31 July 2017

CWGC marks the Centenary of Passchendaele - Day 2

On Monday 31 July, a special commemorative service was held at the CWGC’s Tyne Cot Cemetery, with more than 4,000 descendants and royalty in attendance.

Earlier this morning, a commemorative ceremony was held at CWGC Artillery Wood Cemetery to mark the centenary of the deaths of poets Hedd Wynn and Francis Ledwidge. The ceremony was hosted by the Welsh National Memorial and Hedd Wynn Society in conjunction with the North Wales Rugby Choir.

Ahead of the service at Tyne Cot, TRH the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited CWGC Bedford House Cemetery with the Commission’s Director General Victoria Wallace. During the visit, Prince William and Catherine met CWGC’s Centenary Interns and visited some graves.

 

The CWGC team at Tyne Cot Cemetery ready to greet guests arriving for the Passchendaele commemorative service.

 

Descendants of those who fought at Passchendaele start to arrive. Four thousand descendants allocated tickets through a public ballot are to attend the service at Tyne Cot.

 

Thousands of people are now inside Tyne Cot Cemetery as the commemorative ceremony gets underway.

 

Musical accompaniment, including the Band of HM Royal Marines Plymouth, Band of the Welsh Guards and Central Band of the Royal Air Force, moves up past the rows of headstones at Tyne Cot Cemetery.

 

TM the King and Queen of the Belgians, HRH the Prince of Wales, TRH the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and UK Prime Minister Theresa May arrive at the commemorations, alongside the welcoming party including the Commission’s Vice Chairman Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence and Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Karen Bradley.

 

Serving military personnel and descendants read out letters and diaries from their ancestors.

 

HRH the Prince of Wales spoke of the work of the CWGC during his opening address. He said: "Drawn from many nations we come together in their resting place cared for with such dedication by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, to commemorate their sacrifice and to promise that we will never forget."

 

Welsh poet Hedd Wyn and Irish poet Francis Ledwidge, who were both killed in action on the first day of Passchendaele, were honoured during the commemorations.

 

Prime Minister Theresa May read from Ecclesiasticus: “Their bodies are buried in peace; but their name liveth for evermore.”

 

Buglers from the Royal Marines Band sound the Last Post from the Cross of Sacrifice.

 

The Duchess of Cambridge laid a posey as the Duke read from the headstone: "A Soldier of The Great War Known Unto God".

 

Wreaths were laid by the royal family and dignitaries including HRH The Prince of Wales, HM The King of the Belgians, Prime Minister Theresa May, Belgium Minister of Defence Steven Vandeput, Sir Tim Laurence, and representatives of nations that fought in the Third Battle of Ypres.

 

Four Belgian Air Force F16's fly the Missing Man Formation over Tyne Cot Cemetery bringing the Passchendaele ceremony to an end.