We are strolling towards Passchendaele, a ridgetop village in Flanders, Belgium. Alongside the easy-rising, sunlit trail, a farmer aboard a tractor ploughs his field, the chocolate earth pungent. Larks sing as the path enters the shade of elms. Remnants of a railway track, once used by the German military, moulder beneath lichen. The road to Passchendaele is not like this in the chronicles of war. Article by Tony Wright of Traveller

There, it is a nightmare of men trapped in sucking mud, of artillery blowing lives and forests to smithereens, of horses bogged to the haunches, and clouds of a vicious new weapon, mustard gas, creeping through it all.

This trail, in the latter months of 1917, was the worst place on Earth.

Here, a series of battles began in late July with an artillery barrage of 4 million shells from 3000 British guns, tearing the landscape to pieces.

The heaviest rain for 30 years began falling on the first day of the battle, continued in August and resumed in October. Fields became quagmires. When it was all over in early November, the British forces had lost 310,000 men. The Germans were down 260,000.

Within this malevolent mincing machine were Australia's divisions.

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