94 years ago a deluge of mud engulfed the space when an allied shell exploded nearby and caused a cave in. 34 men were killed instantly. German soldiers were able to extricate some of the bodies, but for more than 2 generations, the bodies of 21 men lay entombed and forgotten.
But now archaeologists liken the site to Pompeii because the catastrophe was so quick and complete it left the site exceptionally well preserved. A 300 foot-long section has been excavated including the shelter which housed 500 men and had 16 exits.
The bodies are all from the 6th Company, 94th Reserve Infantry Regiment and have all been identified, their ages ranging from 20-37 and their names are already recorded on a war memorial just over the German border in the town of Illfurth. Unless relatives are found who wish to claim the bodies, the men will also be buried in Illfurth.
In addition to the bodies, they have discovered all manner of personal effects, from wallets to drinking glasses. Archaeologists have even discovered the remains of a goat, which they believe was kept by the men to provide fresh milk.
I don’t know if it’s just a ghoulish part of me, but I found this discovery fascinating, macabre, and infinitely sad. Almost as if a little hole has been torn in time, allowing us to peek back at what was both a pivotal point for the entire globe and a very intimate, very small tragedy, effecting 21 men and their families.
165,000 soldiers are still unaccounted for on the Western Front.
Read more here.
I'm left longing to know more about these men and their stories. How did this discovery make you feel?
Influenced by books like The Secret Garden and The Little Princess, Lisa Karon Richardson’s early books were heavy on boarding schools and creepy houses. Now that she’s (mostly) all grown-up she still loves a healthy dash of adventure and excitement in any story she creates, even her real-life story. She’s been a missionary to the Seychelles and Gabon and now that she and her husband are back in America, they are tackling a brand new adventure, starting a daughter-work church in a new city. Her first novella, Impressed by Love, part of the Colonial Courtships collection, is coming in October, 2012 followed shortly thereafter by The Magistrate’s Folly in November.