I grew up in the outskirts of Münster/Westfalia. In our neibourhood there was a small road called "Am Pulverschuppen" (At the powder shed).
In WW1 an ordnance facility called Munitionsanstalt Mauritzheide
was located there. Cartridges, shells and shrapnels were produced and extensive amounts of artillery shells, detonators and explosives were stored there. On the evening of December 21st 1915 due to carelessness and sloppiness a fire broke out in a barrack where black power was filled in bags. The female workers fled in panic and a few minutes later the entire ammo dump blew up in several devastating explosions. Exploding shells flew around, the surrounding area was littered with splinters and five workers got killed. It was the greatest explosion catastrophe in Münsters history.
Sixty years later the soil was still full of the remains of the catastrophe and when we were playing in the woods and digged holes we found rusty splinters, shrapnel bullets and gun powder bags. This was my first contact with WW1 material. Some years later in 1977 when I was 15 years old we visited Verdun during our familys holiday in France. The citadel, the ossuary and fort Vaux were impressive and disturbing experiences for me.
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