October 12 marked the 100th anniversary of New Zealand’s darkest day on a battlefield: The Battle of Passchendaele.
Officially 843 New Zealanders died and over 1700 were wounded in just the first few hours of October 12th 1917, as allied troops tried and failed to take the village of Passchendaele in Belgium.
The battle eventually claimed the lives of nearly 2000 New Zealand soldiers.
Historian, Ian McGibbon said that while 843 New Zealanders were officially listed as killed in the first few hours of the offensive, his research into the wounded shows that another 114 men died over the next three months from wounds received on that morning.
Canadian troops eventually captured what was left of Passchendaele in early November, but six months later the Germans retook it and held it until just before the end of the war.
The New Zealand National Commemorative service was held in Belgium. Other services were held in New Zealand, including at the Pukeahu National War Memorial Park and the Auckland War Memorial Museum.