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Kruisstraat Cabaret Mines

The Kruisstraat mines were begun by 250 Tunnelling Company in late December 1915. The shaft was sunk in the remains of a thicket just off Kingsway communication trench that led to the British front line at D.5 opposite the Germans at Kruisstraat.

Linesman map showing the German trenches and earlier mining craters.

In early 1916 182 Tunnelling Company took over the work when the shaft was only a few feet down. The 3rd Canadian Tunnelling Company took over the work three weeks later and by the end of January 1916 the shaft was down 66 feet, including a sump, and 50 feet of gallery had been driven. The Canadians continued the work until mid-April, when they had taken the drive to 1,051 feet, and were relieved by 175 Tunnelling Company who continued the work until June 1916. At 1,605 feet No.1 charge was chambered and 30,000 lbs of ammonal was made ready, A further drive of 166 feet to the right of the gallery and No.2 charge was chambered and a further 30,000 lbs of ammonal was made ready.

The original plan was for two mines at Kruisstraat however, a further objective was decided on in the German third line. As 171 Tunnelling Company drove the gallery forward water poured into the gallery through a fissure in the gallery floor and this necessitated a sump being created to drain off the water and pump it out. On the 25 August 1916 the new drive had reached its objective some half mile from the main shaft and a chamber was created and 30,000 lbs of ammonal placed under the German third line.

The Kruisstraat Tunnel, at 2,160 feet, was the longest of all the mine Tunnels. There now followed a long period of maintenance of the mines until February 1917 when a German camouflet caused some damage and flooding of one of the mines. The tunnellers cut a new chamber and added 19,500 lbs of ammonal. There were now three mines one of 49,000lbs and two of 30,000 lbs of ammonal. The mines were ready by 9 May 1917.

Major Henry Hudspeth, commanding 171 TC, proposed that the advanced mine be detonated a few seconds after the first two in order to catch the Germans retreating. This was rejected by Major-General C.H. Harington, 2nd Army Chief of Staff as he feared that the detonation would blow up the advancing British infantry. The three mines were fired simultaneously.

Linesman map showing the crater location.

Today, there are only two of three mine craters remaining.

The two remaining craters. Now used for private fishing. Authors images.

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