Beneath Hill 60: The Australian Miners' Secret Warfare Beneath the Trenches of the Western Front

Author(s): Will Davies


We all remember images from WWI of massive artillery barrages and soldiers crossing shattered landscapes towards certain slaughter. Beneath these killing fields of the Western Front, another war was taking place, a deadly game 30 meters down, played between thousands of troops. These were not infantrymen, but miners. Their mutual goal was to tunnel beneath "no man's land," under the opposing lines and destroy the German enemy from below. Unfortunately, the Germans had the same idea and were digging in from the other side. Over 4,585 Australian miners took part in this secret subterranean war, fighting under stress and conditions that terrified even the most hardened infantryman on the surface. The 1st Australian Tunneling Division was responsible for the mines set under "Hill 60," a high point that dominated that part of the killing fields of Belgium. They were led by Captain Oliver Woodward who had started his mining career in Charters Towers, Queensland and went on to head BHP in Australia. His bravery and that of his men in guarding those underground mines and their subsequent massive explosions broke the gridlocked trench warfare that had continued for three years. Through exhaustive research, Will Davies has uncovered first-hand accounts of life for the tunnelers and soldiers at the front. In sharing their hopes, dreams, victories, and disappointments he tells the broad story of day after day in the mud at the front line and uncovers the glorious spirit of these men who fought and died for their countries. Beneath Hill 60 is an unforgettable story.


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Will Davies is a historian, writer and filmmaker. He edited Somme Mud: The War Experiences of an Australian Infantryman in France 1916-1919, and is the author of In the Footsteps of Private Lynch.

General Fields

  • : 9781741669367
  • : Random House Australia
  • : Vintage (Australia)
  • : 0.439985
  • : March 2010
  • : .9 Inches X 6 Inches X 9.5 Inches
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Will Davies
  • : Paperback
  • : English
  • : 940.4144
  • : 290