Passchendaele, 100 years later: Prince William honours Kiwi WWI soldiers

Remigio Civitarese
Ottobre 12, 2017

Another 2000 were wounded or taken prisoner.

At Tyne Cot cemetery near the town of Ypres in Flanders, the Duke was welcomed by representatives of the New Zealand government and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, which has responsibility for the burial space. "We remember the courage and sacrifice of these fearless men in atrocious conditions and pay tribute to their service to our country and the values they stood for", Dr Smith says.

"Half a world away, news of the losses was felt like a shockwave".

"We owe it to the memory of the thousands of New Zealanders who died under horrendous conditions on the Western Front in places like Passchendaele to value the freedom, liberty and justice they fought for and to constantly strive for peace so as to avoid repeats of such tragic conflicts in future". Prince William attended on behalf of the Queen and Princess Astrid of Belgium on behalf of King Philippe, along with many New Zealanders, including Speaker of the House Hon David Carter.

"Ka maumahara tonu tatou ki a ratou".

Before the service began, William and Astrid were greeted by the Maori cultural group of the New Zealand Defence Force, whose spiritual calls and chants rang out across the white headstones.

Members of the 90-strong New Zealand Defence Force Contingent in Belgium for the commemoration.

"The losses at Passchendaele were so huge that most New Zealand families have a connection to a fallen soldier".

The thick mud stopped New Zealand forces from being able to bring heavy guns forward while the assumption wire on the German front line had been cut proved to be fatal, Lt Gen Keating said in his message.

There are 198 named New Zealand graves at Tyne Cot Cemetery and 322 unknown graves.

Tyne Cot cemetery is the largest Commonwealth burial ground in the world, with 11,971 servicemen buried and remembered there - 8,373 of whom are unidentified.

On Thursday 12 October, Stuff will live stream the Passchendaele Centenary Commemorations from the Pukeahu National War Memorial, in Wellington.

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