The CWGC and UK Government will host several events commemorating the Centenary of Passchendaele – The Third Battle of Ypres on 30 and 31 July 2017.
Sunday 30 July
The commemorations will begin with a traditional Last Post ceremony at the CWGC Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial. Hundreds of descendants with a personal connection to the names on the memorial and representatives from nations who fought on the Salient will attend the ceremony, which will give thanks to those who have remembered the British and Commonwealth involvement and sacrifices every evening since 1928.
It will be followed by a series of live performances, open to thousands in Ieper’s rebuilt Market Square, that tell the story of the war on this part of the Western Front. A new short story by War Horse author Michael Morpurgo will feature, as well as extracts from The Wipers Times, the play by Ian Hislop and Nick Newman based on the satirical trench newspaper by British soldiers fighting on the Ypres Salient. Images and film will also be projected onto the town’s famous Cloth Hall.
Monday 31 July
More than 4,000 descendants of the men who fought, and those with a connection to the battle will attend a special commemorative service at the CWGC’s Tyne Cot Cemetery, near Ieper. During the service, serving military personnel and descendants will read out letters and diaries from their ancestors.
A commemorative ceremony will also be held at CWGC Artillery Wood Cemetery to mark the centenary of the deaths of poets Hedd Wynn and Francis Ledwidge. The ceremony is being hosted by the Welsh National Memorial and Hedd Wynn Society in conjunction with the North Wales Rugby Choir.
Karen Bradley said: “As the War recedes into the distance, it is our responsibility to not only mark the years that have gone past, but to keep alive the memories of those who sacrificed so much. I encourage all of those with family who fought at Passchendaele -- The Third Battle of Ypres, to apply for tickets to the commemorations this summer.”
CWGC Director General, Victoria Wallace added: “The Commonwealth War Graves Commission is honoured that two of our most visited sites in Ypres will be hosting the UK Government events, marking the final resting place and formal place of commemoration of so many thousands of British and Commonwealth servicemen who died on the Ypres salient during four years of fighting. We hope those attending and watching will take the time to see more of our cemeteries in Flanders Fields after the events are over.”
We will be posting regular updates about the Centenary commemorations here. You can also join in the conversation on social media using the hashtags #Passchendaele100 and #WW1.