In May 2010 a team of historians and archaeologists from the University of Glasgow (Peter Barton, Dr. Iain Banks and Dr. Tony Pollard) explored the British trenches near the village of Mametz (Somme) in search of a rare and terrifying weapon: the Livens flame projector. Twenty metres in length and weighing 2.5 tonnes, it took a team of seven men to operate this fearsome contraption, capable of projecting a jet of flaming petrol into and above the German trenches at a range of 100 metres. It took 200 soldiers to transport the thousands of individual parts which made up this beast. The Dragon was installed in a specially-designed tunnel beneath the front line. A maximum of three salvoes of ten seconds each were enough to open up a breach in the German lines and allow the British troops to break through.
Military records indicate that on 28th June 1916 a Livens flame projector was being transported underground in this area when a large calibre shell destroyed the entrance to the subterranean passageway. The research team hoped to identify the precise location of this incident and excavate the area. An experimental archaeological project was developed in partnership with the Royal Engineers, aiming to construct a replica of the weapon. A scale model of the dragon had already created by the apprentices of the Somme & Aisne centre for industrial training and apprenticeships (CFAI), the BTP-CFA and Lycée Jean Racine, as part of a partnership project with the Museum of the Great War. An exhibition"Breathing Fire".