Passchendaele and Brandwood End

Many men fell at the Battle of Passchendaele, which is especially remembered this week for it is 100 years since that bloody conflict. As a small part of this, The Friends of Brandwood End have been encouraged to research graves to highlight at least one of those Soldiers. We were looking for a casualty who was returned to England wounded, but subsequently died and was buried in Brandwood End.  Research by Doug Smith and Julia Griffin found us William Shakespeare (Obviously not the one of normal fame).

William was born in Birmingham in 1882.   His mother and father both worked for Parkinson Cowan and were gas meter makers.   He left Mary Street Board School when he was 12 in 1894 and went into the trade as well.

William married in December 1903 when he was 23 to Elizabeth Chambers who was just 18.   They lived in a back to back in Wrentham Street.

William and Elizabeth had several children. William and Nellie in 1906 – twins!   Unfortunately William was sickly and died. Next came Alice and then George, in 1912.  The family then moved to Lime Grove, Walter Street, Nechells.

The news from the Front was bad so William enlisted in June 1915 and was accepted in the 16th Warwickshire Regiment, or the 3rd Birmingham Pals.

He fought in the many battles in 1917 but was hit by a shell burst at the Third Ypres battle, or Passchendaele.   His Battalion were ordered to take the Polderhoek Chateau with the 2nd Norfolk’s and began the attack on 9th October 1917.   Many men were lost.

William was brought back on a stretcher having been injured by a shell burst as they retreated.    When we got back to England he was sent to Dewsbury in Yorkshire but never recovered from his wounds. Elizabeth was nearly full term with their final baby, John, who was born the week after William died, aged 35 on 6th November 1917.

His father paid for him to be buried in Brandwood End – He is buried in Grave B.2 ‘C’ 883.

Thank you to all those that stopped to hear about William as they passed through the Cemetery today and also those who remained behind after our Remembrance Service to hear about his life and others who fought at Passchendaele. The information will remain on display in our Notice Boards.

Proudly supported by the Passchendaele at Home project. #Passchendaele100

 

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A Living Memorial for the ‘Unremembered’ of the Labour Corps

Today, on Remembrance Sunday, The Friends took part in a ‘Living Memorial’ to highlight those groups of people who have often been forgotten for the service they provided during conflicts. In highlighting the Labour Corps we wanted to remind people of the work done by this group, especially in WWI.  We have 9 members of the Labour Corps either buried or remembered on the screen walls in Brandwood End.

Their names and information about each individual can be seen above but also displayed on a large poster that members of the public were invited to read. We also included a short story of how the Labour Corps came to be formed and how it was made up from various regiments and initially staffed by those who had been wounded but deemed unfit to return to the front line. This information will remain on display on our notice boards and also is available for local schools and individuals with an interest.

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Attendance grows at every Remembrance Day Event

Attendance was up again at this mornings Remembrance Event. Our thanks as usual go to Deacon David for a very thought provoking few words and also to Bereavement Services staff, who made sure the area of the Cross of Sacrifice was leaf free. Every year wreaths are laid on behalf of the Royal British Legion, local Councillors, The Masons, The Order of Buffaloes, Selly Oak Royal British Legion and ourselves but this year we were joined by our Local Neighbourhood Policing Officers who try to attend all their local events.

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Remembrance Service 2017

A final reminder that this year we will be holding our Remembrance Service at Brandwood End Cemetery on Sunday 12th November – 10.50am start.

Remembrance Service at Brandwood End Cemetery

Wreaths will be laid by a number of organisations at the Cross of Sacrifice on the main drive, and then at the WWI memorial.  Everyone welcome.

Please note that for the short duration of the Service the Main Drive will be closed in this area, but access to the whole of the cemetery will still be available via the side roads.

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New Birmingham City Council web site for genealogical research

There is a new website now available for people to search for ancestors- for family history/genealogy projects.  This website covers all the burial/cremation records for Birmingham City Council.

The Offices will no longer carry out genealogy research and families will be directed to this website.

The Offices will however  continue to provide grave location information for people wishing to visit the Cemetery, they will require the full name and year of death to be able to provide this.

The website is www.birminghamburialrecords.co.uk

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Moseley and Kings Heath SHED

Our thanks to Moseley and Kings Heath SHED 

Their members stepped up to the plate and helped make lots and lots of Hedgehog Houses and ‘do it yourself’ kits for events, as part of our Help for Hedgehogs event.

Today we were able to present Mark, who attended events on behalf of SHED, with a cheque to help them buy replacement timber etc.

Please follow this link to see more information on SHED, who are a registered charity.

     

Once again, our thank to the National Lottery, Heritage Lottery Fund for funding this project.

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Brandwood Bounty in the cemetery today!

       

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Sunshine all the way!

Today’s litter pick was attended by a small select crew ! There were just 5 of us but we still managed a haul of 13 bags of litter- mainly from under hedges on the periphery of the site. 99% of the litter consisted of flower papers, blown into the undergrowth.

Can we ask visitors again,  that if they are leaving flowers at a grave they do not visit frequently, can they please remove the flower paper and place it in one of the bins. We notice that many people jam it down between the grave stones but I am afraid the wind seeks it out. Or we have to pick it out !

The sun was shining today and the cemetery was quite busy with families tidying graves and washing headstones, before the winter.

Many areas of Pigeon feathers and show that the Birds of Prey that frequent the area have been busy.

Our next Litter Pick will be in the ‘Winter’ month of December so watch this site for details. Until then, we urge you to visit the Cemetery, if you do not already, and enjoy this beautiful green open space which offers an opportunity for exercise, relaxation and quiet contemplation. Remember there is our Civilian Garden of Remembrance at the Broad Lane end of the site, which is always a welcoming space with benches for seating.

Can we remind you that we will be holding our usual Service of Remembrance in Brandwood End, at the Cross of Sacrifice on the main drive, on Sunday the 12th November. Everyone is welcome and we start at 10.50 prompt to enable the Celebrant to say a few words before the 2 minutes silence. This is a very short event and should be completed by  11.30am.   We look forward to seeing as many of you there as possible. If you are not a member of the Friends, please consider joining us to show your support for the work we do in Brandwood End. You can access an application from this web site or contact us on 0121 605 4316 for a hard copy.

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Final September Litter Pick Reminder

Final reminder, our September Litter Pick will be taking place on this Saturday morning, the 2nd September. Please meet at the Lodge on the main drive at 10am and we will finish at 11.30am. This will be our final Litter pick before the onset of Winter!  Our next visit will be in December.

Please think about joining us for this event as the cemetery is such a beautiful environment and we want to help keep it that way. Combine your litter picking with wandering around its tree lined pathways and listen to the bird song. What a good use of a hopefully sunny morning!

Litter pickers and bags will be provided but we do advise stout footwear and gloves as well. Children under 16 are welcome but must be accompanied by a responsible adult.

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Extension to our Help for Hedgehogs project

FBEC are pleased to announce that Heritage Lottery, the grant providers for the above project, have agreed a 3 month extension to our time schedule and some additional expenditure.

We would like to thank all the people that provided items free of charge and gave their time for free. This has resulted in an under spend! Unusual in this day and age!

After discussion with Heritage Lottery  it has been agreed  that we can spend the remaining funding on an interpretation board, highlighting Hedgehog facts, to be placed in the cemetery. A time extension has been agreed to allow for design, manufacture and installation.

 

Our thanks again to all the organisations involved as we were dependent not only on their expertise, but also on their hours of dedication to this project.

 

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