Provincial press releases

Bishop blesses Passchendaele memorial stones

A new memorial to the Welsh soldiers killed or injured at Passchendaele will be blessed by the Church’s Senior Bishop at the service marking the centenary of the WW1 battle.

Seven stones, showing the cap badges of the five Welsh Regiments and two Welsh Divisions, will be unveiled during the Welsh National Service of Remembrance at the Welsh Memorial in Flanders in Langemark, Belgium, today (July 31).

They will be blessed by the Bishop of Swansea and Brecon, John Davies, at the end of the service, which will be attended by the Prince of Wales, First Minister, Carwyn Jones, and other Welsh political party leaders. The Mayor of Langemark and the Minister-President of Flanders will also be present.

The Cromlech memorial

The stones were donated by a quarry in Pontypridd which also gave the larger stones for the Cromlech memorial – the 9ft dragon sculpture unveiled in 2014.

The service, led by the Revd Canon Aled Edwards, will honour the 3,000 Welshmen who died or were injured in the Third Battle of Ypres (Passchendaele) which began 100 years ago and lasted 103 days.

Bishop John said, “Our remembering past tragic events has the capacity to engage our minds and challenge us to work for a better and peaceful future. Remembering the catastrophic and grotesque events that occurred in and around Flanders during the First World War is vital to our understanding of the cost of human perversity. We have the capacity to be compassionate, gentle, strong and loving; but we also have the capacity to visit upon others the most dreadful suffering in the pursuit of our own desires and goals.

“The human cost on both sides of the events which we are now commemorating, is almost impossible to comprehend That cost must never be forgotten and it must never be repeated. It must stand as a constant challenge to us all to live in peace, to work for peace and to support those who long for peace.”

 

This photo, left, shows wreathes on the grave of Welsh poet, Hedd Wyn,who was killed on the first day of the battle of Passchendaele.