Ravine Tunnels Shaft Entrance

The last traces of the shaft entrance to the ‘Ravine deep’ tunnels. Dug by Canadian tunnellers, this was the entrance to a complex of tunnel and listening posts which ran parallel to the German front line in the direction of the Bluff. Never completed, the intention had been to link the Ravine position by tunnel to the Bluff tunnel complex, with tunnels branching under the German lines for ‘listeners’. Front line troops were nervous of underground sounds, as the Germans had been actively undermining the British front lines.

There had been repeated German mine explosions at the pinch point just west of the Ravine, beginning on 15th October 1915. This killed seven soldiers of the 5th Cameron Highlanders who can be found, buried in a row at Blauwepoort Farm Cemetery. On 9th November, diggers of the 172nd Tunnelling Company discovered further German activity beneath the mine crater, leading Lt. Richard Brisco to enter the German tunnel, encountering German miners and firing his pistol at them. The British prepared an explosive trap should these miners return, but the whole gallery system disappeared on 16th December 1915 when the German Pioniere blew a large mine, leaving a 5 metre deep hole and amalgamating the 15th October crater leaving the double crater seen in the photograph below.

The Ravine double-crater is no longer visible. This part of the Molenbos was ploughed over and used as farm land after the war. The crater is no longer visible in photographs of 1940.

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