Category: War Graves

Latest addition to the Screen Wall.

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 friendsofbec@gmail.com

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.

Remembrance service 2020

Urgent update.

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.

Friends ‘A’Frame refreshed as Poppy Cross Project gets underway.

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.

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.

 

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

 

 

 

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??