James Brown SNEDDON

SNEDDON, James Brown

Service Number: 282
Enlisted: 16 November 1915
Last Rank: Sapper
Last Unit: 1st Tunnelling Company (inc. 4th Tunnelling Company)
Born: Gilmerton, Scotland, 1869
Home Town: West Maitland, Maitland, New South Wales
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Miner
Died: Enemy Mine Explosion, Belgium, 7 April 1917
Cemetery: Railway Dugouts Burial Ground (Transport Farm)
Plot VII, Row K, Grave No. 21, Zillebeke, Belgium, Railway Dugouts Burial Ground, Ypres, Flanders, Belgium
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Hamilton Superior Public School Roll of Honour, Kurri Kurri War Memorial, Wallsend Soldier's Memorial
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World War 1 Service

16 Nov 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Sapper, 282, Mining Corps
20 Feb 1916: Involvement Sapper, 282, Mining Corps
20 Feb 1916: Involvement Sapper, 282, Mining Corps
20 Feb 1916: Embarked Sapper, 282, Mining Corps, HMAT Ulysses, Sydney
20 Feb 1916: Embarked Sapper, 282, Mining Corps, HMAT Ulysses, Sydney
24 Dec 1916: Transferred AIF WW1, Sapper, 1st Tunnelling Company (inc. 4th Tunnelling Company)
7 Apr 1917: Involvement Sapper, 282

Help us honour James Brown Sneddon's service by contributing information, stories, and images so that they can be preserved for future generations.

Biography contributed by Sharyn Roberts

THE amazing true exploits of father and son miners from Wallsend who tunnelled under the German trenches on the Western Front during World War I will be told on the big screen next month when the movie Beneath Hill 60 opens in cinemas around the country in the lead-up to Anzac Day.

And helping to transform their unsung heroism into a $9 million motion picture are two former Hunter men, screenwriter David Roach and costume designer Ian Sparke.

"Beneath Hill 60" tells the remarkable story of Captain Oliver Woodward, a Queensland miner who earned the Military Cross for his service with the 1st Australian Tunnellers Corp, a battalion of miners and engineers recruited to tunnel silently under the German lines in France and Belgium in 1916.

Among the tunnellers were Walter Fitzgerald Sneddon, who enlisted on July 7, 1915, and his father, James Brown Sneddon, who joined on October 30 the same year.

Both were experienced coalminers from Wallsend.

Their mission was to detonate a massive store of explosives 30 metres underground and plunge the German troops in the trenches above into chaos.

At 3.10am on June 7, 1917, their work culminated in what was then the largest man-made explosion in history as a series of 19 underground bombs, totalling 450,000 kilograms of high explosive secretly placed in Allied tunnels under German lines along the Messines ridge in the Ypres area of Belgium, were detonated in a mighty eruption that was reportedly felt in London, 200 kilometres away.

An estimated 700 Germans died instantly and thousands more were injured or taken prisoner, shocked and unable to fight.
"Beneath Hill 60", directed by actor Jeremy Sims and starring "Love My Way's" Brendan Cowell, "Underbelly's" Gyton Grantley and "The Black Robe's" Aden Young, was shot in Townsville last year.
It has its world premiere in Sydney on April 8,2010 and opens nationally on April 15, 2010.