31st July – 10th November 1917

Third Battle of Ypres

The Third Battle of Ypres was a series of battles fought along the Western Front as part of an Allied offensive to take Flanders in Belgium. The operation which took place took place under terrible conditions included at least eight battles from the Battle of Pilckhem Ridge to the Second Battle of Passchendaele. Driving rain turned the battlefield into a sea of mud and ruined soldiers' morale.

General Hubert Gough of Co. Waterford, described the scenes from the battle, "The surplus water poured into the trenches.... Wounded men falling headlong into the shell-holes were in danger of drowning. Mules slipped from the tracks and were often drowned in the giant shell-holes alongside. Guns sank till they became useless; rifles caked and would not fire; even food was tainted with the inevitable mud. No battle in history was ever fought under such conditions as that of Passchendaele." Over 240,000 British soldiers and 337,000 German soldiers were lost in the battle. Private F. G. Room of the Royal Irish was awarded the Victoria Cross for his courage acting as a stretcher bearer in saving the lives of many of his comrades under dangerous conditions.

First World War, Military & Policing
Stretcher bearers wading through the mud at Ypres.
© NMNI, Collection Ulster Museum BELUM.Y12869