The battle lasted only a few hours, but on 12 October 1917, New Zealand lost more people in a single event than at any other time in our history.
Yr 7 - 8 Activity
1. Create a comic strip detailing the events of 12 October 1917.
Yr 9 -10 Activity
2. Research a New Zealand soldier's experience of the Battle of Passchendaele.
3. Make a stop motion film using modelling clay or similar materials to depict their experiences that day.
Barrage: (N) a concentrated artillery bombardment over a wide area.
Pillbox: (N) a concrete structure, housing soldiers and machine guns, with loopholes for firing out of, used to defend an area. The name derives from the often hexagonal shape of medicinal pills sold at the time.
Yards: (N) a unit of linear measure equal to 3 feet (0.9144 metre).
Zero Hour: The Anzacs on the Western Front Leon Davidson
Passchendaele: The Anatomy of a Tragedy Andrew Macdonald
Ngā Tapuwae Trails https://ngatapuwae.govt.nz/
1. Utter desolation, not a blade of grass or a tree, a heap of bricks marking where a house once stood.
2. Men get stuck in the mud - foul quagmire trapping soldiers and pack animals as they struggled to the front.
3. The Allies' artillery barrage opened up 200 yards short of the specified range and therefore exploded in the midst of the Allied troops.
4. A long line of undamaged concrete machine gun emplacements with barbed wire entanglements about 50 yards deep.
5. Of 180 men in Leonard's battalion, only 32 survived.
"...I died in Hell
(they called it Passchendaele) my wound was slight
and I was hobbling back; and then a shell
burst slick upon the duckboards; so I fell
into the bottomless mud, and lost the light”
Seigfried Sassoon (Memorial Tablet)
Seigfried Sassoon was a British war poet who served on the Western Front. Read more about him at the Poetry Foundation
Press play to hear the extract read
At 5:25am the men crawled out of the trenches. They made their way through the driving rain and thigh-deep mud, which slowed everyone down and swallowed the dead and wounded soldiers.
One by one they were shot down, picked off by German machine gun fire from concrete pillboxes. Those who reached the barbed wire desperately tried to cut through what should have been destroyed by the barrage earlier; they were easy targets for snipers hiding in trees and shell holes.
"Have you ever wondered what it would feel like to know you are to be killed in a matter of seconds?"
Arthur Straton, NZ Divisional Column
Yr 7 - 10 Activity
1. Watch the video about Leonard Hart's experience at Passchendaele and answer the following questions...
How does he describe the scenery as he is marching towards the front line?
What was the effect of heavy rain on the battlefield?
Explain the 'blunder'.
What did Leonard find at the top of the ridge?
How many men in his unit survived?