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First World War centenary: Commemorating 1917’s Battle of Passchendaele

PUBLISHED: 10:15 05 July 2017 | UPDATED: 10:15 05 July 2017

Battle of Pilckem Ridge (opening attack of the Battle of Passchendaele). Two pack mules carrying shells struggle through the mud near Ypres, Belgium, August 1, 1917. Picture: Imperial War Museum/Wikimedia Commons

Battle of Pilckem Ridge (opening attack of the Battle of Passchendaele). Two pack mules carrying shells struggle through the mud near Ypres, Belgium, August 1, 1917. Picture: Imperial War Museum/Wikimedia Commons

Archant

The 1916 Battle of the Somme typifies the Western Front for many among the public – fierce trench fighting, dubious tactics from the British Army, casualties numbering in the thousands.

Battle of Pilckem Ridge (opening attack of the Battle of Passchendaele). Pack mules passing a wrecked artillery limber and dead mules of the 36th Division on the road at Saint-Jean, July 31, 1917. Picture: Imperial War Museum/Wikimedia CommonsBattle of Pilckem Ridge (opening attack of the Battle of Passchendaele). Pack mules passing a wrecked artillery limber and dead mules of the 36th Division on the road at Saint-Jean, July 31, 1917. Picture: Imperial War Museum/Wikimedia Commons

But for the soldiers who made it through to the First World War’s 1917 campaigns, fresh horrors were waiting.

This month marks the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Passchendaele (July 31 to November 10) which became known for its particularly horrendous conditions, with combatants fighting in heavy rain and thick mud.

“I died in hell – (They called it Passchendaele),” wrote war poet Siegfried Sassoon in his work Memorial Tablet.

More than half a million soldiers died in the battle: about 325,000 Allied troops and 260,000 German.

To commemorate the centenary, we are appealing for tales of local soldiers who fought at Passchendaele. If you have a family story you would like to share, email bethany.wyatt@archant.co.uk or call 020 8477 3988.

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