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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Death of a Local Hero : Major Charles Edward Fysh DSO MC and Bar. Killed in Action on the Marne, France July 28th 1918

Major Charles Edward Fysh
Major Charles Edward Fysh (1894-1918)
Located alongside one of the inner pathways in Ladywell cemetery lies the headstone (see photograph below) on which the name of Major Charles Edward Fysh is inscribed with those of his parents. He was with British troops taking part in Marshal Foch’s large scale and highly successful counter offensive of the River Marne in July 1918, which proved to be the start of an unbroken series of Allied successes termed 'The Hundred Days Offensive' lasting until the November 11th Armistice.

The headstone will be visited on a Guided Walk: The Final Push on Sunday 9th September 2pm – 3.30pm. The walk commemorates  the final efforts to end the First World War and will visit other relevant headstones and memorials.
Headstone with name of Major Charles Edward Fysh inscribed alongside those of his parents.
It was whilst serving with the 6th battalion Seaforth Highlanders that he was killed on 28 July 1918 at Chaumuzy on the Marne while holding the rank of Acting Lieutenant Colonel. He had attended Colfe's School from 1906-1911 and was 23 when he was killed having earlier joined the Seaforth Highlanders on the outbreak of war from his university Officer Training Corps.  The London Gazette of 24 July 1917 carries the citation for his first Military Cross : “ For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty in leading his company in a successful counter-attack upon the enemy. He afterwards personally reconnoitred and cleared up the situation in front of his line, taking command of another company which had lost its commander and establishing strong posts and communication with both flanks. His promptness and initiative were most marked. ”

His second MC was Gazetted on 23 July 1918 :”For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. It was mainly owing to this officer's courage and determination in command of a company that the line held throughout two days' fighting. He continued his fine work during the three following days, constantly exposed to machine-gun fire, and by encouraging his men inflicting heavy losses on the enemy.

The citation for his Distinguished Service Order Gazetted on 13 September 1918 reads : “For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty in command of his battalion in action. He displayed great capabilities for organisation, rallying men of other units and leading them forward through heavy fire to posts from which they were able to inflict severe loss on the enemy. He made repeated reconnaissances to the front and flanks, regardless of his own safety, and on one occasion it was mainly due to his good work that the enemy failed to effect a crossing over a canal.”

He is buried in the churchyard of the village of St Imoges near Epernay
(Inline image)  churchyard of the village of St Imoges near Epernay

The Fysh family have a very distinguished lineage - one relative Sir Philip Oakley Fysh became Premier of Tasmania and another was Sir Wilmot Hudson Fysh, KBE, DFC who became a famous Australian aviator during the Great War in the Middle Eastern Campaigns and was the founder of the Australian airline company Qantas
Inline image

Messages, Medals, and Memorials – public art exhibition in Ladywell Cemetery Chapel Saturday 8th & Sunday 9th September 11am – 4pm

Messages, Medals, and Memorials – a public art exhibition which will be in the Chapel of the Ladywell Cemetery on Saturday 8th & Sunday 9th September 11am – 4pm, commemorates the contribution of Colonial troops and the Labour Corps to the war effort in the First World War. Though never fully acknowledged, Europe's Great War was a war of colonials and a colonial theatre of war. Over 4 million African, Indian, Caribbean and other colonial troops and personnel played a crucial role in supporting the Allied cause in World War I. The Labour Corps, formed in January 1917, grew to some 389,900 men, more than 10% of the total size of the Army by the Armistice on 11th November 1918.

In sharp contrast to notions of duty, honour and fighting for King and Country, Colonial troops and Labour corps faced a whole range of inequalities in military and non-military equipment, mobility and privileges that separated them from their white counterparts. Non-white colonial troops and labour corps were routinely segregated, closely watched, subject to curfews and other restrictions.

Messages, Medals, and Memorials through the artworks on display tells the stories of their lives before the war, their war service and their heroism, as well as the memorials that stand as a testament to their sacrifice. Nicky Scott-Francis explores the war service of the Gurkhas. Sara Scott will focus on the Sikh soldiers of the Indian Army who lost at least 174,187 soldiers during the war. Monica Wheeler tells the story of black soldier Walter Tull, whilst Louse Kosinska looks at the contribution of the North and South African Labour Corps. Elizabeta Chojak-Mysko draws attention to the Chinese Labour Corps, the soldiers of ‘menial chores’ who worked 10 hours a day, 6 days a week. Jill Rock and Jolanta Jagiello uncover the truly forgotten ‘soldiers’, Jill Rock commemorating the 210,000 Irishmen who served in the British forces, with Jolanta Jagiello highlighting Conscientious Objectors who refused to kill and were imprisoned for their beliefs fighting in the name of peace.

The exhibition was originally funded by Southwark Council Neighbourhood Fund and is curated by Jolanta Jagiello.  The exhibition is in the Chapel of the Ladywell Cemetery, Ladywell Road, SE13 7HY on Saturday 8th & Sunday 9th September 11am – 4pm. and

Friends of Brockley and Ladywell Cemeteries 11th Anniversary Open Day, Sunday 8th July 2018 from 11am to 4:30pm

Please join us for our 11th anniversary Open Day on 8th July 2018, from 11am to 4:30pm.

There will be FREE guided walks of the Cemeteries visiting the graves of sportsmen, poets, war veterans and local figures as well as flora and bird life.  Times for guided walks will be 11:30am, 12:30pm, 1:30pm, 2:30pm and 3:30pm

In addition there will be a photographic exhibition of monuments and wildlife in the Ladywell Chapel, refreshments and a plant stall.

Come and find out more about the wildlife and history of this tranquil local green space

We look forward to seeing you there

Brockley Gate entrance: Brockley Road SE4 2QY Crofton Park BR, 122/171/172 bus routes
Ladywell Gate entrance:  Brockley Grove SE13 7HY   P4 bus route, Ladywell BR

Heavyweight Champion Jack Johnson's Ladywell Cemetery link

The news on May 24th 2018 that President Donald Trump had posthumously pardoned Jack Johnson, boxing’s first black heavyweight champion, for a’ racially motivated injustice’ when the Boxer was imprisoned in 1913 gives us this opportunity to reveal a fascinating historical cemetery link.

Located at the apex of an inner pathway in Ladywell cemetery lies the grandiloquent columnar headstone to Sir Henry Tozer (his wife Annie predeceased him) He was Chairman of the United Theatres of Variety (Syndicate Halls) and a Member of Westminster Borough Council.  The Music Hall Guild of Great Britain and America are considering restoring the headstone.

Sir Henry Tozer's headstone, photo courtesy of Find-a-Grave website

In the role of Music Hall Boss Sir Henry Tozer organised for Bombardier Billy Wells to fight the current world heavyweight champion, Jack Johnson, in London in October 1911, but religious opponents of excessive prize money, led by Baptist minister Frederick Brotherton Meyer, and opponents of contests between the races, caused the fight to be cancelled by Winston Churchill, who was then Home Secretary. A 'colour bar' remained in British boxing until 1947. 

A rare, color supplement poster of Jack Johnson and Bombardier Billy Wells issued for their scheduled fight in 1911.

Jack Johnson Boxing Scandal: Daily Mail

NUNHEAD CEMETERY OPEN DAY Saturday 19th May 11am – 5pm

The FOBLC will again be having a stall at this event organised by the Friends of Nunhead Cemetery. It's a great day, hopefully see you there!