Undergroung City

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by finnjim, Mar 3, 2008.

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  1. Picked this one up in the Daily Mail, WW1 buffs may find it of interest.
    Now you can visit the secret underground WW1 city built by British Tommies
    Last updated at 01:15am on 3rd March 2008

    An underground city where thousands of British soldiers were housed in the First World War has been partly rebuilt and opened to visitors.

    Situated deep beneath the town of Arras in the Artois region of France, it was used to protect up to 24,000 troops from constant German artillery bombardment.

    Ten miles of tunnels linked a command centre, dormitories, kitchens and even a hospital.

    Going underground: Visitors can now explore the facility which housed up to 24,000 troops

    The area was already riddled with mine shafts and cellars, some dating back to the Middle Ages, when British High Command ordered the "secret city of Arras" to be created.

    Miners from the North of England and Londoners who had built the Underground were joined by Maoris on the 18-month project.

    A surprise attack on German lines was launched from the underground city on April 9, 1917 but it ended in stalemate after casualties reached 4,000 a day.

    Sweetheart: This soldier's wife or girlfriend is one of thousands of examples of graffiti in the underground city

    The area was sealed until local authorities raised £3million to reopen sections as a tribute to fallen troops.

    From next Saturday, visitors will descend 70ft by glass lift into the Carrière Wellington Museum, which contains artefacts including helmets, bullets removed during operations - and 3,000 examples of graffiti.