A programme of cultural and educational events has been announced for the Passchendaele Centenary

'Passchendaele Remembered' - 3rd Battle of Ypres Centenary events update

Posted on centenarynews.com on 15 February 2017
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The latest from Centenary News on commemorations coming up in Flanders in 2017 to mark the centenary of a WW1 campaign fought in some of the most atrocious conditions on the Western Front.

Ypres, Zonnebeke and the Memorial Museum Passchendaele will be the focus for a programme of international remembrance between July-November, matching the duration of the Third Battle of Ypres in 1917.

The ticket ballot for descendants to attend the UK's opening commemorative ceremony at Tyne Cot Cemetery closes on 24 February 2017.

Australian, Canadian and New Zealand remembrance events are also planned during the centenary period.

Details have also now been announced of cultural and educational activities running alongside the official commemorations. These include:

* 1917. Total War in Flanders - Passchendaele, landscape at war' - special exhibition, June-November.

*Commemorative tree planting days at Polygon Wood.

*Lantern-lit evening of reflection at Tyne Cot.

The organisers in Zonnebeke comment: "It is our duty to continue to commemorate all of the victims and to keep the story of the Battle of Passchendaele alive, "  

"It is a story about the struggle and commitment of a generation who gave their lives for our freedom, a struggle for a peaceful world that continues to this day."

Tyne Cot, the largest Commonwealth military cemetery in the world (Photo: Centenary News)

Summary of events:

July 30

Eve of Centenary - live performance and music in Ypres Market Square. Images and film, telling the story of the Third Battle of Ypres, will be projected onto the Cloth Hall, rebuilt from rubble after the First World War.

July 31

They called it Passchendaele - UK national remembrance service at Tyne Cot Cemetery. Admission will be ticket-only. Four thousand tickets are being balloted for descendants - apply at Passchendaele 100 before 24 February 2017.

The Welsh Government will be holding a service of remembrance at the Welsh Memorial, Langemark.  Many soldiers from Wales fell at the Third Battle of Ypres, including the Welsh language poet, Hedd Wyn. Admission will be ticket-only. See Wales Remembers for information.

August 19

Scottish and South African casualties will be commemorated with a ceremony at the Scottish Monument, a memorial inaugurated at Frezenberg, Zonnebeke, in 2007. The event launches The Long Road to Passchendaele, a themed weekend organised by the Memorial Museum Passchendaele, featuring an international tattoo with pipe bands.

September 24

Belgian ceremony of remembrance, Carabiniers-Grenadiers: 99th anniversary tribute to Belgian forces under King Albert I who took part in the final Allied assault on the Ypres salient in September 1918.

September 26

Australian ceremony of remembrance at Buttes New British Cemetery, Zonnebeke, last resting place of more than 500 Australian soldiers.

September 26/October 12

Wood of Peace:  two days of tree planting, commemorating each fallen soldier with a known grave at the two British cemeteries of Polygon Wood, Zonnebeke. In addition, a monument will be erected to all missing soldiers.

October 12

New Zealand ceremonies of remembrance, marking the loss of 2,700 New Zealanders in the fighting 100 years ago. Events will be taking place at Tyne Cot Cemetery and the New Zealand Memorial at 's Gravenstafel.

October 14

Lanterns illuminate Tyne Cot during the Light Front centenary commemorations in 2014 marking the battles that sealed the German occupation of Belgium at the start of the Great War (Photo: Visitflanders)

Silent City Meets Living City, an evening of lantern-lit silence and reflection at Tyne Cot, organised by Memorial Museum Passchendaele and the community of Zonnebeke. Register at Passchendaele 2017 to participate.

November 10

Canadian ceremony of remembrance, marking the centenary of Canadian troops capturing Passchendaele, ending the Third Battle of Ypres. Events start at Crest Farm Canadian Memorial with a ceremony reflecting on the losses suffered by all sides. A torch parade along the Canadalaan will then follow the route of the last 100 metres of the attack to Passchendaele, culminating in an open-air reception and concert.

The Allied offensive became synonymous with the struggle for the ruined Flemish village. 

From an ambitious plan to oust the Germans from the Belgian coast, the British-led campaign of 1917 got bogged down in a battle for control of Passchendaele ridge near Ypres, costing around 500,000 casualties on all sides for an advance of just eight kilometres (five miles).

Grave of two unknown German soldiers at Tyne Cot. The memorial wall in the background commemorates the names of nearly 35,000 British and New Zealand soldiers who died in the Ypres Salient after 16 August 1917 and whose graves are not known (Photo: Centenary News)

The battlefields were drenched by record summer and autumn rains, turning them into a quagmire exacerbated by the destruction of the drainage systems.

A special exhibition '1917. Total War in Flanders - Passchendaele, landscape at war'  will look at the impact of the wrecked landscape on the opposing armies, and how they were forced to adapt their tactics and equipment. The free exhibition runs from June 3 - November 15 at Villa Zonnedaele, Zonnebeke.

There's an invitation to offer personal messages of peace through the Tag for Remembrance project, running during the Centenary period. Messages can be left at Tyne Cot visitors' centre, the Memorial Museum Passchendaele, or online at Passchendaele 2017. A selection will be engraved on identity tags, forming a permanent new artwork to be displayed at the Passchendaele Memorial Park in Zonnebeke.

Passchendaele Memorial Park (Photo: Visitflanders)

For more information on events in Flanders, see Passchendaele 2017 and Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917 .

For more on the UK Government's commemorative plans, see Passchendaele 100.

Images courtesy of Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917/Zonnebeke 14-18 (poster); Visitflanders (Tyne Cot Lightfront & Passchendaele Memorial Park); Centenary News

UK event information: Department for Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS)

Tyne Cot Cemetery is in the care of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Posted by: CN Editorial Team