Commemoration the Battle of Messines 1917
On 7 June, the Battle of Messines was commemorated in the presence of the Duke of Cambridge, Princess Astrid, Irish Prime Minister Kenny and Flemish Minister President Bourgeois.
Hundred years ago nineteen mines, secretly planned underground, were detonated beneath German army lines in Messines (Mesen) and Heuvelland. The joint explosion was the start of a bloody and very deadly week in World War I. Thousands of soldiers, on German and allied side, died. New Zealand, Australia, Great Britain and Ireland commemorated the fallen soldiers with several ceremonies in Flanders Fields.
Minister-president Bourgeois attended several ceremonies. Like the New Zealand ceremony in Messines Ridge Cemetary with Ambassador Gregory Andrews and Governor General of New Zealand, Patsy Reddy. And the ceremony at the Ireland Peace Park in Mesen where he and former Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny laid wreathes at the Irish Tower.
On this day, Minister-president Bourgeois announced the provisional protection of nine mine craters of the Battle of Messines. "Till this day, the craters are the material witness of a global conflict that froze the frontline and Flanders Fields for years and demanded countless human lives. The commemoration of the First World War has broad public and international support. The save guarding of the craters as landscape witnesses will provide a lasting memory of the Great War.”