On July 31st, 1917 - just 102 years ago - the Third Battle of Ypres, also known as the Battle of Passchendaele - took place on the Western Front. It lasted three months, one week and three days and ended on November 10th, 1917 with the Canadian Corps capturing Passchendaele.
The number of casualties is named with 400.000 to 800.000 and still today, Paschendale (as the English version is pronounced) is a synonym for yet another senseless waste of lifes and resources without any markable wins on territory, the so-called Verdun of Belgium. The English poet-soldier Siegfried Sassoon once wrote: „I died in hell (They called it Passchendaele)” and so we can just assume what horrors happened there once.
Today we remember especially this battle and honour all those who paid the highest price for their country. Let us learn from history and perpetuate the memory of all brave men who fought in this senseless war.
Lest we forget.
… Blood is falling like the rain
Its crimson cloak unveils again
The sound of guns can’t hide their shame
And so we die on Paschendale
Dodging shrapnel and barbed wire
Running straight at cannon fire
Running blind as I hold my breath
Say a prayer symphony of death
As we charge the enemy lines
A burst of fire and we go down
I choke a cry but no-one hears
Feel the blood go down my throat…
(Iron Maiden , „Paschendale“)