Yesterday Prince William remembered New Zealand soldiers who died in the Battle of Passchendaele in World War One. After a traditional Maori greeting from members of the New Zealand Defence Force, William gave a heartfelt speech about the battle and laid a wreath at the New Zealand Memorial Wall to the Missing.
“There was nothing ordinary about their service or their sacrifice,” he said of the many New Zealand soldiers who died 100 years ago on October 12, 1917. “For New Zealanders, the loss of more than 840 men in just a few hours is seared into the national consciousness. All told, the Battle of Passchendaele would claim close to two thousand lives – a devastating toll for a country with a population of just over a million. Half a world away, news of the losses was felt like a shockwave. Every death here left a shattered family there. Entire communities were robbed of their young people. No part of New Zealand was untouched by loss,” he said, reports The Daily Mail.
The Battle of Passchendaele was one of the bloodiest battles of the First World War. The commemoration was held on Belgium’s Western Front at the Tyne Cot Cemetery, which is the biggest commonwealth burial ground in the world. 11,971 soldiers are buried there.