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7am 'rocket launch' will mark anniversary of WW1's bloodiest battle

Dozens of Macclesfield men perished in the fighting.

The Battle of Passchendaele.(Image: Wikipedia)

Tribute will be paid to the 95 local men killed in the notorious Battle of Passchendaele.

Also known as the 3rd Battle of Ypres it lasted between July 31 and November 10, 1917 and was one of the bloodiest of the First World War.

Around 325,000 Allied soldiers killed or wounded.

At least 60 men from Macclesfield and a further 35 from the surrounding villages were killed in the battle.

Seven from the town died on the first day of the battle including Private Arthur Cantrell, who was only 22 when he was killed in action serving the 1/6th Battalion, Cheshire Regiment.

Others include Ernest Ferneyhough, George Kirkham, Joshua Makin, Harold Mayers, Frank Roome, Joseph Steele and Richard Davies.

On Monday, July 31, veterans and civic leaders will meet at the war memorial at Park Green, Macclesfield, to pay tribute.

The event, organised by the Royal British Legion, will start with four rockets detonated in quick succession at 7.10am.

This will represent the detonation of 19 mines at 3.10am at Messines Ridge on 7th June 1917.

Seven from the town died on the first day of the battle including Private Arthur Cantrell, who was only 22 when he was killed in action serving the 1/6th Battalion, Cheshire Regiment.

The massive explosion was heard as far away as London and Dublin, and was the prelude to the Battle of Passchendaele.

Cheshire East Council is to hold a ceremony of commemoration at Wilmslow War Memorial at 2pm on Monday, July 31.

Councillor Rachel Bailey, leader of the council, East Council, said: “There were many families in Cheshire who suffered the loss of a loved one during this appallingly difficult and brutal battle. So it is only right that now, 100 years on, we remember them and pay tribute to their great sacrifice.

“It is tremendously important that today’s generation, thankfully largely untouched by conflict, continues to remember and honour the sacrifice made during the First World War.”

Meanwhile the lives and deaths of men from the area at Passchendaele will be commemorated in a new exhibition by Macclesfield and Cheshire Villages Great War Societies.

The free exhibition in the Salvation Army Hall, Roe Street, Macclesfield, on Saturday August 5, 10am until 5pm, will also have a WWI research help desk provided by the Macclesfield Group of the Family History Society of Cheshire.

For more visit macclesfieldreflects.org.uk

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