Remembering Passchendaele, 12 July - 15 November 1917

The Battle of Passchendaele, also known as the Third Battle of Ypres, was one of the major battles of World War One, involving British (including the 9th, 15th and 51st Scottish Divisions), South African, Canadian and ANZAC units. The battle started as a campaign to force a breakthrough in the front and to capture the ports on the Belgian coast. It eventually got stuck in the village of Passchendaele, now part of the Flemish community of Zonnebeke, Belgium, and lasted from July to November 1917.

The name Passchendaele has become linked for ever to the utter horror of industralised warfare, of living and dying in trenches of liquid mud, and for months of fierce fighting for little or no advantage. The battle itself took place on marshland flooded with heavy August rains. The war dead totalled 615,000 lives, 325,000 on the Allied side and 260,000 on the German side. Many did not die from their wounds but drowned in the mud as Siegfried Sassoon, the war poet, wrote.

I died in hell - (They called it Passchendaele).
My wound was slight,
And I was hobbling back; and then a shell
Burst slick upon the duckboards: so I fell
Into the bottomless mud, and lost the light

Memorial Tablet (1918)

The University of Glasgow remembers the 19 members of our community known to have died at Passchendaele.