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A MUSIC and theatre performance, marking the 100th anniversary of the end of one of the First World War’s bloodiest battles, will be held at the University of Birmingham on 8 and 9 November.

The performance, staged by the Army and schools across the West Midlands, will tell the story of Tommy, a local soldier from the Pals Battalion, on his journey from enlisting in Birmingham to his experiences in the trenches on the Western Front in Belgium as well as the story of loved ones left behind.

Three performances will take place at The Bramall, University of Birmingham, at 12 noon and 7pm on Wednesday 8 November and 12 noon on Thursday 9 November. The matinee performances are exclusively for schools across the West Midlands while the Wednesday evening performance is open to the general public. Entrance is free but please register interest at Passchendaele100.ArmyWestMids@gmail.com

The Battle of Passchendaele took place between 31 July and 10 November 1917. On the allied side were British, French and Commonwealth soldiers with a large contingent from Birmingham and the West Midlands including those from the Pals Battalions. With 275,000 British casualties and 60,082 deaths it was one of the bloodiest campaigns of the First World War.

Army West Midlands Brigade Commander Richard Carter said,

“This should be a terrific and moving performance involving soldiers, pupils and teachers from across the West Midlands. We must never forget the sacrifices made by soldiers and their families to protect the peace and freedoms we enjoy today. With the performances taking place on both the centenary of the Battle of Passchendaele’s bloody end and so close to Armistice Day, it is a particularly poignant time for us to remember, reflect and show respect.”

The Band of the Parachute Regiment and Birmingham City Council Choir will provide musical accompaniment to the performances.

Displays of pupils’ research into activities from 1917, including Passchendaele and the Home Front, will be on show in the foyer of The Bramall over the two days. Modern day Army equipment will be on display outside the theatre.

The performances, called ‘Tommy’s Passchendaele’, will take place close to the University of Birmingham’s Great Hall which was the site of a major military hospital set up at the start of the First World War.

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