The grandson of a First World War veteran who fought in and survived the Battle of Passchendaele says honouring the memory of his grandfather and other soldiers is important to him. 

Philip Davis said he was 15 when his grandfather, William Lang died.

"I always felt that I was just beginning to figure out the right questions to ask when he passed away but we were able to talk about the war a number of times," he said. "I do remember him talking about the mud and how it stuck to their boots and experiences like that." 

The Canadian Forces joined the fighting at Passchendaele in October 1917. 

Davis said hearing the stories told by his grandfather made the First World War almost tangible. 

"He was wounded twice and told me about both of those occasions so I certainly didn't get the impression it was all bands and glory," he said. "I guess just the general experiences of being in the trenches, crawling across no man's land, that sort of thing, when I read about it in books I also heard him describe that and it brought it all so much more alive to me." 

Wounded twice

Davis said his grandfather was wounded at the Battle of the Somme in September 1916.

"He told me he was shot in the upper arm, I guess by a German sniper." 

Lang was wounded a second time shortly before the end of the war when a shell exploded in front of a cart he and three others were moving. Two of them were killed. 

Davis said going back to visit the locations where his grandfather fought was very moving. He added seeing the well-maintained cemeteries really brings home what happened there.

Being a part of the ceremony to honour the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Passchendaele was important to Davis. 

"It is important to keep the memory of these things alive. I'm from a generation where I can remember talking to people from World War I. To my grandchildren, it's a lot more theoretical."

With files from Island Morning