The weeds were taking control in the Civilian Garden of Remembrance and so we thought we needed to take them in hand, seeing as the hedges look so smart!
The Friends notice board on the main drive had become increasingly difficult to see through as the Perspex had clouded, so today we began phase one of its refurbishment. Replacing the Perspex with UV stabilised acrylic. Looking much better.
Next job will be the replacement of the baize covered backboard. We can then tidy up the display. (The FBEC name plate is safe but it fell off when we opened the door!!) To be fair we have had this board for a fair number of years so it was due a facelift.
As we place our 300+Poppy Crosses in time for Remembrance each November, we get to read the names, ages and often family details of those who’s graves we visit. We are often astounded by the facts we read. We have listed below just a few facts that may also surprise you.
20 MINUTES-Time taken for Luftwaffe aircraft to reach UK target once detected
16 MINUTES-Time taken to scramble RAF fighters to successfully intercept a raid
4 MINUTES-Time the RAF had to decide how to respond to a Luftwaffe raid. At the height of the Battle of Britain the RAF had only 749 fighter aircraft available as against 2550 Luftwaffe aircraft.
20 YEARS-Average age of an RAF Pilot in 1940
2 WEEKS-Training time for an RAF fighter pilot in August 1940
Consisting of 2,945 aircrew, the RAF was joined by volunteers from13 different nations, some of whom had battle experience against the Luftwaffe in their own air forces. This international force became known as ‘The Few’.
544 Members of ‘The Few’ killed during the Battle of Britain
Our first Fairy Ring ! Last year we had some huge rings around the cemetery so keep your eyes peeled and please post photos on our facebook site, or e mail them to us to display on our web page.
We are still being asked about cemetery access hours. Can we refer everyone to the Birmingham City Council site, where you should find the latest information. This may be subject to change at short notice.
It’s nice, now and then, to look back at previous events. In our early days the Friends had a photo album with flickr.com. This is a link to our 2007 opening of the Civilian Garden. Sadly, many of the people featured are no longer with us. Thankfully, allowing for several renovations and re modelling, the Garden itself is still very vibrant, as you can see above.
The 75th anniversary of VJ Day (Victory over Japan) will be recognised on 15 August 2020 commemorating the final end of the Second World War.
This anniversary is rarely ‘celebrated’ publicly as widely as VE Day but it was, never the less, just as important for many reasons.
On August 6th, at 8.15 a.m. Japanese time, the United States dropped the atomic bomb ‘little boy’ on Hiroshima and on August 9th at 11.02 a.m., dropped the bomb ‘fat man’ on Nagasaki. This resulted in the Japanese formally surrendering to the Allies on August 15th.
This was made official on September 2nd 1945 with the signing of the Japanese Instrument of Surrender aboard the battleship USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay.
The Friends noticed that one of the doors of the chapels had been damaged, so contacted Bereavement staff who dashed out to check!
Sure enough, someone had tried to gain access but failed. They had also attempted to steal the lightening conductor off the steeple!!
What next? How glad are we that no lead has been used in the new temporary roof fixings or we could have found ourselves in the same catch 22 situation as our friends at Kings Norton Old School- who’s roof lead has been repeatedly plundered.
Steps have been taken to prevent this happening again but, as members of the public, please question anyone you see doing anything you feel is ‘not right’ around the cemetery or notify staff or The Friends.(Or the Police!) This happened when the cemetery was open and visitors were about. High Viz a clip board and a truck doesn’t mean they are legal!!
On Monday 20th July, the Friends held a small event to place a summer wreath at the Cross of Sacrifice to mark 90 years since its inauguration, and also 15 years of work by the Friends.
The opening photograph shows our founding Chairman, Anne Courbet, alongside our existing Chairman, Julia Griffin- social distancing of course! Follow this link to see photographs from the day. We were especially pleased to see Tony Purcell, who leads the local ground staff in their work at Brandwood End, and kindly arranged access for the Commonwealth War Graves stone masons to refurbish the Cross and walls in this special year. (Not easy to arrange in these strange ‘Covid’ times.
Can we take a moment, in this special year, to welcome everyone who views our web site and visits the cemetery. Please spread the word. Interest in the cemetery has swelled of late and we are so pleased to be able to share our love of this amazing cemetery with others. Can we remind you that there are no permanent ground staff at Brandwood End and we share them with several other cemeteries, but we can assure you that they do what they can with the time and resources allotted to them and every member of the ground staff has a love of the cemetery that goes beyond their ‘job’. There will always be issues relating to this large site of 53 acres, which used to have 16 permanent gardeners in its hey day, but with the co operation of the public, the Friends, Bereavements Staff and BCC grounds maintenance we hope we can keep this as a welcoming and safe space for those that visit.