Towneley's touching Passchendale tribute

41 Burnley soldiers were killed on the first day of the battle.
41 Burnley soldiers were killed on the first day of the battle.

The 100th anniversary of the beginning of the battle of Passchendale, at which almost half a million soldiers died, has been marked by the laying of commemorative crosses.

The wooden crosses were laid at the war memorial in Towneley in respect of the 41 men from Burnley who were killed on the first day of the battle.

The crosses were laid at the war memorial in Towneley.

The crosses were laid at the war memorial in Towneley.

The borough has also held a number of events to mark important milestones as part of the centenary commemorations around the First World War.

The next major event as part of the borough’s programme of ‘respectful remembrance’ will be held on Saturday, September 2nd to remember two Burnley soldiers who were awarded the highest military honour: the Victoria Cross.

Hugh Colvin and Thomas Whitham were awarded the venerable medal for their bravery during the conflict, with a ceremony to be held in the town’s Peace Garden, outside the Central Library, from 11am.

The ceremony will centre on the unveiling of commemorative paving stones in honour of the men and will feature students from Thomas Whitam Sixth Form Centre and a Guard of Honour of the Coldstream Guards. Members of the public are invited to attend.

Councillor Lian Pate, Burnley Council’s Armed Forces Champion and Chair of the local Armed Forces Community Covenant, said: “It’s important that Burnley remembers and commemorates the contribution of soldiers from our borough who served in the First World War.”

During the Battle of Passchendaele, an estimated 245,000 allied and 215,000 German casualties (dead, wounded, or missing) fell during the fighting, with the battle consisting of approximately 100 days of heavy fighting for a movement of the front line of only eight kilometres.

The centenary of the battle has been marked with large-scale ceremonies in the Belgian town of Ypres.