Under the French town of Arras there is a network of over twelve miles of tunnels. Whilst some of these date back to the Middle Ages, many of them were built during the First World War by miners from the New Zealand Tunnelling Company, together with British engineers. The tunnels had running water, electric lights, kitchens, lavatories, a light rail system, a chapel, and a hospital.
Around 20,000 soldiers sheltered in the tunnel for eight days before the Battle of Arras. At 05:30 in the morning, on 9th April 1917, they dynamited the exits of the tunnels and rushed forward. The enemy was pushed back almost seven miles, but at a veryhigh cost: there were an estimated 4,000 casualties per day.
On 9th April this year, Emma will sing during a dawn ceremony to mark 102 years since the start of the Battle of Arras, and at the inaugeration of the Garden of Peace (Scottish Garden) at the Faubourg d’Amiens Cementery.
9th April, 2019
06:30 – Dawn ceremony at Carrière Wellington, Arras, France
09:30 – Inaugeration of the Garden of Peace, CWGC Faubourg d’Amiens Cementery, Arras, France
Both events are free and open to the public