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Tours of WW1 - Spanbroekmolen Mine Crater

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In 1914 Spanbroekmolen was the site of a windmill.

At the end of the First Battle of Ypres in November 1914 the German Front Line was established in this location on the high ground of the Messines Ridge.

Between then and 7th June 1917 the Germans spent a year and a half developing well-established positions here with concrete bunkers and strong defensive positions.

The mine at Spanbroekmoelen was started by 171st Tunneling Company, Royal Engineers, on 1st January. Six months later the mine was finished. To celebrate the mine's completion two officers made their way into the chamber with four bottles of champagne and drinking glasses. The main charge for the mine was made up of 50 LB (pound) boxes of ammonol, totalling 90,000 lbs (pounds).

The main charge was finally completed on 28th June 1916 and officially completed, according to the War Diary, on 1st July 1916.

The attack on Messines Ridge had been planned since January 1916.

However, it had to be delayed to June 1917, because of the Germans offensives at Verdun and the Somme.

Once blown, the mine left a 75m wide by over 12m deep crater, and the detonation destroyed the German lines.

The site is now a memorial called the "Pool of Peace".

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