Month: November 2016

Christmas is coming…….

Christmas is coming and we are sure some of our supporters will be buying items via the internet. If you are going to buy from Amazon please consider going via this FBEC web site. If you click on ‘Amazon’ on the top right of our Blog page we receive a small sum for every purchase you make. It costs you nothing.

P1000661 (800x534)Please consider supporting the Friends by this method at any time of the year, but especially in the run up to Christmas.

Second Lieutenant F C Alabaster, commemorated at this years Remembrance Service

FBEC felt they would like to share with you an article prepared by Edwina Rees, for the Moseley History Society newsletter. It sums up our recent Remembrance Day Event. Thank you Edwina.


The centenary year of the Battle of the Somme was very much in everyone’s thoughts, in this year’s commemorative service held at the Cross of Sacrifice at Brandwood End Cemetery.  Before the laying of wreaths, the last post rang out and during the two minutes silence, instead of poppies, the last golden leaves of autumn fell on the heads of those reflecting on the loss of the many young men who fell that fell during the course of the war in 1916.

Second Lieutenant F C Alabaster was one of those who lost their lives that year. Clifford, as he preferred to be known, was wounded in the head by shrapnel, just before the Battle of the Somme, but the protection afforded by the new ‘Brodie’ helmets lessened the impact and he was expected to survive. Unfortunately, this was not the case and he died in the Empire Hospital for Officers, London just over a month later. His great niece Wendy Alabaster represented the family on the day

His grave and those of others buried here who served in WW1, are now recognised by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission thanks to the campaigning endeavors of the Friends of Brandwood End Cemetery. He is also commemorated at St Mary’s Church, Moseley on their WW1 memorial.



Second Lieutenant F C Alabaster was highlighted at the request of the Commonwealth War Grave Commission as part of their ‘Living  Memories’ project, but in remembering him we must also remember all those who are buried here or on foreign soil who gave their lives for their country and those killed locally as a result of enemy air raids.

U3A, Local History Group Members enjoy Brandwood End.

FBEC member, Pat Franklin, gave up her time to lead a group of U3A (Local History Group) members on a walk through Brandwood End Cemetery.  During  Heritage Open Week, in September 2014, the Friends devised a Grave Walk highlighting a small number of War Graves in the cemetery and providing a short background to each of them.

img_4282u3aOur thanks to Alison Gove-Humphries for taking some lovely photographs at the event.

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The tour itself consisted of an introduction and overview, the formation and role of the Friends and then to the CWGC, their policy and philosophy. Next came a brief summary of the First World War, the burials elsewhere [unless stated] and the commemoration on family headstones on the walk.   Then on to the Cross of Sacrifice and the recent Commemoration. Thence, the Screen Walls and a walk to the more recent Tree Island Memorial, with tablet and benches. The group were particularly taken with the Poppy Cross  Field and its significance.

Our thanks again to Pat for leading this walk. We do occasionally get requests from individuals to attend a walk but unless Pat can get a group of 8 to 12 together it isn’t really worth while. With this in mind, if you would like to take our Grave Walk (Probably not until Spring 2017) can you e mail us on   and we will add you to this list then contact you with proposed dates when we have enough prospective participants.

Friends of Camberwell Cemeteries struggle on with their campaign

You may think we have ‘issues’ with the City Council, Bereavements Department  in Birmingham but they pale into insignificance with those of the Friends of Camberwell Cemeteries in London.botanics-clay-day-010

Follow the links to find out what is happening there and the reuse of grave areas.

We must stress that, as far as we are aware, Birmingham has no plans to adopt this method of creating burial areas, and locally we are lucky that we have a fairly recently established Cemetery at Kings Norton, with a large amount of ground available there.

Our thoughts are with The Friends of Camberwell Cemeteries and their allied struggle for Southwark Woods.


We need you !!

Many of you follow our web site or will have visited events at Brandwood End Cemetery recently- whether they were to do with Hedgehog preservation, WW1 Grave walks, tree walks, litter picks, celebrating our RHS award or Remembrance last weekend. Can we appeal to you to consider if you could spare a couple of hours a month to become a member of our committee, who are the driving force behind these activities which happen in the cemetery. Fresh members bring fresh ideas!20161020_144624

If you are not a ‘committee’ person you can always come along and see what happens at our meetings before making a decision. Please consider ‘joining’ the Friends  (for a very small membership fee) to receive our twice yearly newsletters and be part of our driving force to encourage Birmingham City Council to join us in a Heritage Lottery bid, to provide a future for our magnificent chapels.

Perhaps you are more of a practical person? We need help keeping our Civilian Garden and its hedges in order, making bird or bat boxes, keeping notice boards up to date, leading litter picks… much to do and at the moment….so few people ! You can help all of the time or as and when. Its up to you-


Please contact us via this web site or our facebook page or, of course, you can e mail for more info on-

Whether you are a planner, a campaigner, a ‘doer’ or an ideas person…..we need you! We can offer history, environment and community based projects. From trees to heritage,  hedgehogs to gardening, war graves to bats.

Even if you just help by following  us and sharing our posts on facebook or the web site, we need your support.

Our thanks to all of those who support our events, follow our web page and facebook page and make us feel all our work is worthwhile.   Jane Edwards (Chairman FBEC)


Remembrance Day record turnout.

Our thanks to everyone that turned out today to our Annual Remembrance Service in Brandwood End. This year saw close to 100 participants come to hear a short thought provoking address by Deacon David Fairbotham of St Dunstans Church prior to the laying of wreaths by Kings Heath and Selly Oak Royal British Legions, Local Councillors (on behalf of BCC), The Freemasons, The Royal Order of Buffaloes and the Friends.


Yet again we must thank our magnificent buglers, Ludo and Oliver, for helping to create such a poignant atmosphere with their amazing rendition of the Last Post and Reveille. If they desert us for University next year they will be sadly missed!



‘Alabaster’ Grave.

As part of the CWGC ‘Living Memory’ project we agreed to highlight the grave of one Service Member who lost his life as a result of the actions at the Battle of the Somme. Our choice was Frederic Clifford Alabaster, and we were pleased to welcome one of his relatives, Wendy Alabaster, to the Remembrance Service.

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Wendy also joined many people who took the time to view the information on display and visit ‘Clifford’s’ grave. Information about this grave will remain on display for the next two weeks, at the grave site and also on the main drive near the poppy cross grid and Cross of Sacrifice.



CWGC- Living Memory Project

As part of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Living Memory Project, the Friends have researched and recorded information relating to Frederic Clifford Alabaster, who died of this injuries in the preparations for the Battle of the Somme.

More details will be available after our Remembrance Day Service (10.45 November 13th), where we will have a small display with further information about ‘Clifford’ and the part he played in the Great War prior to his death.

alabasterOur thanks must go to Alison Wheatley, King Edwards School Archivist and Edwina Reece, researcher at Moseley History Group for sharing their information with us.  We must also thank, FBEC member, Pat Franklin for putting the information together and FBEC member Julia Griffin for providing a contact to the ‘Alabaster’ family enabling us to seek their approval of this project.

Please call in to the cemetery and visit the Friends notice board on the main drive near the entrance, where you will find displayed some interesting information and photographs relating to Frederic Clifford Alabaster.

Poppy Crosses in place.

Every year, in the run up to Armistice Day, the Friends place over 300 poppy crosses on graves of those lost to conflicts. Many are members of the armed forces but many are also civilians killed in air raids locally, as shown in the grave below where 3 members of a family all lost their lives.

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We also create a ‘Poppy Cross Cemetery’ grid, near the Cross of Sacrifice on the main drive, to show the vastness of the numbers involved just within Brandwood End Cemetery.

Please walk through the cemetery if you are passing and give a moment of your time to remember those who lost their lives either at home or abroad.



Woodthorpe Primary pupils make Hedgehogs welcome!

Pupils at Woodthorpe Primary School learn how to welcome Hedgehogs to their Forest School area and pitched in, creating Hedgehog houses and log piles.20161101_144340 20161101_145412 After instructions from Emma from the Wildlife Trust and Ranger Jan, pupils collected leaves to line the house and cut branches  to cover it, (after carefully surveying their site to find the best location).The next job was to build a ‘bug hotel’ so visiting Hedgehogs would have plenty of food available before bedding down for the winter.I am sure you agree, that if I was a local Hedgehog I would be hot footing it to their welcoming Forest School Hedgehog home!!