This walk leads you through the grounds, past places where bodies were exhumed. They are marked by ‘reflection points’, which commemorate the tragedies that took place here. Along the way you will get to know several of the men who fought and died close to the museum.
You can get a free walking map at the reception of the Passchendaele Museum and Tourism Department. Poles mark where Allied soldiers were exhumed after the war. The painted lines indicate the number of fallen soldiers who had a field grave there. A red line means the body could be identified.
This walk is not fully accessible for wheelchair users. Nodes 4 and 5 are difficult to reach for people with mobile disabilities. If necessary, follow the diversions on the walking plan (2.6 km).
William "Willie" Hyams, was born in 1886 in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. He was the son of Rachel and Phillip Hyams and was married to Ethel May Hyams with whom he had two daughters. On 11 March 1916, the shoemaker, enlisted in Melbourne and on 1 August 1916 he left Melbourne in aboard HMAT A28 Miltiades with the 14th reinforcement of the 24th Battalion, part of the 6th Australian Brigade of the 2nd Australian Division.
On 4 October, the Battalion was to capture Broodseinde ridge, but first they had to pass through Zonnebeke Castle Park. The 24th assembled at Tokyo. They used shell holes and old trenches to form a line.
At 5.30am, just before the battalion was to attack, German artillery began shelling the jump-off line. The Germans planned an attack of their own, hoping to recapture Zonnebeke. In the 24th Battalion alone, 40 men and two officers were killed on impact. The battalion's strength was reduced by 30 per cent even before the attack had begun.
At 6am, British and Australian artillery opened fire on the German positions and troops began to advance. The 22nd led the way, followed by the 21st and 24th. The three battalions had to storm the front over 275 metres to the right of the pond. Once beyond the pond, the units on the left had to change direction to cover their assigned ground.
As the Germans were assembling, they were caught in the field by the Allied barrage. The battered German regiments, were dispersed, killed or captured by the advancing Australians.
William, aged 30, was killed in action on 4 October 1917. Private Hyams was found after the war where he was killed, near Zonnebeke Lake, right opposite the present entrance to Passchendaele Museum (28.D.28.a.20.40). nearby the Australian starting positions. He was reburied in Buttes New British Cemetery; plot 29, row C, grave 7.