WWI tunnels rediscovered in France with carvings in walls by US troops
By James Dunn
for the Daily Mail Online
The haunting momentos of allied soldiers who fought the Germans in World War One have been discovered inside eight miles of secret tunnels deep in the forests of Northern France.
The winding tunnels used by the American Expeditionary Force, sent by President Wilson to reinforce Britain and France, were recently discovered by an amateur battlefield explorer.
Pictures show how the raw recruits carved 250 military insignias and portraits of themselves and their horses into the stone as they were holed up in a quarry they used for shelter from the relentless German assault on the Western Front.
Other pictures show shells, bombs, grenades and shrapnel on the floor of the eight miles of tunnels, recently rediscovered by Battlefield explorer Marc Askat, 31, from Paris, who spent eight hours at the site.
Other historical images show the soldiers who would have used the tunnels as they sheltered from the German forces.
Discoverer Marc Askat said: 'I have spent a lot of time exploring the limestone quarries used by soldiers during first and second world war and the fact is that very few remains of U.S and Commonwealth soldiers are visible.
'After several months of research on the war diaries and the position of trenches on maps, I found a quarry that was exactly on their target.
'After a long crawl underground, I was lucky enough to see a giant Bold Eagle blaze sculpted by the 26th Yankee Division of the United State Army Infantry was in front of me.
'On the floor were, bombs, mortars, hand grenades and many heavily rusted metal devices that you don't want to touch or even know what they are.
'Many names, nicknames, masonic logos, city names were etched into the walls. This place was very rich with finds, I didn't even check my watch during almost eight hours underground.