Themed weekend 'The long road to Passchendaele' in sign of Scottish involvement
16/08/2017 - Zonnebeke - Source: MMP 1917
From 31 July to 20 August 1917, three out of four major Scottish divisions were involved almost simultaneously in the Battle of Passchendaele. To commemorate this involvement, the Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917, the municipality of Zonnebeke, the GPS1917 and the Legion Scotland (RBLS), with the support of the Flemish Government, organise, on 19 and 20 August, the themed weekend 'The Long Road to Passchendaele' in Zonnebeke. Figurehead of the weekend is Jimmy Speirs, former player of among others Glasgow Rangers and Bradford City, who fell during the Battle of Passchendaele.

Unveiling silhouettes

On Saturday at 3.30 pm the official Scottish ceremony begins at the Scottish monument at Frezenberg. This monument was erected 10 years ago on the occasion of the 90th anniversary of Battle of Passchendaele. In the presence of Minister Ben Weyts and other dignitaries, the monument 'The Long Road To Passchendaele' will be unveiled on Saturday. This new monument consists of a number of silhouettes made of corten steel, each with a height of approximately 260 cm. Among others images of war photographers such as Hurley and Brooke served as the basis for the design. The soldiers 'march' in 'single file' towards Passendale and CWGC Tyne Cot Cemetery, on a route that was 100 years ago one of the access roads to the nearby front. A ‘massed pipe band’ of about 100 pipers and drummers will grace the ceremony.

Scottish activities

On Saturday afternoon and Sunday, visitors can go for an experience tour on Scottish history at the Zonnebeke chateau grounds. Different Living History groups bring the story of the Celts, Vikings, Jacobites, WW1 and WW2. For these latter, the Passchendaele Battlefield Experience is reopened to the public. For the Passchendaele themed weekend in July, the MMP1917 transformed a 50m² terrain into the lunar landscape of 100 years ago. Saturday evening, international pipe and other bands bring an impressive music spectacle during the 'Passchendaele 1917 Tattoo'. The ticket sales were a true success because since a few weeks the tattoo has been sold out. On Sunday afternoon, several Scottish activities such as Highland Games, birds of prey demonstrations, sheep herding, ... will take place on the chateau grounds. Those who want to participate in the Highland Games can contact the MMP1917 via Access to the chateau grounds is free.

Jimmy Speirs ceremony

On Sunday at 10am a second commemoration ceremony will be held at CWGC Dochy Farm. The short ceremony focuses on Jimmy Speirs. This legendary Scottish footballer scored, in 1911, the winning goal in the FA Cup Final as captain of Bradford FC. A relative of Speirs, a Glasgow Rangers representative, for whom Speirs also played, and several Bradford supporters will participate in the ceremony. Local football teams and individual supporters can attend the ceremony with the shirt or scarf of their team.

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