The Lochnagar Crater is remarkable for many reasons, to this day it is the largest crater ever made by man in anger – but statistically there are many other interesting facts that make Lochnagar both an awe-inspiring and inspirational place.
The Lochnagar mine was the largest of the 17 mines that exploded on 1st of July 1916. It was packed with
(27,216 kilograms or 27.216 tons) of ammonal in two charges 60ft (18 metres) apart and 52 feet (16 metres) below the surface.
330ft across
and 70ft deep
The mine created a crater 330 ft (100.5 metres) across and 70 ft (21 metres) deep, including a lip 15 ft (4.6 metres) high. This is the largest crater made by man in anger in history. To give you some idea of its comparable size: a Jumbo jet is 63 metres long with a wing span of 60 metres (it would easily fit in the crater).
The tunnel was 1,030 ft (314m) long. This was the LONGEST tunnel dug into chalk during the war.
The explosion constituted what was then, the loudest man-made sound in history.
It obliterated between 300 ft (91 metres) and 400 ft (122 metres) of the German dug-outs which are thought to have been full of German troops.
7.28am 1 July 1916
The mine was detonated at 7.28am on the morning of 1 July, 2 minutes before one of the bloodiest battles in history. More men died on the first day of the Battle of the Somme than the total casualty numbers (of both sides) at the Battle of Waterloo.
Debris from the explosion rose some
(1,219 metres) into the air. That is more than three times the height of the Empire State Building which stands at 1,454 ft (443.2 metres) high including its antenna.
The sector was attacked by the 34th Division, a New Army Division consisting of Tyneside Irish, Tyneside Scottish, Lincolnshire, Suffolk and Royal Scots battalions.
The 34th Division lost
officers and men, either killed, wounded or missing – the hardest hit British division on the day. Almost 20,000 died in the assault.
The Crater receives around 200,000 visitors a year and is one of the most visited sites on the Western Front.
Cecil Lewis, then an officer in the Royal Flying Corps, witnessed the explosion of the mine from his aircraft high above La Boisselle and is quoted as saying: “The whole earth heaved and flared, a tremendous and magnificent column rose up into the sky. There was an ear-splitting roar, drowning all the guns, flinging the machine sideways in the repercussing air. The earth column rose higher and higher to almost 4,000 feet.” (1,219 metres)