Flanders honours lives lost in Battle of Passchendaele
Centennial memorials dedicated to the First World War battle were attended by local and foreign dignitaries, including members of the British royal family
Stories from then and now
The Battle of Passchendaele, also known as the Third Battle of Ypres, began on 31 July 1917. It has gone down in history as one of the First World War’s bloodiest and most devastating battles. After its 100 days, both sides had suffered 450,000 fatalities, with some 50,000 more injured or missing.
Flemish public broadcaster VRT started its commemoration on Sunday with a compilation from its series Ten oorlog (To War), which traces the front line with stories from then and now. That was followed by the British 2012 mini-series Parade’s End.
The official commemoration began that evening with the traditional Last Post at the Menin Gate in Ypres, in the presence of British and Belgian royals and politicians. That ceremony was attended by 200 descendants of some of those whose names are inscribed on the walls of the gate – those who were lost but whose remains have never been traced.
Following the Last Post, the attendees moved to Ypres’ market square to attend a multi-media performance on the battle, including a moving recitation by Dame Helen Mirren of “In Flanders’ Fields”, the poem by John McCrae that gives its name to the war museum on the same square.
On Monday, British and Belgian royals attended a ceremony at Tyne Cot cemetery, followed by the opening of the Zonnebeke Church trench, preserved from the war and part of the Memorial Museum Passchendaele. The Tyne Cot ceremony was covered live on Canvas.
Photo: From left, Duchess of Cambridge Catherine Middleton, Prince William, King Filip and Queen Mathilde attend the Last Post ceremony at the Menin Gate on Sunday evening
© Benoit Doppagne/Belga
First World War
lives lost in West Flanders
annual visitors to the Westhoek
First Battle of Ypres