Today I attended the Battle of Passchendaele's 97th Anniversary Commemoration Ceremony at the Auckland War Memorial Museum in the First World War Hall of Memories. Thanks should be giving to those of the Passchendaele Society who organised the event.
The Battle of Passchendaele tragically goes down in New Zealand history as it's 'blackest day' in terms of loss of life in any military action. In total 845 men lost their lives in a matter of hours on this day in 1917.
In Glynn Harper's book 'Massacre at Passchendaele' the words of Corporal Bridge to his wife remind us that:
"Never before has there been so many casualties to NZers...The whole affair was horrible from start to finish and a great sacrifice of life"
On Wednesday, 16 October this week, it will be 100 years to the day that the Main Body of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force left our shores. Those men and women could not have imagined the horrors that World War One had in store for them.
We today should not let ourselves forget the sacrifice made by so many who sailed that day and then thereafter. Commemoration are vital in helping us preserve the memory of those who never returned and who now lie in a foreign field whether is be in a marked grave or in an unknown grave somewhere in France or Belgium but whose name is inscribed on a memorial somewhere.
Lest we Forget