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:
1 AUGUST 1759
THE SUFFOLK REGIMENT
And on the inside:
THEY ADVANCED THROUGH ROSE GARDENS TO THE BATTLEGROUND
The roses have been coming to this office almost every year since at least 1967.
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 Kingsleys [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
Mystery Minden Roses Delivered to the British Consulate-General,
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.
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
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.
Here let me tell how
Mindens plain was won,
By T D Lawrence.
Ensign Lawrence carried one of the Colours of the 20th at the Battle of Minden
Another Mystery the Eating of the Minden Rose
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.