Commemoration – Battle of Passchendaele 10 November

Between the 31 July and 10 November 1917, an estimated 320,000 allied and between 260,000 and 400,000 German casualties, resulted from heavy fighting for a movement of the front line of only 8 kilometres in the West Flanders region of Belgium.

The Passchendaele Salute 2017, under the patronage of Mrs Janice Charette, High Commissioner for Canada, took place on 10 November 2017 at Fort Seclin, near Lille in France.  Events included a ceremony of remembrance and 100 Gun Salute to commemorate the centenary of the end of the Battle of Passchendaele.

The Gun Salute was fired by 10 guns drawn by horses: 4 x 18pdrs; 3 x 13pdrs; one 4.5 Howitzer, 2 French 75s, and a 13pdr A/A gun on a Pierce Arrow 1917 lorry. The guns crews came from Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Ireland, New Zealand, and UK.

Coordinated by Commandant Lar Joye, 18 serving and retired Gunner Officers and 2 spouses travelled to Lille, with the following crewing an 18 pdr Saluting Gun: Lieutenant-Colonel Eamonn Fogarty (Retd), Commandant Michael Sutcliffe, Lieutenant Mark Rasmussen (Retd), Lieutenant Niall Costello, Captain Tom Butler (Retd) and Commandant Lar Joye.

Arriving in Belgium on 08 November, the party toured the Belgium Bomb Squad facilities at Ypres.  Gun training was conducted at Fort Seclin on 09 November.  A Drumhead Service was conducted at 1100hrs on 10 November, followed by the 100 Gun Salute.  A battlefield tour of the Battle of Passchendaele took place on 11 November, with the party returning home on 12 November.

Photographs courtesy of Chris O’Flanagan and Eamonn Fogarty

Please click on a photograph to view slide show.