HIS ROYAL HIGH NOSE
BATTLE: PASSCHENDAELE HORRORS ARE COMMEMORATED
The Duke of Cambridge greets Willie Apiata VC with a Hongi – a traditional Maori greeting – as they attend the New Zealand national commemoration for the Battle of Passchendaele at Tyne Cot Cemetery, Belgium. The Duke represented the Queen at the event.
THE DUKE of Cambridge has told descendants of New Zealand soldiers who fought and died at the Battle of Passchendaele that although we may never truly understand the conditions they endured, “we can remember”.
Speaking at a centenary service commemorating the actions, valour and commitment of the Kiwis, William said newsreels may have described them as ordinary men and women but “there was nothing ordinary about their service or their sacrifice”.
The Duke, who represented the Queen at the event in Belgium, was joined by the county’s Princess Astrid and delivered his speech at Tyne Cot cemetery, near the town of Ypres in Flanders, surrounded by thousands of headstones of Allied servicemen who died in the Great War.
October 12 1917 has become known as the darkest day of the war for the New Zealand Division, which suffered heavy loses when they were ordered to take an area called Bellevue Spur but were bogged down in shell holes under enemy fire.
On that day, more than 840 Kiwis were killed fighting in a foreign land far from home – part of a huge toll of dead and injured both sides suffered that summer.
The Duke said: “All too often the newsreels speak of ‘ordinary’ men and women.
“There was nothing ordinary about their service or their sacrifice.
“As we have heard, October 12th 1917 was the ‘darkest day’ in the military history of a proud and committed people.
“For New Zealanders, the loss of more than 840 men in just a few hours is seared into the national consciousness.”
October 12th 1917 was the ‘darkest day’ of a proud people. The Duke of Cambridge.
HONOUR: The Duke of Cambridge speaks at Tyne Cot Cemetery, Belgium; New Zealand military personnel perform a traditional Maori greeting; a commemorative plaque was unveiled at the event.