01 Aug 2017

Defence Secretary pays Passchendaele tribute

The Defence Secretary, Sir Michael Fallon, joined military leaders, senior politicians and royals in Belgium to mark the centenary anniversary of the beginning of the Battle of Passchendaele.

The battle in Flanders began on 31 July 1917 and was a major engagement in the First World War, claiming the lives of around 275,000 British and Commonwealth military personnel and around 200,000 German lives.

Sir Michael Fallon joined Prime Minister Theresa May, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, The King and Queen of Belgium and other dignitaries for the playing of the Last Post ceremony at the Menin Gate in Ypres, Belgium.

The UK Government, in collaboration with the Belgian Government, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, and the Royal British Legion is hosting a series of events to mark one of the defining battles of the First World War.

The Chief of the Defence Staff, Joint Force Commander and heads of the Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Air Force were in Belgium as visitors came together to pay their respects at Tyne Cot cemetery near the village of Passchendaele.

Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said:  “These services provide us with the time to reflect on the sacrifice not just of the thousands of British and Commonwealth troops who gave their lives, but of the men on all sides who did not return home.

“This was a battle which touched communities across Europe and it is a privilege to be here in Belgium to stand as friends with the representatives of all the countries who took part in the Battle – friends who continue to be strong allies.” 

image © Sgt Ross Tilly

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