THE
MINDEN DAY
MYSTERIES

 


"The Mystery Roses
of
MINDEN DAY "

__________

The Mystery the eating of the
MINDEN ROSE
by the youngest Officer of the Regiment on Minden Day
__________

and the
"MINDEN POEM"

Each year, six red roses are delivered to the British Consulate General, Chicago, Kansas City, St Louis, and Minneapolis on or around August 1st Anonymously.

The card accompanying the roses is always in an envelope marked IN MEMORIAM, and always reads:

MINDEN DAY

1 AUGUST 1759

THE SUFFOLK REGIMENT
LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS
ROYAL WELCH FUSILIERS
KINGS OWN SCOTTISH BORDERERS
ROYAL HAMPSHIRE REGIMENT
YORKSHIRE LIGHT INFANTRY

And on the inside:

THEY ADVANCED THROUGH ROSE GARDENS TO THE BATTLEGROUND
AND DECORATED THEIR TRICORNE HATS AND GRENADIER CAPS WITH
THE EMBLEM OF ENGLAND. THESE REGIMENTS CELEBRATE MINDEN
DAY STILL, AND ALL WEAR ROSES IN THEIR CAPS ON THIS
ANNIVERSARY IN MEMORY OF THEIR ANCESTORS.

The roses have been coming to this office almost every year since at least 1967.


We should like to thank our anonymous donor. Is there any chance that we might thank him in person for paying honour every year to the men who fell on August 1, 1759? Or are we correct in supposing that the roses may be ordered by a lawyer, in execution of a will? A visitor to this office on August 1, 1991 asked if the roses had been delivered then remarked "It may not go on much longer" and left without further conversation. We were all the more delighted when the Minden Roses arrived again in 1992 and every year since, except 2001 and 2002.

The Battle of Minden took place during the Seven Years War (of which the French and Indian War was a colonial sideshow or vice versa, depending on the viewpoint). The six British regiments at Minden were part of a 43,000-strong Anglo-Hanoverian army led by Ferdinand of Brunswick which defeated a French army of 60,000 led by the Marshal de Contades. Contades bitterly remarked, "I never thought to see a single line of infantry break through three lines of cavalry ranked in order of battle, and tumble them to ruin." The British troops lost 321 (killed or wounded), with Kingsley’s [20th Foot] suffering the heaviest casualties.

Minden is located on the River Weser, not far from Hanover, Germany. It is still a garrison town, and the British Army is billeted there in some strength. Each year the battle is commemorated with a joint British and German wreath-laying ceremony with a suitable reception usually hosted by the local British brigade commander afterwards.

For further information please contact Caroline Cracraft 312-970-3811
I have email the British Consulate General,in Chicago, to see if they have had their Roses this year.

Mystery Minden Roses Delivered to the British Consulate-General, Chicago
Update 1st August 2014

For the 47th year, a mysterious bouquet of roses has been delivered in honour of #MindenDay: pic.twitter.com/sQI23XsgKS




E Mail received by Dennis and Dave Yarnall,

Thank you for your message. The Minden roses indeed arrived again this year. I am attaching a copy of the press release which we are sending to local media. As in years previous, we are unable to identify the anonymous sender.

This annual tradition has gone on since at least 1967 in Chicago, possibly earlier but we could not confirm that. The British government offices in Kansas City, St Louis, and Minneapolis also reported receiving roses until those posts were closed. Given how long this tradition has gone on - some have speculated that the roses are ordered by a lawyer in execution of a will.

Kind regards,

Mark Sullivan
Assistant Public Affairs Officer
British Consulate-General, Chicago
400 N Michigan Ave, Ste 1300
Chicago, IL 60611
Tel: 312 970 3808
Fax: 312 970 3852

www.britainusa.com/chicago

 

British
Consulate-General
Chicago
The Wrigley Building
400 North Michigan Avenue
Suite 1300
Chicago, Illinois 60611
Website www.britainusa.com/chicago

Tel: (312) 970-3811
Fax: (312) 970-3852
E-mail: Samantha.Nugent@fco.gov.uk

Press Release


Wednesday, August 1st, 2007
Contact: Samantha G. Nugent Tel: 312.970.3811
MINDEN ROSES
Delivered Anonymously Each August 1st to British Consulate General, Chicago
Each year, six red roses are delivered to the British Consulate General, Chicago, on or around August 1st. The roses have been coming to this office almost every year since at least 1967. There were no roses 2001-02. The card accompanying the roses is in an unmarked envelope, and always reads:

MINDEN DAY
1 AUGUST 1759
THE SUFFOLK REGIMENT
LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS
ROYAL WELCH FUSILIERS
KING'S OWN SCOTTISH BORDERERS
ROYAL HAMPSHIRE REGIMENT
YORKSHIRE LIGHT INFANTRY
And on the inside:
THEY ADVANCED THROUGH ROSE GARDENS TO THE BATTLEGROUND AND DECORATED THEIR TRICORNE HATS AND GRENADIER CAPS WITH THE EMBLEM OF ENGLAND. THESE REGIMENTS CELEBRATE MINDEN DAY STILL, AND ALL WEAR ROSES IN THEIR CAPS ON THIS ANNIVERSARY IN MEMORY OF THEIR ANCESTORS.

The donor is a mystery to us. Twice in the past the customer had sent a money order in the name of X.T.Atkins, presumably a pseudonym for a British ex-serviceman, since Tommy Atkins is the British equivalent of G I Joe. The envelope was mailed from North Suburban Illinois and Westchester IL, giving a fictitious address: 1759 Albion - combining the date of the battle and the ancient name for Britain. We assume that the donor had an ancestor who fought and fell at the Battle of Minden, or that he himself served in one of the regiments. Members of these regiments to this day wear roses in their caps on Minden Day, and the officers actually eat them in champagne at dinner.
The Battle of Minden took place during the Seven Years War and the six British regiments at Minden were part of a 43,000-strong Anglo-Hanoverian army led by Ferdinand of Brunswick which defeated a French army of 60,000 led by the Marshal de Contades. Minden is located on the River Weser, not far from Hanover, Germany. Each year the battle is commemorated with a joint British and German wreath-laying ceremony with a reception to follow.

We should like to thank our anonymous donor. Is there any chance that we might thank him in person for paying honour every year to the men who fell on 1 August 1759?


The mystery is quite fascinating and I just wonder if this person could have anything to do with it because the time-line fits perfectly.

Promoted to lieutenant general, he was posted in 1967 to Washington, DC, as head of the British Services Joint Mission, the link between the British and American Joint Chiefs of Staff. Maintaining the close alliance in a period of British economic difficulty and defence retrenchment was not easy. But the Americans opened their offices and confidences to him more fully than protocol demanded, because they liked and respected him, as the chairman of the American Joint Chiefs observed on his retirement in 1970.

The identity can be found in our pages.

Mike Murray
Click on yellow box below and go down just after Uncle Albert Tatlock


fascinating stuff as the tradition obviously still goes on having shifted the scene from Kansas City to Chicago. Looking in an old copy of the Gallipoli Gazette No 92 Autumn 1964 there are letters which show that the tradition was going since at least 1950 to the Kansas City Consulate and it obviously switch to Chicago when that office closed.
I think it must be a bequest in someone's will???

I wonder?
Maurice Taylor
The Gallipoli Gazette No92 Autumn 1964


The Minden Poem

“Here let me tell how Minden’s plain was won,
While feats of arms obscured the noonday sun;
The Gallic steeds obeyed their master’s mind,
Spurn at the thunder, and outstrip the wind;
Their crests refulgent shine, their nostrils wide
With foaming bursts emit the fleecelike tide;
The British foot, by equal files were dress’d,
Their panting hearts with love of fame impress’d;
The dreadful charge perceived, with well-aimed fire,
Their squadrons checked, both man and horse expire;
Resistless force the blazing cannon pours,
Her ponderous ball, or clust’ring grape shot showers;
From right to left, from front to rear, was seen
A dreadful carnage, and a sanguined green.”

By T D Lawrence.
Ensign 20th Regiment

Ensign Lawrence carried one of the Colours of the 20th at the Battle of Minden


Another Mystery the Eating of the Minden Rose
We have for a number of years now been trying to get to the bottom of why the youngest member of the Officers mess had to eat the Minden Roses, which still goes on today (See the link below and go down the page until you get to 1st August Minden Day this is a tradition with other Regiments too, this one is The 32 (Minden) Battery 16th Regiment RA)
http://www.unficyp.org/Blue_beret/Oct_Nov00.pdf
We have asked Ex mess caterers who have not got the anwser, 1 ex WO1 told us if it was an Officer who was well liked his rose was well marinated and Frozen if he was not liked it was not frozen and only dipped in the champagne. (How was yours Mike)
Dennis Laverick
____________________________________________

I quite unashamedly sucked up to the Mess Colour Sergeant for a week or two before the Minden Dinner and received the most tender and delicious young rose without a single thorn.
I am, however, ashamed to say I can't remember who he was now. It's an age thing, don't ya know!
Mike Murray
_____________________________________________


When I joined in 1948 every newly commissioned officer who had never eaten a Minden Rose did so on Minden Day. Mine was as big as a cabbage and swilled around in a silver dish with at least half a bottle of champagne. There were about five of us. I well remember "Squeeker" Briggs was the PMC. I was Mr Vice as the most junior officer present and had to do the Loyal Toast, Sgt MacDonald was the Mess Sgt ( his waxed mustache was bigger than Kitners), Cpl Fitzpartick was Mess Cpl, L/Cpl Wright was Mess Barman, Ptes Cassen and Crew were Mess Cooks. ***t I can't remember the names of the Mess Waiters .....it must be dementia Mike? But it was a great evening...happy days almost 60 years ago.
Maurice Taylor