The Royal British Legion (Midsomer Norton and Radstock Branch) has revived the Dressing of the Graves ceremony, which is an old tradition of laying individual poppy sprays to remember those servicemen and women laid to rest in the local area. 

The RBL Dressing of the Graves tradition began during the First World War when fallen soldiers were returned home to their local military cemetery or churchyard. When war memorials were first built in 1920, they became the focus of Remembrance Services across the country.

On Saturday 13th November, the RBL joined some of Downside’s Combined Cadet Force to conduct small, personal ceremonies at three locations in Stratton-on-the-Fosse. To begin, Lt Col N J Barrett led the Colour Party, Maria and Louis, Lily (Head Cadet of the Army Section and JUO) and Mr Patey (Bugler) to St Vigor’s Church for the first service. The second service took place at Downside Abbey Monks’ Cemetery, where the nine pupils tragically killed in the 1943 air crash lie alongside the pilot and one other fallen OG. Dom Leo Maidlow-Davis led the Service, with members of the CCF each laying a poppy spray at the graves. Finally, Dom Michael Clothier led the last Service at St Benedict’s Church.

A list of those remembered at each location can be found below:

St Vigor’s Church
Pte A W Powell

Downside Abbey Church
2nd Lt R J Burke
Sub Lt A McCracken
Hugh Michael Dearlove
David Michael Jennings
David Hugo Lowndes
Laurence Joannis McNabb
Brian Richard McSwiney
Michal Bagot Quinlan
Philip Humphrey Rose
Keith Edward Stokes

St Benedict’s Church
Pte C P Osborne
RSM Thomas Cahill, DCM

We will remember them. Requiescat in Pace.