28 Septembre : L’avance Allemande sur Albert des 119° et 120° régiments allemands est arrêtée par les 64ème et 137ème régiments d’infanterie français. Les Allemands occupent  La Boisselle  et la ferme située à la lisière sud-est du village, connue sous le nom de l’Ilôt, ou Granathof.

8 Octobre : l’attaque allemande sur Bécourt échoue.

Fin Novembre : Les allemands commencent à miner le terrain en direction de Granathof.

Novembre- Décembre : Les Français creusent en direction et s’approchent à 3 mètres de Granathof.

17 Décembre : L’attaque par les 19ème et 118ème régiments d’Infanterie Français au Nord de la Boisselle échoue sous l’intensité du feu des 119ème et 120ème régiments allemands, mais le 118ème RI français s’empare  et occupe le cimetière du village.

24 Décembre : Les Français bombardent intensément La Boisselle et les 19ème et 118ème , 62ème and 64ème Régiments attaquent et s’emparent de Granathof. Le  64ème Régiment est arrêté dans La Boisselle par une mitrailleuse allemande dissimulée dans la crypte de l’Eglise et obligé de battre en retraite

25 Décembre : La compagnie  11/4  du 6ème régiment de Génie commence à creuser quatre puits de mine dans Granathof

27 Décembre : Le  120° Régiment  allemand tente de reprendre Granathof mais il en est empêché par les 64ème et 118ème régiments d’infanterie Français19th

De Fin Décembre à Mars 1915 : Les allemands transforment la Boisselle en forteresse, après réception de 5000 wagons de matériel, et presque 60000 sacs de sable



2 Janvier : Les Allemands mettent à feu une mine en direction de Granathof, mais   placée par erreur sous leurs propres tranchées

5 Janvier: Les allemands provoquent une explosion de mine sous les lignes françaises, causant peu de dégâts

8 Janvier : Une attaque allemande en vue de reprendre Granathof échoue.

10 Janvier : Les Français font exploser une mine et attaquent. Les allemands repoussent cette attaque à la suite de combats acharnés.

14-15 Janvier : Une attaque allemande en vue de reprendre Granathof échoue.

Mi-Janvier :  Les allemands commencent à creuser des abris  5-7m sous terre pour abriter les troupes.

18 Janvier:  Les allemands attaquent Granathof et détruisent partiellement les caves et les puits de mine

7 Février :  Les allemands font exploser une charge de 2500kg détruisant les caves et les puits de mines.  Huit sapeurs-mineurs  Français se trouvent ensevelis, et leurs corps ne pourront pas être remontés.

4 Mars : Le Lieutenant Dohollou, du 19ème Regiment, commandant la Compagnie  11/2 bis, est mortellement blessé en construisant une tranchée qui portera désormais son nom.

10 Mars : Les français font exploser une mine au Nord Est de Granathof .

26 Mars :  Les Français font sauter deux mines de respectivement 2600kg and 1000kg. L’attaque échoue également.

31 Juillet : Les troupes Britanniques arrivent à La Boisselle, 1/7° les Black Watch reprennent les tranchées du 19° Régiment d’infanterie Français.

17 Août : La 179° Compagnie de tunneliers arrive à La Boisselle,  et travaille en même temps que la compagnie 11/3 du 6° régiment de génie Français jusqu’à son départ le 22 du même mois.

26 Septembre : La 179° Compagnie de tunneliers, tue accidentellement 8 soldats Britanniques en mettant à feu une mine et ne pourront pas remonter les corps.

13 Octobre : Les troupes Britanniques donnent le nom de « Glory Hole » au secteur de La Boisselle.

17 Octobre : Un ingénieur des mines professionnel est envoyé pour commander la 179 compagnie de tunneliers aux lieu et place d’un officier régulier des « Royal Engineers ».

3 Novembre :  La 185° compagnie de tunneliers parvient à reprendre l’Est du réseau de galeries souterraines de La Boisselle.

11 Novembre : Commencement de travaux de construction d’un nouveau souterrain dans  Lochnagar Street par la 185° compagnie de tunneliers.

20 Novembre : Un puits creusé par la 179° compagnie de tunneliers atteint la nappe phréatique à une profondeur de 36 mètres.

22 Novembre : Une  mine allemande tue 6 hommes de la 179° compagnie de tunneliers  et 7 Hommes du 10° régiment d’Essex.

9 Décembre : La 179° Compagnie de tunneliers fait exploser une mine de 4082Kg.




2 Janvier :  La 179° Compagnie de tunnelier, fait exploser une charge de 4536Kg et une autre de 5443Kg.

4 Février :  Les allemands font exploser un camouflet de 2000Kgs contre la 185° compagnie de tunneliers, tuant par suite d’émanation de monoxide de carbone, deux officiers dont leur commandant, et 16 hommes.

14 Février: La185° compagnie de tunneliers, fait exploser des  mines de 6.530Kg, 2268kg and 5443kg.

1 Mars : La 185° compagnie de tunneliers est envoyée à Arras, et 179° Compagnie reprend tout le secteur.

27 Mars :  Le 1er bataillon de régiment du Dorset attaquent sans succès  le 110ème régiment de réserve allemand à Y sap au Nord de la Boisselle. Les allemands ayant été avertis battent en retraite; les Dorsets perdent un officier et trois de leurs hommes sont tués.

10 Avril : Les allemands font exploser des mines de  5000 kg et  6075kg  tuant un Officier et deux hommes de la 179° compagnie de Tunneliers.

11 Avril : Le 110° régiment de réserve allemand attaque avec succès le 1er bataillon de fusilliers Royal Irlandais au sud de La Boisselle, tuant un officier et 9 Hommes.

4 Juin : Le 110° régiment de réserve allemand attaque par deux fois le 21° bataillon de fusilliers  du Northumberland  au sud de La Boisselle sans succès la première fois, tuant cinq hommes, mais en perdant cinq, avec succès la seconde fois, faisant 17 prisonniers.

5 Juin : 24° et  26° fusilliers Northumberland Fusiliers attaquent les tranchées allemandes mais ne parviennent pas à faire de prisonniers.

24 Juin : Les Britanniques entament les préparatifs du  bombardement préalable  à  la battaille de la Somme.

26 Juin : Les Britanniques attaquent au gaz au moyen de 632 cylindres de part et d’autre du Glory Hole .  Les 24° and 26° Fusillers du Northumberland attaquent les tranchées allemandes, mais ne parviennent à faire aucun prisonnier.

1er Juillet : 7.28am  La 179° Compagnie de tunelliers met à feu quatre mines : une au « Y Sap » de  18144kg,  deux  au  « Glory Hole » de 3629kg chacun et une  à Lochnagar de 27215kg.

1er Juillet : 7.30am L’Infanterie Britannique attaque au Nord de la rivière Somme. Attaque Français à partir de frontière avec British à la rivière Somme. A La Boisselle la 34th Division subit 6 380 pertes humaines, mais but ne réussit pas à reprendre la Boisselle.

4  Juillet : La Boisselle est reprise par la 19ème division Britannique.

17 Responses to Timeline

  1. My Great Uncle Willie Millar was taken prisoner during the attack of the 36th (Ulster) Division on 1st July 1916 towards the Schwaben Redoubt. Willie and his pal also called Willie stopped (against strict orders) in a fold of ground to dig out a man buried a few seconds earlier by a large shell and who was frantically waving one arm sticking out from the soil. As they pulled him free a party of Germans descended on them and, as they were technically unarmed at that moment, elected to take them prisioner. He spent the rest of the war in a POW camp somewhere in Germany where by gathering waste scraps of wool he managed to knit a huge jumper (which is still in the family) to help keep warm during the three winters of his captivity. He and his pal Willie both lived into their nineties but his youngest brother David was blown to bits in April 1918 on Kemmel Hill near Ypres Belgium after only 5 days out and is commerated on the memorial to the missing at the rear of Tyne Cot Cemetry, Panel 138 to 140. Finally my Dundonian Grandfather b. 1888 who joined the second battalion Black Watch in 1907 and was on foreign service in India at the outbreak of war was wounded at the battle of Neuve Chapelle in 1915 recovered in a Camp set up by Lord O’Neill near Randalstown in Northern Ireland and met my Grandmother at the camp Post Office. He died in 1966.

  2. Hi,
    My great uncle Samuel Horne 35yrs was reported missing on July 16th 1916 in Ovillers. Reported killed in action by July 18th. He was in 1/5 Warwickshire regt. His name is on Thiepval memorial. Family tales mention that he was fetching water for his comrades. I am due to visit the area on the weekend of 16/07/2016, staying in Bapaume. Does anyone have any ideas exactly where he may have fallen, and any theory on the water carrying please? Any extra info will be of great help.
    Regards jason 01/07/2016

  3. My great uncle Percy Victor Harper was killed on 1st July 2016; I am trying to find out where the 11th Battalion of the Suffolk Regiment may have actually been on that awful day. Many thanks, Philip.

  4. I am a direct descendant of Sgt. Arthur Finney, 179th Tunnel Coy. In my family treasures I have a disarmed detonator from a delayed reaction mine which my grandfather disarmed at Raches Railway Station during WW1.I also have his D.C.M. that he was awarded with for this action. Arthur is interned at Woronora Cemetery, Sydney, Australia. Does anyone have more information on this event or happenings of the 179th Tunnel Coy?
    Thank you Barry Finney

  5. My father Alexander Vinycomb service number 1942414 had been a tin miner and was a lance corporal in the 185th tunneling company. He died in 1943 soon after I was born and is listed by the War Graves Commission as having been awarde the Military Medal. I would like to find his citation for this. Can anyone help me or give me more information about him.

    many thanks


  6. My Great Grandfather and his bother both served in the Great war. Both were employed at the Francis Colliery at the outbreak of the war, John Paterson was a shafts-man and Hugh (my Great Grandfather) was a miner.
    Both brothers were mobilised with the Territorial Army, Black Watch 1/7. John was gassed during a rescue attempt when a non-commissioned officer and a private fell down a shaft, for this John would later receive the Distinguished Conduct Medal. After recovering for the gassing in hospital John was later transfer to the Royal Field Artillery. He was killed in action on25th April 1918.
    John was the first soldier in the 1/7 Black watch (Fifes Own) to be decorated with the Distinguished Conduct Medal.

  7. it also shows the date 1st July 1916 this may well be the date that WH BLADON died.

  8. I am ex military and have been asked by a friend who as found in the attic of his father who died recently an old English/French dictionary from 1914 1918 in this dictionary the following details are written==sapper WH BLADON NO 19914 179 TUNNEL COMPANY RE AND THE NAME OF MAMMETZ WOOD (WHICH IS MISPELT) my friend would love to find any living relatives of this person in order to pass this book onto them please help

  9. My great uncle George Moody from Yorkshire (a coal miner) was in the 179th tunnelling company. He died in July 1917 and is buried in Flanders. His widow (my great aunt) was like a second grandmother to me as she did not remarry. My paternal grandmother was her younger sister. I have his photograph and a button from his uniform. He was born in Yorkshire but enlisted in the Cameronians (rifles) at York. I knew nothing about him until started researching him for my son who is doing WWI in History in school and will be visiting Flanders in 2014 with school. Any other information about his service would be of great interest to us.

  10. re walter deas from leslie fife scotland of the 179th tunneling company i was in leslie the other day and was wondering if you would like photos of the war memorial and the area where walter lived pre 1914 im afraid that the house was demolished in the 1980s and flats were built on the site but the houses on the other side of the road are still there. yours etc dave ramsay

  11. My paternal grandfather, b. 1869 in Tipton, Staffordshire, was among those tunnelling underground in the Somme. He, like many survivors, was reluctant to discuss the 1914-18 war. How does one find out more about the activities of ancestors involved in those terrible events? I know his name, rank and number but little else of his war service.
    One tale that survives is of him being underground with his team and hearing his dead mother’s voice repeatedly, with increasing urgency, telling him to get his men out. This he did, to be confronted by a passing officer demanding to know why he had brought his men to the surface – at least, into a trench – before the end of their shift. As he drew breath and tried desperately to think of an explanation that might satisfy the officer, there was a mighty explosion and clouds of smoke and debris came from the mouth of the tunnel into the trench. « Ah! Very good Serjeant, carry on! »

  12. I discovered this website whilst researching my wife’s grandfathers uncles WW1 service. Joseph Hynes was one of four brothers that served in the great war, two brothers were killed and two badly wounded. The Hynes brothers lived and worked in the mining community of Lochgelly in Fife, Scotland. Three of the brothers joined ‘The Black Watch’ and another joined ‘The Cameronians’ (Scottish Rifles) but only Joseph was transferred from his original regiment to 179th Tunneling Company Royal Engineers.


    Lochgelly, Fifeshire
    Black Watch 1/7
    WD 13/3/16 4.30pm during relief of shifts a trench mortar bomb burst amongst B Section party near S4 shaft head killing [Hynes & Farrington & wounding Young (DoW) Firth & Ballantyne].. 179 Coy WD 14/3/16: 3.20pm buried Albert Military Cemetery.
    Albert Communal Cemetery Extension I.A.28.
    I discovered that Joseph’s Black Watch battalion was posted to La Boiselle in 1916 and have considered that as a professional miner before enlisting he and probably many more of the Battalion were transferred to the tunnelling company. I confirmed that his brother died at Neuve Chapelle almost a year earlier but I as of yet have been unable to find any records of the remaining ‘Black Watch’ brothers service records and if they were involved with The Tunnelling Companies.

    Your website is an excellent source of background information which has been lacking regarding the exploits of these courageous men.
    I will be following your work frequently.


    • Hi, my name is David Ramsay. My great granduncle Walter Deas from Leslie, Fife, Scotland also served in the Black Watch, reg. no 2557 and transferred in the field to 179th Tunnelling Company Royal Engineers, reg. no 137549.

      Walter is remembered on the Leslie war memorial beside the the Green Hotel as you enter the town from Glenrothes. The tunnellers were paid six shillings per week whilst the standard pay for Royal Engineers was two shillings and sixpence per week.

      Walter died 02/09/1917 and was buried at Bard Cottage Cemetery, West Vlaanderen, Belgium 03/09/1917.

      Dave Ramsay

    • my great granduncle walter deas was a miner in 1914 and originally served in the 1/7th black watch. enlisting on the outbreak of the war and served for one year. he then transferred in the field to 179th tunneling company. serving until his death in september 1917. walters numbers were black watch (2557) and royal engineers (137549)

      yours etc dave ramsay

  13. I came to your site via research for my Uncle who was with the 10th Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment at the start of the first battle of the Somme. According to records from war diaries for the Gloucestershire Regiment he was in the First Division and the most likely event that preceded his death from wounds would be the activities from Mametz around July 4th 1916 to La Boiselle and Contalmaison or the Bazentine Ridge July 14th to July 17th 1916. My Uncle was taken from the battlefield to a military hospital on the Normandy coast, died of his injuries July 17th 1916 and is buried at Mont Huon Military Cemetery, Le Treport.

    Is there any documented evidence available from the excavations that tell us what happened at La Boiselle and can any of your research indicate what happened to soldiers advancing there ?

    I want to visit the sites connected with my Uncle’s WW1 service. Is La Boiselle a place of interest for such a visit ? Many thanks J.Clare

  14. has any television company done any documentary coverage

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