In 2005 the 'Passchendaele Archives' were started to try and give a face to the thousands of names on headstones and memorials to the missing. Archives will be compiled of all the casualties of the Battle of Passchendaele on the condition that photographic material can be found. Thanks to an allowance from the Flemish Secretary of Culture, a historian could be employed to systematically check thousands of publications, perform research in archives at home and abroad and to support a network of volunteers who try to get into touch with the families of casualties. The results of the project will be made accessible through a database. The more than 3.500 files also provided important information for the new visitor centre at Tyne Cot Cemetery and a new publication.
'Passchendaele 1917 - The story of the fallen and Tyne Cot Cemetery' is the first study entirely devoted to the soldiers who lost their lives during this terrible battle. It is almost completely based on the project 'The Passchendaele Archives'. Analysing the bloody campaign from an Allied perspective, it tells the story of the soldiers lost in battle. Each section begins with a historical overview of a particular stage of the campaign, before focusing on one or two divisions taking part in the assault on the Ypres-Zonnbeke-Passchendaele line. Every stage of the battle is clearly described and using detailed maps. The second part of the book looks at what happened after the war to the soldiers that lost their lives. It concentrates, in particular, on Tyne Cot Cemetery, the largest Commonwealth war cemetery in the world. The book is completely based on new historical research and is illustrated with more than 600 photographs, mostly never shown before.
'Passchendaele 1917 - The story of the fallen and Tyne Cot cemetery' by Franky Bostyn is published in Dutch by Roularta Books and in English by Pen & Sword. Price: £ 20,00 or € 29,95.
For more information: www.passchendaele.be