Ten members of Trinity College gave their lives in the Third Battle of Ypres, or Passchendaele. One of the most terrible battles of the First World War, it was fought in appalling conditions over 105 days between 31 July and 10 November 1917.
The battlefield around the town of Leper (Ypres) had been bitterly contested twice before, in the autumn of 1914 and the spring of 1915, and when the shattered ruins of the small village of Passchendaele were finally gained, it was a hollow victory, won at a terrible cost. The fallen numbered 325,000 allied troops, and 260,000 Germans, killed by shelling and rifle fire or dead from infected wounds or simply drowned in the deep and filthy Flanders mud. Over 90,000 of the fallen were never identified; the bodies of 42,000 were never recovered.
On 31 July the fallen of both sides were commemorated in international events held at the Menin Gate in Leper, and at the nearby Tyne Cot Cemetery and Memorial. The Menin Gate records the names of those with no known grave who fell in the Ypres Salient before 17 August 1917, and the Tyne Cot memorial, those who fell after that date.
The photograph below of the Tyne Cot memorial stone shows, at the top, wreaths laid by H.R.H. the Prince of Wales, and by His Majesty King Philippe of the Belgians. King Philippe is a member of Trinity College, who studied a special course in constitutional history here in 1983. At the bottom right of this photograph is Trinity wreath laid on behalf of the College by Mr Gordon Davies, great-nephew of David Davies (1915). David was killed in command of a tank on the first day of the battle, and the day before his 20th birthday. We are deeply grateful to Gordon, who, over several days visited and photographed the graves or memorials of each of ‘our’ men.
We Will Remember Them.
Posted: 10 November 2017