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 Timeline - all times may be 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
Parking and Travel
The location of specially reserved car parks in the area will be sent to all those who have registered their interest in attending in the coming weeks and will be available online.
There will be designated parking for blue badge-holders as well as access for those people using wheelchairs and mobility scooters. The Square and its surrounding roads are cobbled and may not be suitable for people using wheelchairs so it is important that you plan your attendance carefully.
While there will be a very small number of seats for those unable to stand for long periods of time, the layout of the Square means that we are unable to offer seats to all those attending and some guests will be standing for long periods of time. Please take this into consideration when planning your attendance.
Because complete darkness is required for the light show, the event will finish late in the evening - around 23:00 - and you may wish to consider whether this will be suitable for you and those coming with you.
Toilets will be available for public use. Accessible toilets will be available for those who require them.
The Passchendaele Centenary Exhibition
A large-scale exhibition will be held at the Passchendaele Memorial Park, Zonnebeke. Artefacts, interactive activities, film screenings, musical performances and talks by historians will bring the history of Passchendaele to life.
The exhibition will be open to the general public over the weekend of the 29th-30th July, as will the Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917.