Category: Remembrance

Dry and sunny for 2019 Remembrance Event

Today’s Remembrance event was very well attended. Representatives of West Midlands Police, West Midlands Fire Service, Local Councillors, The Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes (RAOB), the Catholic Women’s League, FBEC and members of the local Beaver Pack all laid Wreaths at the Cross of Sacrifice.

Deacon David Fairbotham gave a short thought provoking Service of Remembrance and the Wreath Laying was preceded by a Bugler and 2 minutes silence.

 

Everyone then processed down the main Drive to the WW1 Memorial, where further wreaths were laid.

Our thanks to everyone that attended this event. We have collected a few photographs via this link should you wish to see more.

 

 

Welcome back British Army 202(Midlands Field Hospital) volunteers.

The Friends were pleased to welcome back on site 20 members of the Armed Forces 202 Field Hospital under the command of Major Harry Wallace.

They came on a mission to uncover 4 specific Commonwealth War Graves that had become totally enveloped by shrubbery and to clean and weed a large number of others.

Luckily for us they felt they had some more of their precious time to share so spent a further few hours clearing the metre high self set Holly area on one of the sections.(There are still at least 2 more similar areas in the cemetery)

Whilst in the cemetery ‘202’ also made time to visit, and place Poppy Crosses on, our small War Grave area and beneath our screen walls.

                                        

I am sure, if you visit, the improvement after the removal of the holly will be obvious- but here are some before and after photographs.

Ivy is notoriously hard to remove and these areas have now been cut back, revealing many graves that have been hidden for several years.

 

 

 

 

This is just a small portion of the area that they cleared !

 

 

Our thanks to them all for their enthusiasm and ‘can do’ attitude. Lets hope we can welcome them again to Brandwood End.

 

 

Remembrance Service -10th November 2019

This years Remembrance Service in Brandwood End will take place on Sunday 10th November.

Please arrive in time for a 10.50am start. The Service usually concludes by 11.15am.

The main service will commence at the Cross of Sacrifice on the main drive and conclude at the WW1 War Memorial (Also on the main drive)

We look forward to welcoming you all.

Small block of War Graves, on view again.

A few years ago we planted a new small hedged area creating a boundary around a small block of War Graves. Of late we have received a number of requests to reduce the height of this hedge so the Headstones remain in view and ‘part of’ the surrounding graves. I think you will agree that this 50% reduction in height has achieved that objective and we will try and maintain this low height in future. Thanks again to BCC Grounds Maintenance staff for their work, and for visitors to the cemetery for their thoughts and suggestions.

Despite rigorous efforts we are still struggling to understand why these 8 graves stand apart, when the remaining 340+ lie scattered throughout the cemetery. We are also intrigued by the inscription on one that states ‘buried elsewhere in this cemetery’. We know all there is to know about the occupants but not why they have this resting place. They appear to have no connection to each other!

Poppy Project

Every year the Friends and their supporters place Poppy Crosses on  ‘War Graves’ within Brandwood End Cemetery. This includes anyone lost as a result of conflict, civilians as well as Armed Forces personnel. Some of these graves are Commonwealth War Graves but many are family graves. In all there are 350+…..but we continue to find the names of those in family graves not yet on our list.

The task of placing these crosses represents a challenge, as the graves are scattered throughout the cemetery and not as well marked as the one you see here, but it is both poignant and rewarding.

If you think you may be interested to train to undertake this annual task, we would love to hear from you. You need to be sytematic and sure footed….and not deterred by inclement weather as this task is undertaken in late October and early November prior to our Remembrance Service. You will need to have a minimum of half a day of your time available but if you think you can help please contact us at:-       friendsofbec@gmail.com

 

 

 

Battle of Arnhem-‘A Bridge too far’.

“A Bridge Too Far”

75th Anniversary of the Battle of Arnhem 1944-2019

Operation Market-Garden – 17th September – 25th September 1944

In September 1944, after the victorious end of the Normandy campaign, Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery devised a daring operation to open the way to the Ruhr by seizing a bridgehead north of the Rhine, at Arnhem.

On September 17, Operation Market, the largest airborne and glider operation in history (five thousand aircraft) was carried out by three Allied airborne divisions. Operation Garden was the ground side in which the Thirtieth (British) Corps was to link up with the British First Airborne at Arnhem by thrusting north along a narrow corridor opened by the U.S. Eighty-second and 101st Airborne Divisions. Then, the remainder of British Second Army would rapidly assault the Ruhr, thus hastening the collapse of the Third Reich and likely ending the war in 1944.

Congestion and German resistance along the single narrow road to Nijmegen and Arnhem delayed the British ground advance. The attempt to relieve Arnhem failed even though Lieutenant Colonel John Frost’s gallant paratroopers held the northern end of the Arnhem Bridge against the Ninth SS Panzer Division for four days before finally being overrun and captured. Market-Garden was a military disaster during which the ground force was unable to breach the River Waal at Nijmegen in time to establish a bridgehead north of the Rhine in what became popularly known as “a bridge too far.” Of the ten thousand men who had landed at Arnhem, fourteen hundred were killed and over six thousand captured; only twenty-four hundred paratroopers safely crossed to the south bank of the Rhine in small rubber boats.

Though a costly failure and a disaster for the British 1st Airborne Division, the Battle for Arnhem today stands as an example of courage and endurance and one of the greatest feats of arms in the Second World War.   Arnhem has become a byword for the fighting spirit of the British people and has set a standard for the Parachute Regiment. As an indicator of the courage displayed by British forces, five Victoria Crosses were awarded – four of them posthumously.

We will remember them.

80 years ago today……….

Todays date, September 3rd, was an important date in 1939 as it marked the Official Declaration of War against Germany.

Until now much of the information regarding burials and casualties that FBEC have been highlighting on this site has related to WW1. Eighty years ago the country was yet again plunged into a state of War but this time the effects on the population ‘at home’ would be devastating.

Looking back in time we will still be highlighting issues that saw the end to the ‘War to end all wars’…..but our emphasis will move slightly to those buried in Brandwood End as a result of the Second World War.

Best use of a few rare dry hours!!

The Friends grabbed the chance to tidy up the hedge surrounding a small Commonwealth War Graves area before the rain started again!

 

Before and after. All that is needed are a couple of hours to spare and a few willing hands!!

We have several hundred War Graves in Brandwood End and neither ourselves nor Bereavements Services staff can find an explanation as to why these 8 graves are not dispersed within the cemetery like the others. There have been many theories but all have proved incorrect. No one knows……unless you know different??

 

Special Anniversary for Brandwood End

This weekend was a special one for Brandwood End Cemetery as the Friends remember 2 events that happened 120 years ago.

Brandwood End Cemetery was officially opened (there is a plaque on the wall of the West Chapel ) on Thursday 13th April 1899 by Mr. George Tallis, the Chairman of the Kings Norton Parish Council Local Cemetery Committee.

The photograph above shows the boulder (Provided by the Friends following a generous donation) marking one of the communal grave areas where the very first burial site is marked.

If you look to the right as you pass the Cross of Sacrifice, very close to the Redwood Avenue, you will find a simple wooden stake. (Section C1 c/e)

The Friends, with help from Bereavement Service staff, have identified the grave of :-

Charles Downes – 5 years old – first burial in Brandwood End. The cause of death was ‘Diphtheria after 4 days’

His father, Walter William Downes was a Carpenter (journeyman) who was present at his little son’s death at 47 Runcorn Road, Balsall Heath on Tuesday 11th April 1899.   Charles was buried four days later on Saturday 15th April, and became the first burial in Brandwood End.

We have, today, laid a small tribute with a few words, but hope to bring you more of the Downes Family history via a link in the next few days.

 

The minister who conducted the burial service was Revd Charles William Barnard, Vicar of St. Nicolas’ Kings Norton (1893-1909) in whose parish the Cemetery lay.

 

Remembrance Service well attended

Over 150 people attended this years Service of Remembrance. Once again the atmosphere was enhanced by our Bugler but it was lovely to see many organisations represented, many of whom had several members there.Our thanks to Deacon David Fairbotham, who conducts a short but thought provoking service and to the growing number of  people who attend. if you would like to see a few more photographs of this event, please follow this link.

We shall remember them.