Registered Charity

The FOBLC is recognised by HMRC as a charity, ref. XT38745, and is a member of the National Federation of Cemetery Friends

For all enquiries please contact our Chairman


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Guided Walk Sunday 20th November visiting some of the fallen from the Battle of the Somme

The Battle of the Ancre Heights
There will be a free guided walk visiting the graves and headstones in the Brockley & Ladywell cemeteries of some of those who fought and fell during the 141 days of horror  of the Battle of the Somme (July to November 1916).  The walk will be led by FOBLC members Peter Mealing, Mick Martin and Mike Guilfoyle.

All are welcome to join, we meet at 2:00pm on Sunday 20th November at the Ladywell Cemetery entrance.  The walk will last approximately 2 hours.  The event is free though donations are welcome.

REMEMBRANCE SUNDAY 13th NOVEMBER 10.55am – 12noon (approx)

We will be holding our Remembrance Day event again this year. This will start on Sunday 13th November at the Ladywell Cemetery Cross of Sacrifice at 10.55am and, after the two minute silence and wreath laying, proceed via two or three relevant points to the war memorial in the Brockley Cemetery for the laying of another wreath.  Please join us if you can.

Private Graham Charles Hines Bulford (1895-1916): Soldier killed at the Somme

Part hidden by a spangle of dotted vegetation in a grove alongside one of the inner pathways close to the boundary between the two cemeteries lies the Bulford family grave.

The son of Charles and Ada Bulford of 57 Adelaide Avenue, Brockley (lying opposite the green expanse of Hilly Fields) Graham’s name appears in a 1911 London Gazette post as a Temporary Boy Clerk before he enlisted as a private in the 2nd Battalion, Eastern Ontario Regiment, Canadian Infantry (Canadian Expeditionary Force) Service number: 444226. He died in action on the Somme, aged just 21 on 12th October 1916.

Canadian Soldiers Fixing Bayonets Before An Attack On The Somme
The following extract on Canadians on the Somme is from the Veterans Affairs Canada website.
The Battle of the Somme was not a one day affair and the fighting continued, notably with a largely successful dawn attack by the British on July 14, through the summer months. In late August 1916, the "Byng Boys" moved from the muddy fields of Flanders to the Somme, where they took over a section of the front line west of the village of Courcelette. They ran into heavy fighting and suffered some 2,600 casualties before the full-scale offensive even got underway.

In the major offensive which began at dawn on September 15 the Canadian Corps, on the extreme left of the attack, assaulted on a 2,000 metre sector west of the village of Courcelette. Advancing behind a creeping barrage (a tactic which had recently been introduced by the British, a consequence of adequately trained gunners, more and better guns and more reliable ammunition), the infantry was aided by the "new engine of war," the armoured tank. There were only a few of these and they were extremely unreliable and very vulnerable to artillery fire. However, at this early stage of the war their sheer presence often threw the enemy into confusion. The attack went well. By 8 a.m., the main objective, a defence bastion known as the Sugar Factory, was taken, and the Canadians pushed ahead to Courcelette. Numerous German counter-attacks were successfully repulsed and by the next day the position was consolidated. The enemy then brought up reinforcements, the fighting intensified, and gains became microscopic.
Canadian Recruitment Poster

In the weeks that followed the three Canadian divisions again and again attacked a series of German entrenchments. The final Canadian objective was that "ditch of evil memory," Regina Trench. It repeatedly defied capture, and when the first three divisions were relieved in the middle of October, Regina Trench was closer, but still not taken.

When the newly arrived 4th Division took its place in the line it faced an almost unbelievable ordeal of knee-deep mud and violent, tenacious, enemy resistance. However, despite the almost impenetrable curtain of fire, on November 11 the Division captured Regina Trench—to find it reduced to a mere depression in the chalk. A week later, in the final attack of the Somme, the Canadians advanced to Desire Trench—a remarkable feat of courage and endurance. The 4th Division then rejoined the Corps opposite Vimy Ridge.

There were no further advances that year. The autumn rains turned the battlefield into a bog and the offensive staggered to a halt. The line had been moved forward only ten kilometres, though ground of itself was not particularly important except in terms of morale. The Allies had suffered some 650,000 casualties, and both sides had about 200,000 killed. The Germans refer to the Battle of the Somme as das Blutbad—the blood bath. One German officer described the Somme as "the muddy graveyard of the German Army," for the British it turned an army of eager, inexperienced recruits into a fighting machine on a par with those of France and Germany, but at a terrible cost in human life.

The Somme had cost Canada 24,029 casualties, but it was here that the Canadians confirmed their reputation as hard-hitting shock troops. "The Canadians," wrote Lloyd George, "played a part of such distinction that thenceforward they were marked out as storm troops; for the remainder of the war they were brought along to head the assault in one great battle after another. Whenever the Germans found the Canadian Corps coming into the line they prepared for the worst."
Second Canadian cemetery at Sunken Road, Contalmaison ( Somme, France) in which Private Bulford whose death age 21 was recorded as 12th October 1916 lies buried. He is also remembered on the Memorial Chamber of the Peace Tower in Ottawa, Canada.

Animals In Service Exhibition Saturday 10th & Sunday 11th September

The FOBLC is proud to host Animals In Service, an art exhibition celebrating the heroism of animals in the First World War.   It is part of National Cemeteries’ Week promoted by the National Federation of Cemetery Friends and the Commemoration of the Battle on the Somme, 

The exhibition will take place on Saturday 10th & Sunday 11th September from 11am – 4pm
in the Chapel in the LADYWELL CEMETERY, entrance via Ladywell Road. There will also be guided walks to selected graves at 2pm on both days.  Meet at the Ladywell Chapel.

Animals in Service - public art exhibition commemorates the anniversary of the Battle of the Somme through the huge contribution that 16 million animals in the First World War made in transport, logistics, cavalry and communications, as well as in the morale of troops. This exhibition tells the story of these animals before the war, during the war, and the lasting legacies they left after the war. The horses and camels used for transportation, the dogs, pigeons and songbirds used as messengers, together with those chosen as mascots and used in the propaganda of war. Also parasites contribution to the spread of trench fever will be considered by Sara Scott as well as the huge advances made in medicines to control epidemics after the war.

Jill Rock explores the role horses played as cavalry on the front line at the start of the War, to being integral to the transportation of food and supplies during the war, and to their more recent role in ceremonial parades at state occasions. Dogs who were trained to deliver first- aid to soldiers stuck in the mud of no-man’s land to stabilize their wounds before medics could reach them is the focus of Monica Wheeler’s work. Whilst Nicky Scott-Francis looks at carrier pigeons, who were believed to be a faster and safer method of communication than the telephone in flying their way across tricky terrain to deliver messages to the front line. Elizabeta Chojak-Mysko concentrates on the unsung hero, the camel, who could carry a soldier and six weeks’ worth of supplies for days in the desert without water, and stay much calmer than horses under fire. Louse Kosinska draws our attention to how animals have been used to stereotype national characteristics in wars to instill fear and hatred. Lastly, Jolanta Jagiello tells the story of Winnie, the bear, who starts the war as a mascot of Canadian Army Veterinary Corps, who during the war lands up as star attraction at London Zoo, and after the war as inspiration for ‘Winnie the Pooh’. 

Jane Clouson Book Reading by Paul Thomas Murphy

Paul Thomas Murphy's new book about the extraordinary murder of 
Jane Clouson  conclusively identifies the killer’s true identity.

The FOBLC is proud to be hosting a reading of a new book about Jane Clouson, 'Pretty Jane and the Viper of Kidbrooke Lane' on Saturday 16th July from 2.30pm – 4pm at the Chapel in Ladywell Cemetery.

Author Paul Thomas Murphy, who also wrote the excellent Shooting Victoria,  has extensively researched the death of Jane Clouson and has conclusively identified the killer's true identity.  Her murder led to widespread unrest, exacerbated by the fact that the main suspect was acquitted.  When she was buried in the Deptford (now Brockley) Cemetery, thousands followed her cortege; public subscription paid for the striking monument.

Paul Murphy has published his findings in this new book, and will be reading extracts. Attendees will also be able to visit the grave.  Copies of the book will be available at the special price of £15 (cash only)  Plus local composer and musician Hugh Shrapnel will play a specially composed piece in memory of Jane Clouson