Charles, William and Kate lead Passchendaele centenary commemoration 100 years on

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Charles, William and Kate lead Passchendaele centenary commemoration 100 years on

Charles, William and Kate lead Passchendaele centenary commemoration 100 years on
THE PRINCE OF WALES has lead senior royals and politicians in commemorating the centenary of one of the bloodiest offensives of the First World War.
PUBLISHED: 12:00, Mon, Jul 31, 2017 | UPDATED: 12:35, Mon, Jul 31, 2017

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The Prince, TRH the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Theresa May, the Prime Minister, will be among those attending a ceremony marking 100 years since the Battle of Passchendaele.

More than 100 days of fighting in the summer and autumn of 1917, starting on July 31, left more than half a million men dead or injured on both sides.

Today’s commemoration centres on the Tyne Cot cemetery near Ypres in Belgium, the largest Commonwealth burial ground in the world with 11,971 servicemen buried or remembered there – with 8,373 of them identified.

The Duke and Duchess and Prince CharlesPA
The Duke and Duchess and Prince Charles pay tribute at Passechendaele

William and KateAndrew Matthews/PA
William and Kate with Victoria Wallace, Director General of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission
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The royals joined TM King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of Belgium at the ceremony.

It comes after William and Kate joined Mrs May to represent Britain at the Menin Gate and a later show in the Gross Markt square.

William spoke as the daily Last Post was played at the towering edifice, inscribed with the names of the missing from three years of hard fighting around Ypres a century ago.

PasschendaeleChris Jackson/Getty Images
Military band walk through the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s Tyne Cot Cemetery

Watched by some 200 descendants of those who fought, he said: “During the First World War Britain and Belgium stood shoulder to shoulder.

They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old. Age shall not weary them

“One hundred years on, we still stand together, gathering as so many do every night, in remembrance of that sacrifice.”

Sunday’s poignant Last Post was the 30,752nd time it has been played since 1928.

The towering Menin Gate in the Belgian town is covered with the names of 54,391 British dead who have no known grave, according to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

WreathReuters
Wreath placed by HRH Prince William, Duke of Cambridge at the Menin Gate in Ypres

In just over three months of conflict there were more than half a million casualties – 325,000 Allied soldiers and 260,000 to 400,000 Germans – in the Belgian battlefields.
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