Passchendaele: Remembering and Forgetting in New Zealand

  • Jock Phillips


On 4 October 1917, 484 New Zealand soldiers died at Passchendaele in Belgium; eight days later another 842 perished in an attack on Bellevue Spur, the largest loss of life in New Zealand’s recorded history. Yet compared with other Great War battles, such as Gallipoli and Messines, few New Zealanders in the twentieth century investigated these events. Historian Jock Phillips reveals multiple reasons for the amnesia that surrounded the disastrous battle of Passchendaele. These include the delayed return home of New Zealand soldiers, censorship of their letters, the desire not to upset relatives who had lost loved ones, positive press coverage and official war histories blaming the mud and weather with no exploration of decision-making by officers. Despite the amnesia, Passchendaele still haunts New Zealand’s commemorative landscape.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jock Phillips
    • 1
  1. 1.NZHistoryJockWellingtonNew Zealand

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