La Boisselle, the Somme

It began with an explosion.

Staggering quantities of soil and debris flew into the sky. When the dust had settled, a crater 330 feet wide and 90 feet deep was left behind. In coming days, the blast that had created it would be deemed louder than any man-made noise previously recorded; there were even reports that it had been heard in London, 190 miles away.

The charge had been laid at the Lochnagar mine . . . one of nineteen set in tunnels burrowed under the German lines. They were designed to help the British infantry as they advanced towards the enemy.

Two minutes after the explosion, the advance began . . . Private Seymour and one-hundred thousand of his fellow troops swarmed out of the trenches like ants out of a nest . . .

The Facemaker, p. 108

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