Subterranean Soldiers


Crouching Cornish miner

Digging through soft soil

Subtle, secret, dirty, deadly,

Subterranean toil

Men are cowering underground

Listening, for the slightest sound

Made by enemy tunnelling men

Waiting for the moment when-

Suddenly - shots in the dark

Blindly swung shovels in bone-crushing arcs

Screams as bullets find their mark

Cornish mines are deep underground

Through hard granite rock

And a man has to pound

And hammer and blast his way to unlock

The ore .....

But down here it's not at all like that

Here you're a desperate sewer rat

And your aim is to kill and dismember and maim

So that those up above are enabled to gain

Another few yards

Of blasted blighted

Tactically useless


© nigel hallworth 2014

25,000 trained British Royal Engineers were engaged in tunnelling work during the war,  with 50,000 support troops.

When one side broke through to an enemy tunnel, there was desperate underground fighting.