Remember - Service Graves

So, I've just had the excitement/terror of chatting live on my local radio station, BBC Berkshire about the service graves that Mum and I look after in St. John's Churchyard in Woodley.

You see, almost 80 years ago, my Grandad arrived at the RAF airfield in Woodley to learn how to fly. He did his first solo here and went on to fly with the RAF right through WWII. He flew on D-Day and then spent the days after landing in Northern France to evacuate casualties under fire. When he eventually left the RAF, he and my Gran returned to Woodley, set up home there and I spent my early years in that very house.

A page from my Grandad's RAF logbook

A page from my Grandad's RAF logbook

Gran and Grandad are now buried together in the St. John's churchyard and a few years ago, on Remembrance Sunday, we noticed a couple of local Air Cadets laying poppies on two graves that are tucked next to the churchyard's boundary fence, under a tree.

When we looked into this a bit more, we found out that these two RAF officers had been killed on Woodley airfield when their plane, an Avro Anson, flipped over and crashed in flames on take-off. I doubt that these two came from Woodley so they've not been returned to their families, but left in a churchyard far from anyone who knew them.

The graves surrounded by weeds and bare earth

The graves surrounded by weeds and bare earth

And so Mum and I started looking after them. At Christmas, at Easter, at Remembrance and any other time of year when we were at the churchyard, we'd bring plants and flowers and try to clean the mud and dirt on their headstones and clear the weeds. One Christmas, we bought some stones to put around the graves, just to cover up the bare earth and show someone cared.

Me trying to weed!

Me trying to weed!

But now, the weeds are huge and clearing the tidying the graves is going to be a big job. However, it's a job that we want to do because after all, these two men were someone's sons and if you had relatives buried a long way from home, wouldn't you want to think someone did something, anything for them?

After yesterday's ministrations - looking a little more cared for

After yesterday's ministrations - looking a little more cared for

So I spoke on BBC Berkshire today and asked for some help. For some help in identifying those giant weeds or for a little help from a local garden centre with weedkiller, bulbs or anything that could help us show these two men that they've not been forgotten. Because they haven't been.

If you can help, please get in touch. Thank you so much.