By Judith Phillips
Last week saw the official commemoration of the beginning of the Third Battle of Ypres which is perhaps more often referred to as Passchendaele. It has come to signify another long-lasting battle of attrition involving terrible loss of life amid dreadful conditions.
The weather we have been experiencing recently – so much rain in late July and early August – serve as a reminder that summer does not necessarily mean warm, dry days. Certainly summer rain badly affected the men on the Western Front involved in the summer battles of 1917, as the earth turned to mud. It is clear from the work project volunteers are doing to identify dates of death for men recorded on war memorials throughout Teesdale that there were a significant number of deaths in 1917. Local men were involved in the fighting around Passchendaele, especially as the fighting in 1917 involved men who had been conscripted into the army under the new regulations that came into force in 1916.
Do you have relatives from Teesdale who fought at Passchendaele? If you have, we’d like to hear about their experiences. As always, it is more difficult to find about the men who survived, so any information is helpful.