Welsh who fell at Passchendaele remembered

Reporter:

Dale Spridgeon

THE Prince of Wales and the First Minister Carwyn Jones joined over 1000 people from Wales paying tribute to the soldiers who died in the Battle of Passchendaele during the First World War.

Politicians, royals, celebrities, those who lost family members in the battle, musicians and Welsh choir, Côr Rugby Gogledd Cymru, were amongst those who gathered at Flanders, in Belgium for the Welsh centenary memorial of the battle, also known as the Third battle of Ypres.

The 38th (Welsh) Division played a key role capturing positions on Pilckem Ridge. On the first day of Passchendaele, on July 31, 1917, half a million Allied and German men died.

During the conflict, some 4000 Welsh soldiers were killed or injured including Welsh poet Hedd Wyn – Private Ellis Humphrey Evans of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers. He died during the first few hours of the battle and was later posthumously awarded the bard's chair at the 1917 National Eisteddfod.

Events in the area known as the Ypres Salient, this week included a UK service at the Tyne Cot cemetery attended by Prince Charles, Theresa May and Prince William.

Prince Charles, also joined the Welsh remembrance service giving a reading in English and Welsh, before laying a wreath. Wales football manager Chris Coleman also spoke to the crowds.

On Monday, a dawn service was held at the Welsh memorial in Langemark, on Monday, marking the Zero hour when the battle began. It was followed a service at Hedd Wyn’s grave at the Artillery Wood Cemetery.

On Sunday, the Archdruid of Wales Geraint Lloyd Owen unveiled a plaque at Hagebos, the site of the hospital station during the battle, and near the spot where Hedd Wyn died in Flanders.

The Bangor-based Côr Rygbi Gogledd Cymru, with tenor Rhys Meirion, also joined the choir from Hedd Wyn's home town, Côr Meibion Prysor during the event.

Seven stones showing the cap badges of the five Welsh Regiments and two Welsh Divisions, who lost men were also unveiled.

A traditional Last Post ceremony was held at the Menin Gate at 8pm, on Tuesday followed by a special live performance in Ypres Market Square.

Email:

dale.spridgeon@nwn.co.uk

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