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On the morning of 1 July 1916, the British army detonated a mine in the village of La Boisselle, just north of Albert in France. It was the first day of the Battle of the Somme, during the First World War. The Royal Engineers had dug a tunnel, 50 feet deep, extending for about 300 yards from the British lines to the German front line. There, under a German position called “Schwaben Hohe”, they laid a mine consisting of over 25 tons of Ammonal. The mine was detonated two minutes before 07.30 am – the hour of launch of the British offensive against the German lines. The resulting explosion blew almost half a million tons of chalk into the surrounding fields, sending debris over 4,000 feet into the air. It created a vast hole 300 feet across and 90 feet deep. Known as the Lochnagar crater, after the trench from where the main tunnel was started, it remains the largest crater made in warfare to this day. The sound of the blast was considered the loudest man-made noise in history up to that point, with reports suggesting it was heard in London.

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