The UK government has revealed its plans to commemorate the centenary of the Battle of Passchendaele (the Third Battle of Ypres).
Passchendaele is perhaps associated with the most iconic and ghastly images of the First World War, with its drifting poison gas and morasses of mud making it arguably the most appalling of battlefields. Its ferocity and horror is encapsulated in Siegfried Sassoon’s famous line: ‘I died in hell – They called it Passchendaele.’
The official commemorative event will begin with a Last Post Ceremony at the Menin Gate in Ypres on 30 July.
It will be followed by a series of live performances in Ypres’ Market Square that tell the story of the Battle. Images and film will also be projected onto the town’s Cloth Hall.
Descendants of those who fought in the battle will be invited to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) Tyne Cot Cemetery on 31 July – the day the battle began.
Ballot for tickets
Opening the public ballot for tickets, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport Karen Bradley said: ‘As we continue to commemorate the centenary of the First World War, it is important that we remember the horrors of the battlefields of Ypres and honour the many who lost their lives. Some of the First World War’s most defining images of futility, mud, gas attacks and trenches come from these very battlefields.’
Descendants can apply online at www.passchendaele100.org before 24 February 2017.
Those wishing to be at Market Square on Sunday 30 July 2017 can also register their interest in attending in order to receive regular updates and further information about attending the events.
The event will also be shown live on large screens in the Market Square at Ypres and at the Zonnebeke Chateau Grounds, so that those not able to secure a ticket will still be able to attend the public event on 30th July, and watch the Tyne Cot event on 31 July.