War letters of Consett Carre Riddell, 1914-1919. Includes descriptions of engineer's work on trenches and tunnels. (Major Consett Carre Riddell, 12th Field Co. Engineers).

Riddell was a sapper (military engineer) in a highly mechanized war.  But there was still much scope for soldiers in the trenches to come up with inventions and homemade weapons such as this.  The other diagram shows how engineers from both sides tunnelled into each other's territory, and tried to undermine and blow up each other's tunnels.


Major Consett Carre Riddell,  war letters,1914-1919.


Accession number: MS 10766


From the State Library of Victoria's Manuscripts collection.

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I sketch rather badly some diagrams to show first a trench mortar made out of a water pipe and second a mine and countermine.

The projectile consists of the shell casing of an enemy’s shell into which is fastened a stick fitting into pipe and with a simple arrangement causing it to explode. I have sent you this to convince you that a trench mortar is hardly ’artillery’, the powder is generally measured in teaspoonfuls like cough mixture.

Life in the trenches