19th July 1915 (Monday)


BORN TODAY: The famous crater at Hooge:

At 7pm on 19th July 1915, a large mine was exploded by 175th Tunnelling Company [British] Royal Engineers, under a German trench position. The spoil from the detonation threw up a lip 15 feet high, around a crater 20 feet deep and 120 feet wide. After the firing, it was immediately occupied by two Companies of the 4th Middlesex (8th Brigade, 3rd Division). British artillery quelled all signs of German attempts to recover the crater.

German retaliation came on 30th July 1915. The Hooge sector was being held by 41st Brigade of 14th Division, which had taken over the area only a week before. The 8th Rifle Brigade held the near crater lip, with the 7th KRRC on their right, across the road. These battalions had relieved the others of the Brigade during the night. At 3.15am, with dramatic suddenness, the ruins of the Stables were blown up, and jets of flame shot across from the German trenches. This was the first time in warfare that liquid fire flamethrowers had been used by the Germans against the British. Immediately a deluge of fire of all kinds fell on the Brigade, and on all support positions back to Zouave Wood and Sanctuary Wood. The ramparts of Ypres and the exits from the town were also shelled.”




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