'Ten seconds, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one - fire! Down goes the firing switch. At first, thing. Then from deep down there comes a low rumble, and it as if the world is spliting apart...' On 7th June 1917, nineteen massive mines exploded beneath Messines Ridge near Ypres. The largest man-made explosion in history up until that point shattered the landscape and smashed open the German lines. Ten thousand German soldiers died. Two of the mines - at Hill 60 and the Caterpillar - were fired by men of the 1st Australian Tunnelling Company, comprising miners and engineers rather than parade-ground soldiers. Drawing on the diaries of one of the key combatants, Benealth Hill 60 tells the little-kwn, devastatingly brutal true story of this subterranean war waged beneath the Western Front - a stygian battle-ground where men drowned in viscous chalk, suffocated in the blue gray clay, choked on poisous air or died in the darkness, caught up up in vicious hand-to-hand fighting...
Will Davies is an historian and film-maker. He edited the war diaries of E P F Lynch into the acclaimed and bestselling memoir Somme Mud, and wrote its companion volume, In the Footseps of Private Lynch. He lives in Sydney.
Transworld Publishers Ltd
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Bantam Books (Transworld Publishers a division of the Random House Group)