You may wonder why we have included the above event in our National Cemeteries week, and why today? Maybe the date gives you a clue, as it is 107 years today since the Lusitania sank and on board was Reverend Canon Ernest Maxwell Phair- who is buried in Brandwood End Cemetery.
Follow the link below to find out who he was and why he was travelling on the Lusitania that day.
FBEC – REVEREND CANON ERNEST EDWARD MAXWELL PHAIR
Todays story is sad, but unfortunately not an isolated incident during WW2. During the day of the 19th November 1940 no one could have foreseen what would happen overnight. It was another night of bombing in Birmingham but worse than most. Alfred Cope, a member of the AFS, and both of his twin sons, Stanley and John, lost their lives when a bomb fell in St Stephens Road Selly Park. Our thanks to BARRA, Doug Smith and Lynda Peedle (Grand daughter) for their contributions.
For more information you can access our research via the link below in green.
FBEC – ALFRED COPE AND TWIN SONS 1940
Sergeant-Major Charles Dawes died in 1932 aged 96. Todays information is short, but he definitely needs a mention.
Kings Royal Irish Hussars – Service No. 1428
Crimean and Indian Mutiny Veteran – Chelsea Pensioner
Died 1st August 1932 aged 96 – 270 Clifton Road Balsall Heath, Birmingham.
“The last Birmingham survivor of the Crimean War was buried with full military honours on
Saturday (6th August 1932) at Brandwood End Cemetery, Birmingham. Hundreds of
people lined the route of three miles from his home and there were several hundreds
more at the cemetery.
Hampshire Telegraph – Friday August 12th 1932.”
Charles was born in Upper Street, Tettenhall Regis, Wolverhampton, Staffordshire, and
baptised 25 October 1835. His father was James Dawes (a gardener from Penn) and his
mother was Elizabeth. He married Caroline Whyatt from Haslingfield, Cambridgeshire in
Two of his sons had Indian connection middle names – Albert Edward Shinwarrie Whyatt
Dawes and Charles William Gwalior Whyatt Dawes.
Firefighters Memorial Day will have been marked by a minutes silence at midday today to honour Firefighters who lost their lives in the line of duty. Over 2300 such deaths are recorded.
Brandwood End is the resting place of Sydney Charles Tropman who was one of the above number.
As part of National Cemeteries Week we would like to highlight some of his story.
FBEC – SIDNEY CHARLES TROPMAN WW2 FIREMAN
Regular visitors to Brandwood End are aware that we have a large number of Commonwealth War Graves but for some unknown reason a small number are placed together in an area in Section 33. We have tried, as have Bereavement Services staff, to find the reason why these flyers have been buried together, when all the other CWGC recognised graves are scattered throughout the cemetery. We are all unable to find any tie between them.
Following a recent visit from a representative of CWGC it was decided that the site needed to be refreshed, and we reported on the start of this work. This is an update and the turf is now in place. We suspect that not much will happen now until this turf has bedded in, but perennial planting should follow and continued maintenance by CWGC gardening staff.
How to Research guides | CWGC
EXPLORE THEIR BITESIZE GUIDES, DESIGNED TO HELP YOU RESEARCH AN INDIVIDUAL.
Early in December a member of our committee was lucky enough to be in the cemetery when a new name was added to the screen wall, adjacent to the Cross of Sacrifice on the main drive.
The work was undertaken by Chargehand Stonemason – Commonwealth War Graves Commission – Mike Witham.
Mike has undertaken work for the CWWGC all over the world in various cemeteries and on December 1st he found himself in Brandwood End.
The names of those who lost their lives during the Wars, and are buried in the communal grassed areas either side of the main drive, are remembered on the screen walls. They were either without family or family were unable to afford to finance a grave at that time, but they are individually named on the two screen walls that lie either side of the main drive adjacent to the Cross of Sacrifice.
Our understanding is that family recently followed up his records and approached the CWWGC to have his name added. The Friends would love to talk to the family, so if one of them is reading this or if you know who they are, could you put us in touch? Please e mail us on firstname.lastname@example.org
The work undertaken by Mike and other CWWGC Stonemasons must be admired as its longevity enables families to see a lasting record of their relatives and a recognition of their sacrifice.
IT IS WITH REGRET THAT THE FRIENDS OF BRANDWOOD END HAVE DECIDED TO CANCEL THE USUAL SERVICE OF REMEMBRANCE IN BRANDWOOD END. WE HAD HOPED TO HOLD A SMALLER EVENT BEHIND LOCKED GATES BUT FOLLOWING ADVICE FROM THE DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC HEALTH FOR BIRMINGHAM, DR JUSTIN VARNEY, WE HAVE DECIDED NOT TO ENCOURAGE A GATHERING OF ANY DESCRIPTION.
OVER THE NEXT WEEK, EACH OF OUR WREATH LAYERS AND ORGANISATIONS HAVE BEEN ASKED TO VISIT INDEPENDENTLY AND PLACE THEIR WREATHS AT THE CROSS OF SACRIFICE SO BY 8th NOVEMBER THEY WILL ALL BE IN PLACE. PLEASE TAKE A MOMENT ON THAT DAY TO OBSERVE THE 2 MINUTES SILENCE WHERE EVER YOU ARE.
WE WILL BE POSTING PHOTOGRAPHS OF EACH WREATH BEING LAID ON OUR WEB SITE www.fbec.org.uk
IT WAS WITH HEAVY HEARTS THAT WE MADE THIS DECISION, BUT WE ALL FEEL IT IS IMPORTANT TO TRY AND ADHERE TO LOCKDOWN RESTRICTIONS AND THE ADVICE WE HAVE RECEIVED. WE HOPE WE CAN WELCOME YOU ALL BACK IN 2021.
When the Friends and volunteers are working in the cemetery we usually display our ‘A’ Frame so you know that the people in High Viz are us, and not Council workers.
Yesterday we began our Poppy Cross placing project and used a new poster on our ‘A’ Frame. We have Gary Staples to thank for the marvellous shot of the chapels and we thought his photo deserved to be seen more often!
Please watch out for us over the next week or two as we place the 352 poppy crosses on the graves of those lost in conflicts and buried, or remembered in family grave, in Brandwood End.
Saturday’s efforts were undertaken by the Colmey Family, Kerry Tinkler, Lisa Fair, Julia Griffin and myself. Very theraputic, enjoyable and rewarding! Sunday’s team include Coral and Andrew Howard and Monday we are assisted by Damian Tierney, Gail Pittaway, Carmel Fitzpatrick and Philip Brown.
Thank you to everyone else that asked if they could help but this year we had lots of offers of assistance, which makes this project all the easier to complete. So far everyone who has helped has wanted to come back the following year, so we are trying to introduce a few new volunteers every year to develop a team we can call on for the future. Thank you all again.
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.