Australian Commemorative Ceremony for the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of Messines
The Battle of Messines was the first large-scale action involving Australian troops in Belgium and also marked the first entry of the 3rd Australian Division into a major battle. While the battle was seen as an important success for the British Army leading up to the beginning of the Third Battle of Ypres several weeks later, this battle saw Australia suffer over 6000 casualties.
On Wednesday 7 June 2017 the community of Comines-Warneton, assisted by the Australian Defence Force, will conduct a ceremony to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Messines. The ceremony will take place at 11.00am in the Strand Military Cemetery, Ploegsteert. The ceremony will run for around 45 minutes. Following the ceremony the public are invited to visit the Ploegsteert Interpretive Centre (Plugstreet 14-18 Experience) and view a temporary exhibition on Australian stories from the Battle of Messines. The Strand Military Cemetery is located on the N365, 4 Kms beyond Messines (Mesen) and immediately before the village of Ploegsteert. Attendees are asked to arrive at the cemetery by 10.30 am.
The Australian commemoration is taking place in the context of a broader programme of events remembering the Battle of Messines. Other commemorative events include:
7 June 2017
08.00 am. A New Zealand Ceremony at the Messines Ridge Cemetery, Mesen (open to the public);
2.00 pm. An Irish, UK and Northern Ireland ceremony at the Island of Ireland Peace Park, Mesen (this is a closed ticketed event); and
4.00 pm. An Irish, UK and Northern Ireland Ceremony Wytschaete Military Cemetery, Wijtschate (this is a closed event).
7.30 pm. A New Zealand Sunset Ceremony at the New Zealand Battlefield Memorial, Messines (open to the public).
(Further details at www.zerohour.be currently only in Dutch but soon to be in English)
On 10 June 2017
A free international commemorative concert called ‘Zero Hour’ will be held at 8 pm and feature the Australian composer Chris Latham. (www.zerohour.be). At 10 pm a spectacular sound and light event (‘Kraterfront’) will feature the lighting of numerous mines craters were detonated to commence the Battle of Messines. (Further details see www.gonewest.be )