William performs a Hongi - a traditional Maori greeting - after arriving in Ypres today

Prince William attends Battle of Passchendale memorial

The Duke of Cambridge was given a warm Maori greeting as he arrived in Ypres to commemorate the New Zealand servicemen who fought and died 100 years ago at the WWI Battle of Passchendaele.

Today’s commemoration marks the centenary of 12 October 1917, a date which became known at the ‘darkest day’ for New Zealand’s armed forces.

On that day, more than 840 Kiwis were killed fighting in a foreign land far from home – part of a huge toll of dead and injured both sides suffered that summer.

Today’s commemoration is being held at Tyne Cot Cemetery in Belgium’s Western Front – the world’s largest Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery.

William performs a Hongi - a traditional Maori greeting - after arriving in Ypres today

William performs a Hongi – a traditional Maori greeting – after arriving in Ypres today

William has arrived in Ypres to commemorate the New Zealand servicemen who fought and died 100 years ago at the WWI Battle of Passchendaele

William has arrived in Ypres to commemorate the New Zealand servicemen who fought and died 100 years ago at the WWI Battle of Passchendaele

Wearing a dark navy suit with a poppy pinned to his lapel, William is attending today’s engagement on behalf of the Queen.

The Duke met with representatives of the New Zealand Parliament and government at Tyne Cot Cemetery in Flanders, which is run by the War Graves Commission, which has responsibility for the burial space.

There will also be a ceremonial welcome from the Maori Cultural Group of the New Zealand Defence Force.

Tyne Cot cemetery is the largest Commonwealth burial ground in the world, with 11,971 servicemen buried and remembered there – 8,373 of whom are unidentified.

William will attend the national commemoration service during which he will give an address on behalf of the Queen and lay a wreath at the New Zealand Memorial Wall to the Missing.

The Duke met with representatives of the New Zealand Parliament and government at Tyne Cot Cemetery in Flanders, which is run by the War Graves Commission, which has responsibility for the burial space

The Duke met with representatives of the New Zealand Parliament and government at Tyne Cot Cemetery in Flanders, which is run by the War Graves Commission, which has responsibility for the burial space

After the service he will take part in the unveiling of a Centenary Plinth to mark the occasion.

Later at the Tyne Cot visitor centre, he will meet New Zealand youth ambassadors and historian Ian McGibbon, who will provide a military overview of Passchendaele.

The visit will end with a lunch reception and among the guests will be Willie Apiata, the first and so far only recipient of the Victoria Cross for New Zealand.

Members of the 90-strong New Zealand Defence Force Contingent in Belgium for the commemoration.

Posted on; DailyMail>>

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