The battle of Passchendaele began on July 31, 1917, near Ypres in Belgium and ended on November 6 of that same year. For the British, the battle became a symbol of the senseless slaughter of World War I.
After three years of pushing through Flanders, British commander-in-chief Douglas Haig launched a major offensive for control of the village of Passchendaele on the last day of July. The campaign, also known as the ‘Third Battle of Ypres’, proved particularly difficult for the Commonwealth forces as hundreds of thousands of men fought in Dantean conditions.
“I died in hell – they called it Passchendaele”, the British soldier and famed poet Siegfried Sassoon wrote of the carnage that raged over more than three months. A century later, the name Passchendaele still resonates in the British memory. Historian Paul Reed, who specialises in World War I, described how this bloody battle unfolded