Webmatters Title
Webmatters : Mesen: The Mines of 7th June 1917
Rough Map of Area

Mesen

The Mines

The following table is intended to give an idea of the scale of work undertaken by Major Norton Griffiths and those under his command. The details have been taken from the Official History.

Some of the galleries by necessity had to start 450 metres behind the British front line before pushing out towards the German emplacements. The total length of the tunnels could be anywhere from 400 metres to almost 700 metres for the longest at Kruisstraat. Some were not simple single tunnels but branched to form a number of chambers each filled with an average of 18,000 kilos of explosives.

The Messines Mines from North to South

Name Completed Depth
(Metres)
Charge
(Kilos)
Gallery
(Metres)
Crater
(Metres)
Hill 60 Group
A Left 01 08 16 27 24,236 73* 87
B Caterpillar 18 10 16 31 31,710 421 116
St Eloi 28 05 17 38 43,306 409 101
Hollandscheschuur Group
No 1 20 06 16 18 15,492 252 105
No 2 11 07 16 16 6,749 14* 65
No 3 20 08 16 16 7,927 120 61
Petit Bois Group
No 2 Left 15 08 16 17 13,590 64* 127
No 1 Right 30 07 16 21 13,590 631 114
Maedelstede Farm 02 06 17 31 42,582 491 117
Peckham 19 07 16 21 39,411 349 101
Spanbroekmolen 28 06 16 27 41,223 522 131
Kruisstraat Group
No 1 and No 4 11 04 17 17 22,473   120
No 2 12 07 16 19 13,620 52* 112
No 3 23 08 16 15 13,620 659 101
Ontario Farm 06 06 17 32 27,180 393 67
Trench 127 Group
No 7 Left 20 04 16 23 16,308 76* 71
No 8 Right 09 05 16 23 22,650 413 104
Trench 122 Group
No 5 Left 14 05 16 18 9,060 134* 99
No 6 Right 11 06 16 23 18,120 296 109
  *Gallery is a branch off the main tunnel

If it took a man an hour to advance a gallery 30 centimetres then it would have taken over 16,000 man hours to dig the nearly five and a half kilometres of tunnels.

If the gallery was 170 cm high and 70 cm wide, that would make approximately 6,500 cubic metres of clay to be brought to the surface and hidden away from the prying eyes of German pilots.

The total weight of explosives used amounts to 431,700 kilos.