Passchendaele, Ruins of the Church at the End of the Road, 30 July 1919
David B. Milne
watercolour over graphite on wove paper
35.4 x 50.5 cm
Transfer from the Canadian War Memorials, 1921
National Gallery of Canada (no. 8476)
Ypres and its surrounding region saw some of the most ferocious warfare. The battles to capture the nearby village of Passchendaele resulted in 5,486 Canadian casualties for an advance of four and a half miles. In 1917 the Canadian Corps found itself in roughly the same position it had held two years earlier when the Germans launched their infamous gas attacks. By this time little of Passchendaele was recognizable to the soldiers. The whole battlefield (once farmland and woods) was a hideous swamp where falling could mean drowning in the mud.