Photos showing the interior of World War One tunnels have gone viral on the internet. The photographs are so mesmerising they’ve even gained a following of their own!
- Photos of WW1 hideout tunnels have started making the rounds on the internet.
- The photos reflect a unique insight into soldiers’ lives during the war.
The Findings of Jeff Gusky and Evan Hadingham
The Texan photographed the hideout tunnels that dated from before or during World War One. Jeff Gusky and his colleague Evan Hadingham encountered several engravings throughout the tunnels. The two counted as many as five hundred of them inside these French underground quarries!
Gusky and Hadingam hypothesized that soldiers carved most of these in only about a month and a half. Among the many hideouts, Chemin des Dames housed most of these carvings. The place even bore personal invitations on the soldiers who carved them.
Previously, researchers ignored underground tunnels, thinking there would be little to see. What could they possible find? They believed it was merely a place to hide – an insignificant remnant of the war. Far from it, underground tunnels held much more than they could have imagined.
Still, personalized engravings were not all that they found. Gusky and Hadingham came across furniture, leftover meals, and even liquor that soldiers shared during their time underground. When danger lurked above, one can only imagine what little respite these soldiers had.
Some of these dugouts were so carefully maintained that they could even house utilities like electricity. Having electricity allowed men to spend more time in their underground hovels as they waited for conditions overhead to clear. Nevertheless, the tunnels were not invincible.
The Fate of World War One Hideout Tunnels
The tunnels were built to protect the soldiers. And they served this purpose – to some extent. Clever enemy soldiers would strategically dig through, or even under, the tunnels. Still, that would more often than not trigger booby traps scattered across the area.
To fend off enemy attacks, tunnel entrances were closely guarded around the clock.
As time passed by, World War One tunnels became obsolete – an outdated fortification of the past. Soldiers were no longer limited to trench warfare, partially due to the rise of mechanical support such as tanks and aircraft . Once soldiers were able to fight on the go, using underground tunnels made little sense.
Read More: WWI Trench Raiding Weapons
The tunnels were abandoned, but the structures remained.
And that allowed explorers like Gusky and Hadingham to dig deep and share the untold stories.
Jeff Gusky: An American Explorer
Jeff Gusky is a physician, explorer, and photographer based in Texas, America. He’s renowned for finding and photographing underground cities. Usually, these cities were just behind the front-line World War One trenches. National Geographic Magazine featured his work back in August 2014 which marked the beginning of World War One centennial.
Gusky’s work has reached an international audience through media, books, and exhibitions. He has written and published a book based on his findings. The title reads ‘Silent Places: Landscapes of Jewish Life and Loss in Eastern Europe.’ Unsurprisingly, Gusky gained a lot of prominence and acclamation for discovering these underground tunnels.
Gusky’s book – based on photography – documents the modern remains of Eastern European Jewry. Gusky has expressed that his work as a physician relates to his work as an explorer and photographer. He shared an unusual take on humanity:
Gusky believes that humans face an emergency caused by our lack of moral values. His mission is to build a language to describe how modern life affects conscience. He talks about being comfortable being human and embracing imperfection.
According to Gusky, modern people and societies can experience the same transformation that patients and families share in the emergency room when they face imminent danger clearly and soberly.
Guskys’s work is nothing short of commendable. Seeing these hideouts. Thinking of what the soldiers lived through. Imagining the horrific atmosphere of never ending fear deep below. It gives us a chance to experience a fraction of the trauma the soldiers suffered during the war through the amazing images provided by Jeff and Evan.