File No.: Battle Relic # 30
Title: “The Silver bullet from the Lochnagar Crater“
Investigation made at: D20, 80300 Ovillers-la-Boisselle, Péronne arrondissement, Hauts-de-France région, Somme département, France.
Period Covered: 1JUL1916
Date:  28MAY2017
GPS Location: 50°00'55.1"N 2°41'51.3"E
Case Classification: Description of a World War One British Cupronickel jacket .303 bullet.
Case Status: Case Closed
REASON FOR INVESTIGATION:
This agency purchased a silver bullet of World War One vintage at the Lochnagar Crater in France. The history of both this historical site and this battle relic are described below.

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SYNOPSIS:
The Lochnagar Crater was formed at 7.28AM on the first day of the Battle of the Somme; Saturday, July 1st 1916. The detonation of a gigantic mine placed beneath the German front lines created the crater. Its aim was to destroy a sizable strongpoint called 'Schwaben Höhe'.
Close to a British trench dubbed Lochnagar Street, sappers dug a shaft down about 90 ft. deep into the chalk. They then excavated approximately 300 yards in the direction of the German lines, and packed 60,000 lbs. (27 tons) of ammonal explosive in two large underground rooms at 60 ft. apart.

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Two minutes before the offensive started, the mine was detonated, leaving the massive crater which still exists today.

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Because the chambers containing the explosives were overcharged, the crater is as gigantic in diameter and depth as it is. Sufficient explosives were used to not just break the surface and form a crater but enough to cause dirt to fall in the surrounding fields and form a lip around the crater. The 15ft. lip protected attacking troops from German enfilade machine-gun fire from the village of La Boisselle.
Debris was thrown almost a mile into the air, the whole earth heaved, and a magnificent column rose up into the sky. The dirt column rose to almost 4,000 ft. (1.2 kilometer).
At present the Lochnagar Crater has in excess of 200,000 visits a year, many of them British and French school children. On the anniversary on July 1st, a remembrance ceremony is held, starting at 7.28am - the exact time of the explosion. It lasts about an hour and is attended by up to 1000 people.

On July 1st 1978 the crater was bought by Richard Dunning from Great-Britain and an organization named “The Friends of Lochnagar” was founded; a non-profit making organization furthering the memories of the Great War. Lochnagar receives no official government funding or support, with all finance provided by the generosity of individuals.
In order to not only keep alive the memory and to commemorate the events of the Great War and maintain the Lochnagar Crater historical site, we found Friends of Lochnagar at the crater selling several modest souvenirs when this agency visited the crater on May 28th 2017.
 
Silver jacket .303 bullet
It was thus, that we were able to acquire a silver .303 bullet, found in close proximity of the crater.
It was sold in a handcrafted wooden case, made from brushwood harvested from within the crater.
The bullet is a .303 caliber and bears evidence that it not only has been fired but that it also struck a given target. The pointed tip is deformed apparently caused by hitting a hard object and the diameter of the bullet differs from below to over .303 inches along its circumference.
The "silver" jacket metal is cupronickel, an alloy of ~20% nickel and 80% copper.
 
Exhibits:

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