Remembering the victims of Passchendaele

The Menin Gate, scene of a daily memorial service remembering the British and Commonwealth soldiers who were killed in and around the town of Ypres during the First World War and whose graves are unknown.
The Menin Gate, scene of a daily memorial service remembering the British and Commonwealth soldiers who were killed in and around the town of Ypres during the First World War and whose graves are unknown.

Scottish soldiers who fought at the Battle of Passchendaele were remembered today as commemorations begin to mark tomorrow’s centenary.

Thousands attended a parade and service in Crieff to commemorate the First World War battle, which cost tens of thousands of British and Commonwealth lives.

The British offensive was staged near Ypres from July 31 to November 10 1917, over fields of liquid mud.

It ended four miles from its start point, having cost both sides 585,000 casualties - 325,000 Allied and 260,000 German.

The 9th and 15th Scottish Divisions and the 51st Highland Division were deployed for the operation, also known as the Third Battle of Ypres, along with many expat comrades in Scottish battalions from Canada, England and South Africa.

While today’s Scottish ceremony was taking place, royalty, politicians and relatives were gathering in Ypres for a ceremony at the Menin Gate, which is etched with the names of thousands of missing soldiers.

Defence secretary Sir Michael Fallon said the commemoration was for all of those who died in the conflict on both sides.

A live programme presented today by Kirsty Young be followed with another tomorrow from 11am and 7pm, from a special BBC studio at the Commonwealth Grave Commission’s Tyne Cot Cemetery.