Passchendaele

100 Years On

31st July 2017 marked the centenary of the start of the Battle of Passchendaele - also known as the Third Battle of Ypres.  One of the major engagements of the First World War, it entailed hundreds of thousands of casualties on the German and Allied sides.

The Allied objective was to gain control of a number of strategic ridges to the south and east of the city of Ypres on the Western Front.  On the first day of the campaign the Allies launched an artillery barrage, during which more than four million shells were fired.

Fighting continued for more than 100 days. By the end of 1917 however, despite the huge number of casualties, the Allies had gained just five miles of territory.

Services to remember those who fought and died in the campaign were held in Belgium - including a ceremony at the Tyne Cot memorial, where many of the Allied casualties are commemorated.

In Memoriam

Many staff members from Lloyds and the other constituent companies of the Group took part in the Passchendaele offensive.  A significant number gave their lives.  They included Douglas Priestly and Sydney Cleaver, both from Lloyds Bank. 

Priestley died on the first day of fighting. Aged just 20, he was serving with the Lancashire Fusillers.  Before the war, he had been working at Lloyds' branch in Daventry, Northamptonshire.  Priestley is commemorated on the Menin Gate memorial at Ypres.

Sydney Cleaver from Lloyds' Sandgate branch.
Sydney Cleaver, from Lloyds' Sandgate branch.

Sydney Cleaver died during the latter stages of Passchendaele.  Prior to the war, he had been based at Lloyds' branch in Sandgate, Kent.  His name is recorded on the Tynes Cot memorial.

Both men are also commemorated in the Lloyds Bank memorial album, which was produced after the war.

Norris Hallowell of the Halifax staff.
Norris Hallowell of the Halifax staff.

Norris Hallowell from the Halifax is also commemorated at Tyne Cot.  Hallowell worked at the company's head office before signing up to join the 'Bankers' Battalion' in November 1915.

Hallowell served at the Somme in 1916, but died just over a year later at Hollebeke near Ypres in September 1917.   An obituary was later published in the Halifax staff magazine the following year.

Further Information

You can find out more about the impact of the war on the Group and its constituent companies in our First World War exhibition.