Month: November 2017

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


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.

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.