belgian engineers face to see if he was grinning.


Mr_Deputy said:
very impressive structure indeed.
I was watching when they saw the branding on the steel rail tracks used as braces - Mersey Steel and the German firm Krupps were moulded clear as a bell.
Rail tracks, steel plate and wood kept the whole thing strong as can be it would seem.
The whole place is soo well preserved. Those of us who went down were equally impressed by the steel being like that.
The tin of bullybeef was really spooky sat as it was on a spar.
The leather hose for the pump was in excellent condition as well.
Taffnp said:
Just uploaded the programme to youtube if anyone missed it 8 parts
Much appreciated Taff - I just finished watching them on YouTube. It brings a perspective to WW1 that I didn't have, in that I had a mental image of rough surface trenches as portrayed on TV or cinema. Amazing workmanship in the bunker and it was fascinating to see what others have reported seeing in person. Is the bunker now opened further beyond what was in the documentary?

Great job and thanks again!
I watched this last night and I was glued to the tv for an hour and a half. What a brilliant programme!

I couldnt stop thinking how dangerous it must have been doing the job back then in those conditions. Especially when the crew digging the place out lastnight had all the up to date gear and were still finding it hard going.

Must have been a gutting feeling when they got ordered to abandon the task. I know from tasks Ive been part of on tour that you get a determined feeling and want to see it through and complete the job no matter how big/small or important it is.

Was good also that they managed to track down the grandson of one of the men who had worked there. Was interesting to note he went on to serve throughout WW2 aswell with the corps. Nails Bloke!

Certainly puts into perspective, for me, the job those lads done. One thing I noticed was, the shovels they found looked near-on exact as the ones still issued and carried by the G10 for men. Had me hands on one of those bad boys more than once, but not to dig anything as massive as the Vampire Dugout! Maybe just a MEXE shelter or mortar pit!

Would be good to see the team back down there and get to the rest of the dugout in the future.
Its a shame it didn't mention the sometimes furious skirmishes that took place underground when each side would try and take out the other side's tunnels by digging in to them. Must have been a bit harsh on the nerves sometimes, the gas threat too.
Hi All,

I have just got back home after a very busy few days commemorating the 90th anniversary of the armistice here in Ypres. We dont get C4 here in Ypres so many thanks to Taff for putting this onto You tube. It was the most amazing historical project I have ever wotked on. The level of the Tunnellers workmanship was amazing. I spent a total of 67 days at the dugout site, everytime I decended the shaft and walked the dugout I was in complete awe of these men. I am itching to know what their large dugout complexes are like here under Flanders......who knows maybe a future project!!
The future for the Vampir dugout is this: A full report on the dugout has been submitted to the Belgian authorities for them to make a decision. It would be nice to open it for the future, but this is just a dream at the moment.
More work was carried out on the dugout over the Armistice period. The field now has to be handed back to the farmer. The dugout will refill with water within a few days, this is the best preservative. The team hopes to be back at the dugout in the future.

There will be a 2 x 1 hour documentary on the dugout going out on the history channel soon. It will differ to the C4 documentary. I will let you all know, when I know, when the programme will be aired.

Best regards


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