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Anniversary of Passchendaele at Auckland Museum

In Commemoration of Our Darkest Day

The 90th anniversary of Passchendaele at Auckland Museum

On two days in October 1917, in the farmlands of Belgium, New Zealand suffered two of its greatest tragedies. On 4 October 490 New Zealand servicemen were killed. Eight days later on 12 October there was an even greater loss. Of 3000 casualties on that day, over 840 young New Zealanders lay dead or dying in the mud and uncut wire, before the village of Passchendaele.

The Auckland War Memorial Museum, RSA and NZ Defence Force invite the city of Auckland to honour those who served in the 1917 Battle of Passchendaele at a commemorative service on Friday October 12th, 2007 at 4pm. This service is part of a programme of events that honour the 90th anniversary of this most tragic battle.

The 2007 service is the first event held at the Auckland Museum to commemorate Passchendaele – a battle that claimed the most lives taken in one single day of warfare in the history of NZ. The service is an opportunity to commemorate our fallen soldiers and to remember their sacrifice, determination and courage in the face of overwhelming odds. The ceremony includes a performance by the massed bands of the Royal Regiment of the New Zealand Artillery, the Royal New Zealand Air Force, Base Auckland and the Auckland Police Pipe band. The memorial service will last approximately 45 minutes and will include keynote speakers, the laying of wreaths, the Last Post and a minute’s silence (signaled by the firing of a minute gun by the Royal New Zealand Artillery).

Auckland Museum further extends the remembrance with Project Passchendaele. This recently launched online campaign seeks photographs, letters, personal papers and reminiscences owned by the descendants of those that served in Passchendaele. The information collected will ensure that this significant chapter of New Zealand’s history does not remain a forgotten war tragedy.

The Passchendaele public programme also includes the exhibition of a stunning series of images that capture the days surrounding the battle (as photographed by New Zealand servicemen). This exhibition will be presented in a slideshow format from October 6 – 14. On October 6 and 7 are a series of readings from War Dairies and Poetry written by soldiers from the front line (these will be held on the hour between 11am and 2pm). Finally there will be series of informative talks held from midday on October 13 and 14 concerning the Battle of Passchendaele.

The Passchendaele Commemorative Service will commence at 4pm on the consecrated ground surrounding the Cenotaph on Friday October 12.

For information and submission forms for Project Passchendaele visit http://www.aucklandmuseum.com/?t=376&m=pass


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