Brian Pascas


This article explores the Canadian tunnelling companies’ military mining organisation and accomplishments in underground galleries during the Great War. This comprehensive study explains the crucial role played by the Canadian engineers, in conjunction with British and Australian engineers, in the successful detonation of nineteen deep mines at Messines Ridge, Belgium on 7 June 1917. The tunnellers’ perseverance and skill were evident that morning when they slammed home plungers and threw switches igniting the largest planned explosion up to that time. However, daily hardships and dangers of underground warfare from the claustrophobic environment to the stress from the eavesdropping enemy led to disciplinary action including Field Punishment No. 1.