The First World War was a battle fought in trenches, sometimes just meters apart. In those small areas thousands of lives were lost.

Some soldiers were physically lost forever. I am amazed at how many headstones in the cemeteries are unknown. Even after almost a 100 years, shells, shrapnel, and human remains make their way to the surface. We treaded carefully in this hallowed area.

The Battle of Passchendaele took place on the Western Front, between June and November 1917, for control of the ridges south and east of the Belgian city of Ypres in West Flanders.The campaign ended in November when the Canadian Corps overcame almost unimaginable hardships to capture this village.

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Photo above: Mud, water, and barbed wire illustrate the terrain through which the Canadians advanced to Passchendaele in 1917.

On the Western Front, the First World War soon turned into a stalemate of trench fighting, with a 1,000 km system of trenches stretching across Belgium and France. From their opposing trenches soldiers faced one another across a deadly “No Man’s Land” of barbed wire, exploding artillery shells and machine-gun fire.

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Photo above: Photo: A Canadian soldier’s dugout. Battle of Passchendaele. November 1917.

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Photo above: Tyne Cot Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery and Memorial to the Missing. 11,954 soldiers are buried there, 8,367 are unnamed.

More than 4,000 Canadians died in the Battle of Passchendaele and almost 12,000 were wounded.

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Photo above: The Passchendaele Memorial which commemorates the Canadian Corps who fought in Passchendaele. The memorial is located on the former site of Crest Farm, which was captured by the 4th Canadian Division during the assault of 30 October 1917.

– Shaun

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