Royal Engineers

Royal Engineers during World War 1

Preparation for the Battle of Arras 1917 From October 1916 the Royal Engineers had been working underground, constructing tunnels for the troops in preparation for the Battle of Arras in 1917. Beneath Arras itself there is a vast network of caverns called the boves, consisting of underground quarries and sewage tunnels. The engineers came up with a plan to add new tunnels to this network so that troops could arrive at the battlefield in secrecy and in safety. The size of the excavation was immense. In one sector alone four Tunnel Companies of 500 men each worked around the clock in 18-hour shifts for two months.