Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Battle of Passchendaele, otherwise known as the Third Battle of Ypres, was one of the major battles of World War I, fought by British, ANZAC and Canadian soldiers against the German army near Ypres (Ieper in Flemish) in West Flanders, northwestern Belgium over the control of the village of Passchendaele. As the village is now known as Passendale, the term Passchendaele alone is now used to refer to this battle. The label "Passchendaele" should properly apply only to the battle's later actions in October–November 1917, but has come to be applied also to the entire campaign from July 31. After three months of fierce fighting, the Canadian Corps took Passchendaele on November 6, 1917, ending the battle. Passendale today forms part of the community of Zonnebeke, Belgium.
Photo credit: Imperial War Museum
And on and on until Friday so many, so many years ago. The very word, with its awkward spelling and all, means suffering to Canadians. Now I see a small village obliterated by cordite. In my mind, the earth is drenched in blood.

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