Passchendaele centenary: New standard dedication at Stotfold service marking 100 years since start of Third Battle of Ypres

The dedication of the new standard for the new amalgamated Stotfold and Arlesey branch of the Royal

The dedication of the new standard for the new amalgamated Stotfold and Arlesey branch of the Royal British Legion at St Mary's Church in Stotfold, at Friday's service commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Third Battle of Ypres, or Passchendaele. Picture: David Langridge - Credit: Archant

The old and bold of Stotfold, Arlesey and beyond have come together to mark a century since the start of the Third Battle of Ypres.

July 31 marks a century since the first day of the battle, which is commonly known in the public mind as Passchendaele.

The anniversary was marked at St Mary’s Church in Stotfold on Friday evening, with a service that also saw the dedication of the standard for the new joint Stotfold and Arlesey branch of the Royal British Legion.

The old Stotfold branch standard was formally laid up at the same service, which was led by Rev Bill Britt.

Branch vice-chairman David Langridge said: “The service was well attended by legion branch standards and members, as well as the community.

“They included the Royal British Legion county chairman Eric Robinson, Central Bedfordshire Council vice-chairman Brian Saunders, and Alan Cooper – the mayor of Stotfold.

“They jointly read out the names from Stotfold’s First World War roll of honour during the service of commemoration.

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“In support were many standards from nearby Legion branches – Flitwick, Haynes, Cotton End, Clapham, Wilstead and Biggleswade.”

Also present were the standards of the Luton and Dunstable REME Association and the Bedford branch of the RASC RCT Association.

Stotfold and Arlesey branch chairman Andy Fievez was parade marshal, and Peter Rogers was standard bearer for the laying up of the old Stotfold standard and the dedication of the new Stotfold and Arlesey standard.

The Third Battle of Ypres lasted until November 1917. Historians differ on the exact number of casualties, with estimates generally between 400,000 and 500,000.