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)
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
On the morning of Saturday 8th September between 10am and 1pm the Friends will be taking part in Heritage Open Week.
Please come along and join us. We will have plenty of interesting items and displays and you can join one of our Grave Walks (numbers limited) highlighting the plight of ‘Labour Corps’ members who are buried and remembered in Brandwood End.
If you have any interesting memorabilia concerning the activities of local Suffragettes we would really love to see it !
The Department of communities and Local Government (DCLG), have funded an inclusive and thought-provoking programme to invite communities to commemorate the sacrifices of the Labour Corps and their contribution to the First World War.
On July 14th between 9.20am and 10.40am pupils from Swanshurst School will be in Brandwood End Cemetery, where they will recite monologues to highlight Labour Corps members commemorated on the screen walls at the Cross of Sacrifice on the main drive.
This event will be filmed for the School’s Youtube channel. Members of FBEC Committee will also be attending.
Every May, cyclist travel from all over the UK to visit the National Cyclists Memorial in the village of Meriden. This year a small contingent decided that, as they were unable to visit Meriden, they would lay a wreath in Brandwood End.
Built to honour the memory of those members of the cyclists battalions of the Army Cyclists Corps who died in World War One, the Meriden Memorial was erected in 1921 and on 21st May over 20,000 people turned up for its inauguration.
Following Morning Service at The Cotteridge Church Centre on Sunday 21st May 2017, Rev. Loraine Dixon and Rev Michael Claridge, accompanied by Joy Anibaba from the Joyful Bellas and Fellas Community Cycling Group, cycled from Kings Norton Recreation Ground to Brandwood End Cemetery to mark our own commemoration.
After a short prayer service, a wreath in the style of the original laid at the 1921 inauguration service at Meriden, was laid at the Brandwood Cross of Sacrifice. Four Standard Bearer Members of the Federation of Birmingham Ex-Service Associations performed Tribute during the Last Post, a two minute silence was observed and Reveille played at the cessation.
The Cemetery trees in full spring foliage and the bird song during 2 minute silence added to the simple beauty of the occasion. All those who attended the event left in the knowledge that a fitting tribute had been paid to preserve the memory of The Fallen, and also took away with them a very good impression of what the Friends of Brandwood End continue to achieve in the cemetery.