A ballot has opened for tickets to attend the UK Government's national commemorative event in Belgium this year marking the centenary of the Third Battle of Ypres/Passchendaele.
The service will be held at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's Tyne Cot Cemetery on July 31.
Descendants, and those with a personal connection to the battle, are invited to apply for the ticket-only ceremony. The ballot closes on 24 February 2017.
Four thousand seats will be allocated in pairs, free of charge.
There will also be a public event in the Market Square, Ieper (Ypres), on the evening of July 30, telling the story of the First World War on the Ypres salient.
It will follow the traditional Last Post ceremony at the nearby Menin Gate (above), on this occasion giving thanks to those who have remembered the British and Commonwealth involvement and sacrifices every evening in peacetime since 1928.
To enter the ballot for the Tyne Cot ceremony, visit Passchendaele 100. People wishing to be at the Market Square can also register their interest in order to receive regular updates and further information about attending the event.
Culture Secretary Karen Bradley, the minister responsible for the UK's WW1 Centenary programme, said: "As we continue to commemorate the centenary of the First World War, it is important that we remember the horrors of the battlefields of Ypres and honour the many who lost their lives.
"Some of the First World War’s most defining images of futility, mud, gas attacks and trenches come from these very battlefields."
Images and film will be projected onto the Cloth Hall, rebuilt after the Great War, as part of events in Ieper's Market Square on July 30 marking the start of the Passchendaele Centenary commemorations (Photo: Centenary News)
The historic Flemish wool town of Ypres stood in a bulge on the front line for most of the war, defended by British, Commonwealth and Belgian forces against the German Army.
Britain launched its main Western Front offensive of 1917 at Ypres on July 31, with the aim of breaking out and recapturing control of the occupied Belgian coast,
Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig's three month-campaign, officially called the Third Battle of Ypres, is notorious for being fought in appalling conditions, the battlefields of Flanders churned into thick mud by shellfire and torrential rain.
The battle, also known as Passchendaele, ended in mid-November with the capture of the village of Passchendaele by Canadian troops.
Australian, Canadian and New Zealand remembrance ceremonies will also be held during the July-November Centenary. More information about the events programme can be found on the Passchendaele 2017 website.
Source: UK Government (Department for Culture, Media & Sport)
Images: Centenary News
Posted by: CN Editorial Team