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They called it Passchendaele: UK Government unveils plans to mark centenary of The Third Battle of Ypres

Posted  4 January 2017 in News  
By Hannah Clark
IWM Q 67309: Noel Chavasse, VC IWM Q 67309: Noel Chavasse, VC

In 2017,  events will take place to mark 100 years since Passchendaele, the Third Battle of Ypres.

The UK government has released plans for the commemoration of the Third Battle of Ypres, commonly known as Passchendaele, which will start with a traditional Last Post Ceremony at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) Menin Gate in Ypres on the eve of the centenary, 30 July. The ceremony will give thanks to those who have remembered the British and Commonwealth involvement and sacrifices every evening in peacetime since 1928. It will be followed by a series of live performances, open to thousands in Ypres’ rebuilt Market Square, that tell the story of the battle. Images and film will also be projected onto the town’s famous Cloth Hall.

On the 31 July 2017, the first day of the Third Battle of Ypres, the focus will shift to the 12,000 graves and 35,000 names on the Memorial Wall to the Missing at the CWGC Tyne Cot cemetery in Belgium, which bears witness to the battle. Descendants of those who fought are invited to the CWGC Tyne Cot Cemetery to mark the centenary of the Battle of Passchendaele and the four years of war on the Ypres salient and can apply online at before 24 February 2017. The ballot is now open and the 4,000 tickets will be allocated in pairs, free of charge. 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.

While the Somme holds a powerful place in the national psyche today, during the First World War, Passchendaele and Ypres were household names. The battlefield is closely associated with terrible fighting conditions, and was the first time poison gas was used in battle on the Western Front.  The story of Joey the War Horse, was set in this part of the Western Front, as well as Harry Patch, who became known as the Last Tommy, was conscripted and fought at Passchendaele. It was following the Battle of Passchendaele that Noel Chavasse, a medical officer in the British Army, was posthumously awarded his second Victoria Cross for extreme bravery – one of only three people to receive the medal twice. His medals are currently on display at IWM London in the Lord Ashcroft Gallery: Extraordinary Heroes.

Read Chavasse’s full story on Lives of the First World War. Help remember all those who fought at Passchendaele, the Third Battle of Ypres, by adding your photos, documents and stories to Lives of the First World War.

Find out more about the UK government’s plans at or search the Events Calendar for events commemorating the Battle of Passchendaele, Third Battle of Ypres.


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