In addition to the large Remembrance gatherings, 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 their local 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 within Stratton-on-the-Fosse. To begin, Lt Col N J Barrett led the Colour Party, Maria and Louis, Head Cadet of the Army Section and JUO Lily, and Bugler, Mr Patey 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 lay 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.