Check out these inscriptions World War I soldiers scratched on underground caves as they hid from German bombing

Read full story

Inscriptions by WWI soldier J.G. Gibb, 2nd Highland Light Infantry, are seen on the rock in underground caves accessible by small spiral stairs in the village's church at Bouzincourt, northern France, July 13, 2015.

Neglected for decades, underground caves in a small village in France's Somme valley contain a treasure trove of hundreds of engravings by World War I Canadian and British soldiers as they sought refuge from German assaults.

Most of the inscriptions date back to 1916, many from July of that year when the Battle of the Somme started.

Nearly 20,000 British soldiers were killed on the first day; by the battle's end in mid-November, the two sides had together suffered over a million casualties.

War researchers say the engravings in the chalky rocks of Bouzincourt offer a powerful insight into the thoughts of those caught up in the Somme Offensive, one of the bloodiest battles in world history.

Check them out below.

{{}}

View As: One Page Slides

The caves are only accessible by small spiral stairs in the Bouzincourt church seen below.

The caves are only accessible by small spiral stairs in the Bouzincourt church seen below.

Some 12 yards under the surface, the caves were used by locals as early as the 17th century to store food and shelter their families and livestock.

Some 12 yards under the surface, the caves were used by locals as early as the 17th century to store food and shelter their families and livestock.

"They knew that they may be about to die," Gusky told Reuters in 2015.

"They knew that they may be about to die," Gusky told Reuters in 2015.

"We all want to be known, we all want to feel like our lives matter," Gusky said. "And so here on these walls we see them writing their last message to all of us, not knowing if anyone would ever see it."

Many of the shapes carved out of the cave walls are designed specifically to allow a postcard to be inserted there, Gusky said.

Many of the shapes carved out of the cave walls are designed specifically to allow a postcard to be inserted there, Gusky said.

Others are inscriptions of the name of a soldier, often followed by details of his injuries. Of the 829 names recorded in the caves, around 500 are of Canadian soldiers.

Others are inscriptions of the name of a soldier, often followed by details of his injuries. Of the 829 names recorded in the caves, around 500 are of Canadian soldiers.

While others are crudely carved flags or hearts.

While others are crudely carved flags or hearts.

There are even relics not carved in the stone.

There are even relics not carved in the stone.
Add Comment()

Comments ()

X
Sort By:
Be the first one to comment.
We have sent you a verification email. This comment will be published once verification is done.