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Service held in Central Avenue, Sittingbourne, to remember the fallen in the battle of Passchendaele 100 years on

By Poppy Jeffery

A moving service was held in Sittingbourne last weekend to remember those who lost their lives in one of the First World War’s bloodiest conflicts, a century ago.

About 200 people were in Central Avenue on Sunday, July 30, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the battle of Passchendaele.

Names of the 76 men from the area who died in the battle were read out by historian Teresa Emmett and Dave Powell, branch secretary of Sittingbourne and Milton Royal British Legion.

Rear Admiral John Roberts.
Rear Admiral John Roberts.

In total, about 600,000 people were killed.

The fighting, near Sittingbourne’s twin town of Ypres, in Belgium, took place in the summer and autumn of 1917 and saw a large number of Royal Navy servicemen take part in land-based warfare.

The service, which started at 11am with the ringing of a Naval bell, was led by Royal British Legion branch chaplain Pat Tatchell, whose grandfather also fought in, and survived, the battle.

A bell is rung at 11.00am to mark the start of the service
A bell is rung at 11.00am to mark the start of the service

Members of the Royal British Legion, the Mayor of Swale Cllr Colin Prescott, and Deputy Lieutenant of Kent Paul Auston were all in attendance, along with Rear Admiral John Roberts, representing the Navy, the Salvation Army band and a number of cadets.

A project by the Historical Research Group of Sittingbourne (HRGS) helped piece together the history surrounding the conflict and collect the names.

Richard Emmett, HRGS chairman, said: “It went extremely well.

Last Sunday, a service was held at the War Memorial in Sittingbourne to mark the 100 years since the battle of Passchendale in the First World War
Last Sunday, a service was held at the War Memorial in Sittingbourne to mark the 100 years since the battle of Passchendale in the First World War

“We had our guests of honour and Rear Admiral Roberts, who is 93, took the salute for the Navy.

“We’ve had some really nice feedback. Everyone has been saying how moving it was.”

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