The Western Front Today - Lochnagar Crater

The Lochnagar Crater, at La Boiselle, is privately owned by Richard Dunning, having been bought in 1978 to save at least one of the original 1 July 1916 Somme craters from being filled in and built upon by local farmers.

There are also several memorials at the site of the crater, including a memorial seat.

An annual ceremony takes place every year at a wooden cross at the crater on 1 July to commemorate the first day of the Somme offensive.

The crater receives around 75,000 visitors a year and is thus one of the most popular sites on the Western Front.

The crater itself was caused by two charges of ammonal, of 24,000lb and 30,000lb.

It was blown along with 16 others at 0728 on the morning of 1 July 1916 as a two-minute precursor to the start of the offensive.  The Lochnagar Crater measured 300ft across and 90ft deep (200ft wide and 81ft deep by 1919).

Debris from the explosion rose some 4,000ft into the air.

After the crater was blown the crater, which was in German hands, was charged by the Tynesiders, without success, for by the time the attack was made following the explosion the Germans had regrouped and repelled the oncoming British.

However the Worcesters took the area around the crater two days later on 3 July.

Film Footage of Lochnagar Crater (1)

Film Footage of Lochnagar Crater (2)

Before Endeavours Fade, Rose E.B. Coombs, After the Battle 1994
Major & Mrs Holt's Battlefield Guide - Ypres Salient, Leo Cooper 2000

A "box barrage" was an artillery bombardment centred upon a small area.

- Did you know?