The Lochnagar Crater was formed at 7.28am on Saturday, 1st July 1916 – the first day of the Battle of the Somme. It was created by the detonation of a huge mine placed beneath the German front lines and its aim was to destroy a formidable strongpoint called ‘Schwaben Höhe’.
Close to a British trench called Lochnagar Street, tunnellers dug a shaft down about 90 feet deep into the chalk. They then excavated some 300 yards towards the German lines, placing 60,000 lbs (27 tons) of ammonal explosive in two large adjacent underground chambers 60 feet apart. Two minutes before the attack began, the mine was exploded, leaving the massive crater that we see today.
The Lochnager Crater was purchased by Richard Dunning MBE on 1 July 1978. It is the largest crater ever made by man in anger and is now a memorial to all those who suffered in the Great War. It is dedicated to peace, fellowship and reconciliation between all nations who fought on the Western Front.
Year 9 girls visited the crater in September 2016 on their Battlefields Trip and were inspired to enter the competition. They were presented with certificates and prizes in Assembly as a result of entering an excellent selection of work, which achieved three Winners and two Highly Commended.
Olivia B won the competition with her moving account from the perspective of a German soldier and received a prize of £75. Caitlin W was awarded second place for her painting of hands around a poppy, whilst Orla J won third place. Orla’s piece was a soldier’s diary entry describing the days leading up to the first day of the Battle of the Somme. Bella J was highly commended, as was Candice H. The prizes are sponsored annually by Mike and Frances Speakman in memory of their daughter, Angela. When the Lochnagar Website is updated in January 2017, the winning entries will be displayed in the School section.