Prince William chokes back tears at war memorial

Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, left, Queen Mathilde of Belgium, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Prime Minister Theresa May during a ceremony at the Commonwealth War Graves Commisions’s Tyne Cot Cemetery in Ypres, Belgium.

The Duke of Cambridge has admitted to choking back tears as he paid tribute to the thousands killed at Passchendaele on the 100th anniversary of the World War One battle.
Prince William told of his emotional reaction to hearing the Last Post at Menin Gate, Ypres, with the families of soldiers killed in the bloodbath.
He was so moved that he recounted Sunday’s service when he met interns who have been showing relatives around cemeteries in Ypres, Belgium.
“It was phenomenal a proper teary moment for me,” the Duke of Cambridge said.
“At the end it was so amazing. It was very, very moving.”
On Sunday night, the duke gave a speech before he and the Duchess of Cambridge heard the Last Post and watched as thousands of poppies cascaded from the ceiling of the gate.
Before going to the main ceremony at Tyne Cot, he stopped in at another cemetery, Bedford House, to see the graves of five Irish Guardsman killed 100 years ago to the day.
The Prince of Wales joined them and joked that he needed his gumboots after going into a still-flooded First World War bunker in the town of Zonnebeke, near Ypres.
Accompanied by King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of Belgium, he went about 9m below ground where the air is still fetid and the wooden floorboards are still running with water.
There he met the grandson and great-grandson of one of the men who excavated it Company Sergeant Major Henry Hawtin of 171 Tunnelling Company.
He and his team dug it out in 1917 under the ruins of an 11th century church flattened by German artillery.
His grandson, retired RAF Regiment Wing Commander Pete Hawtin, 49, said: “Prince Charles was fascinated to meet relatives of a man who had physically been down there.
“He just couldn’t believe that men would be that far below ground and how they could survive down there and work.”
Hawtin, from near Thetford, Norfolk, also pointed to Charles’s Gordon Highlanders badge and Welsh Guards insignia.
“I am covering all the bases. I am Colonel in Chief of these regiments,” Prince Charles told him.
Mr Hawtin’s son, Tom, 22, a writer, felt honoured by the interest the prince showed.
“It’s an incredible honour for Prince Charles to recognise not only my great-grandfather but all the unsung heroes. Tunnelling was a very secret, very dangerous and unseen war,” Hawtin said. PA

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