A special service is being held later this month to mark the centenary of the start of the Battle of Passchendaele.
A total of 1,300 men from Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland lost their lives during the course of the battle, officially known as the Third Battle of Ypres, which became infamous not only for the scale of casualties, but also for the mud.
The focus for the City and County’s commemoration of this battle will be a service held at Leicester Cathedral on Monday 31 July at 6.00 p.m., attended by the Lord-Lieutenant, the Lord Mayor, the Chairman of the County Council, and other civic dignitaries.
The service will be preceded by a half-muffled quarter peel of the Cathedral’s bells, and the service itself will be a poignant tribute featuring music, special prayers, and readings. The Commander of the 7th Infantry Brigade, Brigadier Charlie Collins DSO OBE, will be one of the readers. The service will end on a suitably sombre note with a two-minute silent tribute and poppy drop.
The service is being planned jointly by Colonel Murray Colville, who chairs the county’s WW1 Reference Group, and the Dean of Leicester, the Very Reverend David Monteith.
Murray Colville said: “The Battle of Passchendaele was truly horrific and is remembered for the apparent futility of fighting in such appalling conditions for not much gain. The scale of the loss of life is almost incomprehensible, and we must not forget the sacrifices that were made. This is our chance to show our collective gratitude one hundred years on, both to those who fought and those who supported them.”
David Monteith said: “By Passchendaele many British and Irish troops had already died. Therefore this battle saw many from the Commonwealth die – soldiers from ANZAC, India and the Caribbean. People of all races and faiths served. So it is vital that our contemporary diverse community remembers reverently and commits to cherishing the peace we all have inherited which was won at such great cost’
This service is open to the public and everyone is welcome to attend.