The First World War Claims Two More Victims

The Great War ended a century ago, but it's still taking lives. Two construction workers have just been killed at Belgium's historic Ypres site after unintentionally detonating a shell left over from the war.

Top image: Allied soldiers at the Third Battle of Ypres.

It's not unheard of to hear of deaths or injuries caused by buried weapons left over from the Second World War. But it's exceptionally rare to hear of people being killed by the remnants of a conflict that happened so long ago.

Reuters reports:

"It's a shell that exploded with four workers there, a conventional device from World War One. One died instantly, another on the way to the hospital," said Ypres police chief Georges Aeck, adding a further worker was in a critical state and the fourth in shock.

The four were behind a warehouse under construction when the shell exploded in circumstances that are under investigation.

It shouldn't be too surprising that it happened at Ypres. This area was bombed extensively by the Germans during the course of the war — a site that bore witness to five distinct battles during the four-year-long conflict. And in fact, Belgium has removed some 629 tons of bombs and other explosives in the past four years alone. There may still be thousands of explosives still around Ypres yet to be discovered.

[ Reuters | BBC ]

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