EVERY year of the Great War saw horrendous loss of life in the major battles. 1914 saw the retreat at Mons and 1915 witnessed the debacles of Gallipoli and Loos.

In 1916 the Royal Navy met its match at Jutland and in July the dreadful battle of the Somme started, the first day of which is regarded as the worst day in the history of the British Army.

On Remembrance Sunday, we will particularly remember 1917, the year when more British and Commonwealth soldiers died than in any other year of the war during the battles that became known as the Third Battle of Ypres. It started at Arras in the early part of that year when in just five weeks there were thousands of British casualties and 3,500 soldiers died each and every day – the heaviest daily loss of the war.

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Later that year, in the rain and mud of Passchendaele, where it is thought many soldiers drowned in the many shellholes, Stockton’s Sergeant Edward Cooper was awarded the Victoria Cross for conspicuous gallant conduct at Langemarck.

Let us remember those young, very young and not so young men who died during that fateful year 100 years ago.

Lest we forget.

Colin Hatton, treasurer, Western Front Association (Cleveland branch), Marton, Middlesbrough