On 30 July, the eve of the Centenary of Passchendaele – The Third Battle of Ypres, a number of events will take place in Ypres.
On the eve of the Centenary, the nightly Last Post ceremony will take place in the presence of the descendants of some of those named on the Menin Gate and selected invited guests.
In order to ensure as many people as possible can participate, members of the public will be able to watch event live, at 20:00, on a large screen in Ypres Market Square – just a few hundred yards from the Menin Gate.
At the conclusion of the Last Post ceremony, there will be a break of approximately an hour, during which restaurants and bars on the square will remain open. Then, at sundown, a multi-media commemorative event will commence in the Square.
This event, the first of its kind, will tell the story of the First World War on the Ypres Salient, with a particular focus on Passchendaele – The Third Battle of Ypres, through projections of visual archival material alongside live theatrical and musical performance. The historic Cloth Hall at the heart of Ypres will be its central canvas.
The event will show a contemporary audience all that was unique and significant about this particular theatre of the First World War, and how fighting on the Ypres Salient came to define the wartime experience of so many men from across Britain and the Commonwealth. In the words of one soldier who fought, “Perhaps no normal infantryman who had been through a 1917 Passchendaele attack would ever be quite the same again. This was the battlefield of all battlefields which exposed the ultimate degradation of fighting.”
Projection mapping content will include the creative use of original archive material, such as photographs, artworks, film and audio, as well as bespoke animation. For example, guests will be able to hear from the men who fought at Passchendaele themselves, through projecting interviews with veterans. Live performance will include music by a military tri-service orchestra and solo musicians, as well as performances by actors and well-known public figures with a link to Passchendaele.
Access to the event
Market Square will be open during the day on 30 July, allowing members of the public to see the historic Cloth Hall, and visit the In Flanders Fields Museum, as well as shops, bars and restaurants around the square.
From late afternoon, as preparations for the event begin, the Square will close to the public for a short period of time. At 17:00 the Square will reopen to the public. There will be a number of access points around Market Square, which will be very clearly marked. At each location, those wishing to enter the Square must pass through airport-style security searches before they are allowed access. As long as the capacity of the Square has not been reached, guests may leave the area and then re-enter but will have to go through the search again on their return.
Tickets are not required to enter the Square.
Due to the nature and layout of the Square, seating will not be available, but there will be a designated area for wheelchair-users and the bars and restaurants on the Square will remain open.
The exact locations of the access points will be shared shared closer to the event.
30 July 2017 Timeline – all times are subject to change
15:00 – Square closed for event preparations
17:00 – Square re-opens to the public
20:00 – Menin Gate event screened in the Market Square (no public access to the Menin Gate)
21:30 – Event in the Market Square begins
23:00 – Event ends
Public pre-registration form – 30 July 2017
The event in the Market Square, which will be free of charge to attend, is expected to be subject to high public demand. For this reason, and so that we can anticipate how many people are interested in attending, it is very important that you let the organisers know if you would like to attend by registering below.
By registering you will also ensure that you receive regular updates regarding the event, including information about what to bring and when to arrive.
You can register your interest below: if you are intending on travelling as a group you will only need to register the group once; there is no need to register individually.