The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) and the UK government have announced that descendants of those who fought at the Third Battle of Ypres will be invited to CWGC Tyne Cot Cemetery in Belgium to mark the centenary of the Battle of Passchendaele.
There will be 4,000 tickets available to attend the centenary commemorations at CWGC Tyne Cot.
Opening the public ballot for tickets, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport Karen Bradley revealed the Government’s plans to mark both the centenary of Passchendaele on 31 July 2017 and the four years of war on the Ypres salient.
The commemoration of the Third Battle of Ypres, commonly known as Passchendaele, will start with a traditional Last Post Ceremony at the CWGC Menin Gate in Ypres (Ieper) on 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 31 July 2017, the centenary of 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, which bears witness to the ferocious battle.
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.”
The public ballot is for tickets to attend the commemorative event at CWGC Tyne Cot Cemetery on 31 July 2017. The 4,000 tickets will be allocated in pairs, free of charge. 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.
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.