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??
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.
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.
Final reminder that the Remembrance Service in Brandwood End Cemetery will start at 10.50am prompt and be followed by 2 minutes silence and the laying of wreaths. Everyone welcome.
The Friends have now started their annual project to place a Poppy Cross on every War Grave in the cemetery. Some are easily spotted as they have CWWGC headstone, all of which have an identical profile.
This photo shows one of our members highlighting a Labour Corps grave as part of a national project to remember lesser known groups of combatants.
We have 350+ Poppies to place and the bulk of them are not as easily found as they are remembered in family graves.
Today we were assisted by committee members and family supporters but our special thanks to members of BARRA who worked on one of the hardest sections- as the area was very uneven and deep in leaves! http://www.birminghamairraids.co.uk/
Our thanks to those that have come along to help us this year. Their input has made such a difference and we are well on the way to completing this task in time for Remembrance Sunday. So far the weather has been kind ! Please do consider joining The Friends, local Councillors, Neighbourhood Police Officers, The Royal British Legion and many others organisations at our Service of Remembrance on Sunday November 11th, (10.50am)
The Friends would like to remind everyone that there will be the usual Service of Remembrance on Sunday 11th November in the cemetery. Please arrive before 10.50, when a short Service will be held prior to the 2 minutes silence. This will be followed by the laying of wreaths by a number of organisations at the Cross of Sacrifice and also at the WW1 memorial.
On Sunday the 4th November, Brandwood End Cemetery will be crowded with people attending the Blessing of the Graves. PLEASE WALK INTO THE CEMETERY if at all possible as the number of cars mean that there is nowhere to park. Staff must keep the main drive free of parked cars (as far as the chapels) for safety reasons and also to allow access to Clergy.
Please don’t be one of the people that argue with them and demand that ‘you’ are the exception!
Every year the Friends create a Poppy Cross Cemetery near the Cross of Sacrifice. Each cross represents a War Grave in Brandwood End. Some have Commonwealth War Grave head stones- many are family graves.This week we also start placing a poppy cross on every War Grave. We shall remember them ….
The Friends web site is due to have an update in the near future, so we will be unable to post for a couple of weeks once that update starts. With that in mind we are posting information about this years Service of Remembrance well in advance.
It is 100 years since the end of WW1 this year, so please try and join us on what will be a significant date- 11.11.2018
Despite a wet and drizzly morning well over 40 people turned out to support our Heritage Event at Brandwood End. We had a packed morning with 2 grave walks to uncover the history of The Labour Corps , led by our Chairman Julia Griffin.
Luckily for us the weather lately has been very dry so the passage between the graves was relatively easy to negotiate.
Those that decided not to brave the weather were able to browse the wealth of information we had prepared about WW1, the Suffragette Movement and the Labour Corps as well as reading about ‘Frederick Clifford Alabaster’ and ‘William Shakespeare’ both of whom are buried in Brandwood End. Today we were honoured to welcome William’s Grandson, who came to deliver a precious copy of a photograph of his Grandfather and Grandmother. A member of the Alabaster family had also visited us at our 2017 Service of Remembrance.
Another incentive to remain behind were the amazing cakes that had been baked by Dawn, who is in charge of the day to day running of Brandwood End for Bereavement Services Department. Dawn and her staff went way beyond their job descriptions to help facilitate this event, not least of all- giving their time on a Saturday to erect gazebo’s and move tables and chairs.
In between our guided walks, visitors were treated to an insight into the lives of some of our soldiers buried in Brandwood End who died towards the end of the War, or soon after, as a result of wounds or the Spanish Flu. Doug Smith and his team made the selected Soldiers ‘come to life’ for just a short while. An amazingly revealing performance that enthralled everyone, despite the rain.
Our thanks to everyone who supported us today, especially Bereavement Services Department-for their muscle and refreshments!
We must also thank Pam Wallace of Kings Heath British Legion, who provided some of the wealth of information and our Chairman Julia for providing most of the rest! We hope everyone enjoyed our displays and found them as interesting as we did when we were preparing them! Next year…….100 years of Brandwood End Cemetery…..maybe !!
You can see a few more photographs in our album via this link