Tributes paid to war dead to mark 100 years

Peter Castro
August 2, 2017

On Monday the royal couple, along with William's brother Prince Harry and the prime minister, will head to Tyne Cot cemetery near Ypres which holds the graves of thousands of soldiers.

Politicians and royalty joined relatives of the dead for the centenary of the 103-day battle in western Belgium in which more than half a million Allied and German troops were killed or wounded.

Alongside the Duchess of Cambridge and Philippe and Mathilde, the King and Queen of the Belgians, the Prince and a crowd of more than 4,00 people watched as poppies fluttered from the rooftops at the Menin Gate. Also the number of missing men was colossal on the british side: arrived in Belgium on the eve of the ceremonies at the cemetery, Tyne Cot, the duke and duchess of Cambridge were a special tribute at the Menin Gate, which is located at the exit of the city, attending the Last Post ceremony. "Today, said with gravity, the future king of England in power, the Menin Gate lists the almost 54,000 names of men who had not returned, the missing who have no known grave. One hundred years on, we still stand together, gathering as so many do every night, in remembrance of that sacrifice".

At the Menin Gate, Prince William said: "Members of our families; our regiments; our nations; all sacrificed everything for the lives we live today".

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

The heir-to-the-throne officially open the Zonnebeke Church Dugout, a preserved First World War dugout which forms part of the Memorial Museum Passchendaele.

The area is the largest Commonwealth burial ground in the world, with 11,971 servicemen laid to rest and remembered there, 8,373 of whom remain unidentified.

The Allied offensive at Passchendaele began July 31, 1917, and involved British Commonwealth forces.

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