The hell that was Passchendaele
In just three months of hell, Passchendaele cost over half a million lives – the Germans lost about 250,000, and the British about the same. The small, new nation of Australia, with a population of fewer than five million, lost 36,500 men. Ninety thousand British or Australian bodies were never even identified, and 42,000 were never recovered. Eventually, on November 12, the Canadians took the village of Passchendaele, or what was left of it, and the battle was finally over.
Commander in Chief of the British Expeditionary Force Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig (nicknamed the 'Butcher of the Somme') did not even visit the Western Front and ignored reports of the appalling conditions there.
When his Chief of Staff, Sir Lancelot Kiggell, visited near the end of the campaign he reportedly broke down and said: "Good God, did we really send men to fight in that?"
Australia had the only volunteer army on the Western Front -- all the others were conscripted forces ...
Categories: wwI, uk, germany, australia, history, war, military, canada