Son marks family’s World War service

Ernest Tacon

Ernest Tacon - Credit: Archant

In July one of the muddiest and bloodiest battles of the First World War will be remembered.

Events in Ypres, Belgium, will be held to mark the centenary year of the Battle of Passchendaele and 4,000 tickets are to be released for a ceremony at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's Tyne Cot Cemetery.

One person looking to attend is Richard Tacon, 73, of Rollesby. His father and four uncles, who were also from the village, all fought for their country in the First World War.

One of his uncles, Ernest Tacon who was a 2nd Lieutenant at Lancashire Hussars, was killed during the battle on October 9, 1917.

'I have applied to go to the Paschendale commemoration, but tickets are pretty much a lottery draw,' said Richard.

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'There are 4,000 free tickets being offered by the British government but if 20,000 apply then it might be quite a long shot. I have been to Tyne Cot before and seen my uncle's name up there but it would be great to go to the ceremony wife my wife.'

Officially known as the Third Battle of Ypres, Passchendaele was fought from July 31 to November 6 1917 in the West Flanders region of northern Belgium.

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It is remembered as one of the harshest battles of the war, with heavy rain contributing to the Allies gaining only five miles of ground in three months. About 325,000 Allied troops and 260,000 Germans died in the battle. Richard's father and three uncles survived the war.

In 2014, to mark the centenary of the start of the war, Mr Tacon started researching into his family's involvement in it. From there he was able to find old archive write-ups and pictures of his family.

A December 1917 copy of the local Flegg magazine featured a comment on Ernest Tacon's death from his commanding office.

Mr Tacon said: 'Times were very different back then and I suppose to have four out of five brothers return make it out of the war, when you compare it to other families we were quite lucky.'

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