|We will remember them
(Extracts from ANZAC Day presentation, 2008)
Miners at War
written for Quarrying & Mining magazine
A Tunneller's grandson tells his story
Committee member Mike Roycroft tells the story of his grandfather
The Caves of Arras
Thames Star 1917
Good War Service
Evening Post 1919
Most Frightful Fight Ever Seen
Wanganui Chronicle 1917
The New Zealand Tunnelling Company
Maori Television 2010
Unit War Diary, Arras
Nov 1916-April 1917
Good War Service.
Evening Post, Volume XCVII, Issue 99, 29 April 1919, Page 11
GOOD WAR SERVICE
DOMINION TUNNELLERS' RECORD
A fine record of war service attaches to the New Zealand Tunnelling Corps, the remaining members of which arrived in Auckland by the lonic last week.
The corps left Auckland on 20th December, 1915, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel J. E. Duigan. It was fitted out at Falmouth, and was the first New Zealand unit in France. It relieved the French on the Vimy Ridge, and was engaged in active mining operations there for two years. With the approach of the Cambrai offensive a party was detailed for special duty. The corps was responsible for the underground system at Arras, which involved the formation of communication trenches leading to the German front line. Special mention of this work was made in a despatch by Sir Douglas Haig. The fact that over 36,000 men were accommodated underground in canvas and dugouts, before the battle started, gives some idea of the magnitude of the work. The underground trenches to the German lines carried a 4 inch water main and a 2 foot tramway. The operations were the means of preventing heavy casualties when the enemy barrage came down on the opening of the attack on 7th April, 1917. The commander of the corps, Colonel Duigan, was admitted to the D.S.0., in recognition of the valuable services rendered. The D.S.O was also conferred on Captain H. Vickerman, who took command when Colonel Duigan left. The same distinction was conferred on Captain J. F. G. Richards, the medical officer of the unit, who did excellent work during offensive. Military Crosses were awarded to Captain R. H. Daldy, and Captain G. Campbell. In addition, a large number of non-commissioned officers and men of the unit were recipients of the Distinguished Conduct Medal and Military Medal.
After the Messines offensive active mining operations on the West front ceased, owing to the continual fluctuation of the line, and the Tunnelling Corps was engaged in constructing dugouts, roads, and bridges. In the British offensive of 1918, the unit completed a bridge over the Mons Canal, which received the high appreciation of the Commander-in-Chief. For good work here the Tunnelling Corps was specially mentioned in Sir Douglas Haig's despatch, and the D.S.O. was conferred on Captain Dudley Holmes.
The unit did not work with the New Zealand Division, but operated all the time it was in France with the Third Army. It has a unique record, for its rate of work was never beaten by a British Tunnelling Company, and a remarkable fact was that although the unit was continually at work from the time it landed in France until the armistice was signed, the casualties were extraordinarily few.