On our visit to the Somme battlefields last July, we stopped at Lochnagar Crater near La Boiselle. This enormous dent in the Picard landscape was left by British miners detonating a total of 60,000 lbs of Ammonal under the German front line at 7.28 on the 1st july 1916. It was one of the first events of what was to become the bloodiest day in the history of the British army, with almost 60,000 casualties in those first hours.
The crater is now privately owned by an Englishman, Richard Dunning. He managed to purchase the site in 1978, concerned by encroachment of agriculture and attempts to refill the hole. Today, Lochnagar attracts about 300,000 visitors annually. Given the scale of the slaughter in the vicinity - it's thought that the remains of at least 300 Germans lie in the crater - it's perhaps not surprising that even such a well-visited site sometimes gives up its dead. In 1998 the remains of Private George Nugent of the Tyneside Scottish were discovered by accident on the western lip of the crater by two British tourists. After exhaustive research leading to his identification, Private Nugent's name was removed from the Thiepval Memorial to the missing and he was laid properly to rest at Ovillers Military Cemetery near Albert. The inscription on his headstone reads: 'Lost, found - but never forgotten'.