Historians fight plans to turn bloody WWI battlefield into housing development






They fought the enemy underground in a warren of tunnels as one of the bloodiest battles of World War I raged above them.

At about 3pm on December 19, 1915, the group of five miners working 80ft below no-man’s land near La Boisselle on the Western Front became the battle’s latest victims.

Now, as Remembrance Day approaches, a group of historians are calling for the site to be preserved as a memorial to the fallen men – in the face of pressure to develop it for housing.

Among the men killed that fateful day was William Arthur Lloyd, a 37-year-old bar manager, from Wrexham, who was entombed with his colleagues in the tunnel when 28,000kg of explosives blasted them into oblivion.

The Germans had been digging their own tunnels – often the opposing sides came so close they could hear each other working – and had detonated their charge before the British miners.

Historian Simon Jones, of the La Boisselle Study Group, says many other French battlefields along the Western Front have been re-developed, but local landowners the Lejeune family are determined to preserve this site....




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