Were the mines exploded on the first day of the Battle of the Somme, a success? The official historian when writing on the 7 large and 11 small mines that were fired on 1 July 1916 at the start of the battle of the Somme, stated: '….they were too much scattered up and down the front to produce a noticeable effect'.
How many men were killed by the explosion?
We will never know for sure although in the 1980s a veteran recalled entering German dugouts close to the south-west corner of the site. Inside were scores of seated German soldiers all killed by concussion from the explosion. The dugouts were sealed and remain there still.
The Crater itself was used as a temporary resting place immediately after the battle with many hundreds of bodies placed in it before re-burial elsewhere. Inevitably, with the constant heavy shellfire focused on the Crater some bodies were covered by debris and are there to this day. In 1999 the remains of Private George Nugent of the Tyneside Scottish Northumberland Fusiliers were disinterred and today a small cross commemorates him and the countless others at Lochnagar who have no known grave.
Yet more lives were lost when the Crater was fought over again in the Second Battle of the Somme in 1918.
The crater that was left behind has a diameter of 91 metres. Two full-sized football pitches would fit in side by side.
Its' depth is 21 metres. Six double decker buses would fit in on top of each other.
A postcard produced just after the war
The Friends of Lochnagar was founded in 1989 to assist with the long term aims for the Lochnagar Crater, which are:
* To care for it and maintain it in its natural unspoilt state.
* To ensure that it is never exploited for commercial gain.
* To create an annual ceremony on the anniversary to honour the memory of those of both sides who fell there.
* To preserve and share with its growing number of visitors the unique atmosphere of peace, reconciliation and remembrance that is always there.
A plan of the Crater site, move the mouse over the text for more information