The Ypres Salient - CWGC

'Third Ypres' is also known more popularly as the 'Passchendaele' Offensive (after the last and furthest advance) and perhaps more evocatively as the 'Battle of the Mud' (the latter title being coined by Men of the 16th Canadian Machine Gun Company holding the line in a landscape of mud and water-filled shell holes, November 1917David Lloyd George in his Memoirs published in 1934). Widespread awareness of the official artistic and photographic records of the campaign and the enduring regard for the 'literary' responses to the fighting, have forever linked the name of 'Passchendaele' in the public mind with depressing images of incessant rain, mud, needless suffering and death. The connotations inherent in the name of the battle's final actions have been exhaustively explored: 'Passchendaele', with its unconscious fusing of the anglicised homonyms 'passion' and 'dale' ('dale' or indeed 'vale of passion') has notably been seized upon by writers for tragic and often ironic purposes. None more effectively than the soldier poet Siegfried Sassoon who has forever linked the dreadful conditions of the battlefield directly with 'Hell'. (See: 'Memorial Tablet (Great War)').The resonance of such powerful and desolate associations cannot easily be undone.


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