On Wednesday, 8 May 2019 at 12 noon a School Children/Youth Flower Laying Ceremony will be held in remembrance to all of the fallen of World Wars 1 and 2 at the war graves in Fort Pitt Military Cemetery at City Way in Rochester, Kent.
There are 289 graves of veterans buried in this cemetery. Many of these graves are for people who died of their wounds in Medway Hospitals during both wars. The veterans laid to rest at this cemetery are not from this area; many are from overseas or other parts of the UK so lots of the graves have never had any flowers placed on them.
The purpose of the service on 8 May 2019 is to remember and give thanks for the people laid to rest in this cemetery who have given their lives for the freedom we enjoy today. It is hoped that the young people of today will continue this tradition and pass it on to the next generations and also give them a sense of pride in our cemeteries. It is hoped in turn that this will reduce vandalism in cemeteries. It is also hoped that this will promote a wildlife friendly environment in the graveyard.
This is not a Royal British Legion event or a military service. It is non-political and non-religious. It is believed that this is the first service of this kind in the UK though these services started in Arnhem, Holland in 1946 after WW2 ended and when all the bodies from the battle were buried. Led by the Rector’s wife, the villagers picked flowers out of all of the gardens and the children put the flowers on every grave in the war cemetery. This service continues to this day, some 75 years later, and has now extended all over Arnhem and other Dutch towns.
We would like to invite your school or youth organisation to take part in this ceremony on 8 May 2019. If you are able to participate please could you let us know (details below) how many pupils you will be bringing to lay flowers by 6th April 2019. Grave space is limited so initially schools will be allocated a few graves on the day, once we have the final numbers of attendees, but nobody will be turned away should they wish to lay flowers.
The rules for laying flowers are as follows: (this is to protect the environment and wildlife currently residing in this cemetery).
1. Small sprays of flowers only – no large bouquets.
2. To be environmentally friendly and to prevent litter, no plastic wrapping should be around the sprays of flowers as it could endanger wildlife.
3. No flowerpots are allowed – these could interfere with the work the gardeners do to look after the graves.
4. Flowers to be laid on the grass in front of the graves.
5. No plastic flowers of any kind are to be laid – all flowers placed should be bio-degradable.
6. Plastic wreaths can be placed on the Cross of Sacrifice only.
7. Small wooden crosses are allowed on the graves.
Scout and Guide Leaders are qualified first aiders and will be in attendance and they will be asked to bring first aid kits to act as first aid cover for this event.
This event is being organised by Geoff Butler, a Medway veteran, assisted by Councillor Vince Maple, Labour Group Leader at Medway Council and Member for Chatham Central Ward, along with guidance from Mr Graham Galloway, Station Officer at Brompton Barracks.
For more information about this event please look at our Facebook Group:-
There is a video on this page explaining this event and showing the Arnhem youth celebrations to give everyone an idea of what to expect. All updated information will be on this site.
If you require any further information please don’t hesitate to contact us.
We look forward to hearing from you.
Organiser – Flowers for the Fallen Medway