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“I died in hell. They called it Passchendaele. … I fell into the bottomless mud, and lost the light.”
This description of a Belgian battlefield by British soldier and poet Siegfried Sassoon has long been synonymous with World War I’s Battle of Passchendaele, which began in July 1917 and lasted nearly four grueling months.
This week, tourism agency Visit Flanders continued its five-year World War I commemoration program with a poignant reminder of Passchendaele, a nightmarish conflict marked by seemingly endless rain, inescapable mud and astonishing loss of life—475,000 soldiers were left wounded, dead or missing in action.