The Duke of Cambridge will be representing his grandmother, The Queen at the New Zealand Commemoration for the Battle of Passchendaele on 12 October.
By invitation of the New Zealand government, the event honours what is now known as the ‘darkest day’ of World War I after the New Zealand Division endured severe losses at the Third Battle of Ypres. New Zealand lost six percent of their total casualties at the battle with another 1700 men wounded or being prisoners of war.
The day will start off at Tyne Cor Cemetery in Flanders where Prince William will be met by members of the New Zealand government and Commonwealth War Graves Commission. A ceremonial welcome by the Māori Cultural Group of the New Zealand Defence Force will also take place.
At the National Commemoration Service, the Duke will lay a wreath at the New Zealand Memorial Wall to the Missing after addressing the attendees.
There will also be an unveiling of a Centenary Plinth before Prince Wiliam meets with New Zealand youth ambassadors and historian Dr Ian McGibbon who is an expert on the Third Battle of Ypres.
The day will finish with a lunch reception with guests such as New Zealand’s only living Victoria Cross recipient, Willie Apiata VC and the New Zealand Defence Force Contingent in Belgium.
Nearly 10% of New Zealand’s population, around 100,000 people, served with the New Zealand Expeditionary Force during World War One. With another 2200 Māori and around 500 Pacific Islanders serving overseas. The war would claim 18,000 New Zealanders and wounded another 41,000.
To remember those lost, 500 memorials are set up around New Zealand with the names of those who died.
Tyne Cot Cemetery, also referred to as ‘Tyne Cottage’ is the “world’s largest Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery, and the final resting place of almost 12,000 servicemen of the British Empire from the First World War.”