Category: Remembrance

Remembering Dunkirk.

Between the 26th of May and the 4th of June 1940 over 300,000 British and allied troops were evacuated through the combined efforts of the Royal Navy and 700 ‘Little Ships’. The evacuation was ultimately a success rescuing a far greater number than the 45,000 expected. In excess of 330,000 troops made it home.

Please follow this link to the Royal British Legion site for an insight to the events from those involved.

 

Funerals still happening at Brandwood End

Staff were on duty at the gate of the cemetery today as they prepared for the arrival of a funeral hearse. They still have had no instructions relating to public access or allowing limited access for loved ones to visit graves. Please remember that ground staff do not make the decisions and they must abide by instructions from their superiors.

One plus of an ’empty cemetery’ is that staff have been able to get lots of work done so we are looking forward to the day we will be able to enter….using safe distancing of course!  Keep safe.

Polish War Graves remembered

Just prior to Remembrance Sunday, the Friends placed Polish flags on 2 adjacent War Graves in Brandwood End. We were especially pleased to tell members that the flags had come all the way from Poland , brought back for us by a Polish National.

You can imagine how heartened we were when we visited those graves earlier this week and found that both now had ribbons encircling them.

We would love to get in touch with the Polish community and those involved in this act of Remembrance. If anyone knows who we can contact, please can you e mail us on friendsofbec@gmail.com

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