The Cloth Hall, Ypres. Rebuilt after the Great War, it will be the focus for Eve-of-Centenary events on July 30 (Photo: Centenary News)

New 'War Horse' reading for 2017 Ypres/Passchendaele Centenary

Posted on on 16 July 2017
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A live reading by author Michael Morpurgo of a new short story that he has written, will take place on Sunday 30 July at the start of commemorations for the Third Battle of Ypres/Passchendaele. 

Morpurgo’s reading in Ypres will be accompanied by the horse puppet Joey from the National Theatre's stage adaptation of War Horse.

Images from the First World War will be projected onto the town’s Cloth Hall, which was destroyed and later rebuilt. Recordings of interviews with veterans and first-hand accounts from soldiers, nurses and loved ones will also be read out and projected onto the Cloth Hall.

Before the event, the traditional Last Post ceremony will take place at the Menin Gate, with representatives of combatant nations laying wreaths.

Tyne Cot

On the following day, Monday 31 July, a ceremony will be held at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s Tyne Cot Cemetery, where 12,000 troops are buried. This ceremony will be attended by descendants of men who fought during the battle as well as those connected to the fighting.

The Third Battle of Ypres (also known as Passchendaele after a ridge captured at the close of the Allied offensive) began on 31 July 1917. Three months of struggle in some of the worst conditions on the Western Front resulted in at least 580,000 Allied and German casualties.

Michael Morpurgo said:

"We are now a hundred years on from the battle of Passchendaele, one of the most appalling battles of the First World War, in which thousands upon hundreds of soldiers suffered and died. It is a moment to reflect on their lives, and on the terrible nature of that war and of all wars, and on the importance of maintaining peace. They fought for our peace. That is what we must not forget, which is why we must continue to tell the story, to pass it on."

Sources: Press Release by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

Images: Centenary News

Posted by: CN Editorial Team