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Due to an error a large part of an article submitted by David Hershall was omitted from the November issue. The Alrewas Bell ringers are commemorating the centenary of the Armistice of the first world war, and I felt that due to this being so significant at this time of remembrance, it was worthy of a separate Parish News extra to help us reflect. 

                                                                  With my sincerest apologies

                                                                                     Nikki Burns

Alrewas bell ringers will commemorate the Centenary of
the Armistice of the First World War

This year, on Sunday 11 November, it will be exactly 100 years since the Armistice of the First World War.  During that war it is estimated that there were between 744,000 and 887,858 military deaths from the British Isles.  These figures include those who were declared as missing in action.
Over the past four years, the Alrewas bell ringers have been ringing the bells of All Saints on the centenary date of those service personnel connected to the village and surrounding area who had lost their lives, or who were missing in action, from 1914 onwards.  These commemorations have amounted to remembering to date 26 servicemen.
Furthermore, during the war a total of 1,400 bell ringers from across the British Isles, included in these total deaths, lost their lives in the service of their country.  One of those deaths had been that of John Bean who had been an Alrewas bell ringer.  He was one of those 26 servicemen from the area who had lost their lives, and his sacrifice was commemorated on All Saints’ bells last August.
In November 2017 an exciting campaign was launched by the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers to recruit 1,400 new bell ringers to honour those ringers who had lost their lives during the conflict.  This campaign, which goes under the description of “Ringing Remembers”, will also include the ringing of church bells throughout the British Isles on Sunday 11 November to commemorate this centenary of the 1918 Armistice.  The aim is that those new ringers who have sufficiently mastered the art of bell ringing will be able to join the established ringers at their local towers by ringing on that day.  The campaign has officially been endorsed and sponsored by HM Government and is funded by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.
We are, therefore, pleased to report that during the summer, three youngsters started to learn to ring at All Saints as part of this campaign.  They have been working hard over the ensuing months in learning the technique of handling a church bell and will now be able to ring on Remembrance Sunday with the other All Saints’ ringers.
Bell ringing is a British tradition, which dates back over 400 to 500 years.  There are about 5,500 towers in the British Isles that ring changes as is carried out on the bells of All Saints.  As part of the national commemoration and the Ringing Remembers campaign that is to take place on Remembrance Sunday, it is planned that the bells of All Saints, Alrewas, will be rung at the following times:
  • 10:15 until 10:45 – bells to be rung half-muffled (*see Note below) for the 11:00 Act of Remembrance;
  • 12:30 (approximately) for 20 to 30 minutes – bells to be rung with the muffles having been removed;
  • 15:00 – a quarter peal lasting about an hour to be rung to celebrate the end of the First World War.
(NOTE: - when bells are rung half-muffled, the sound is such that one change is rung at the same normal loud level, with the following change sounding like a muffled mournful echo, with this procedure then being repeated continuously)
Frederick George Marston
It is intended to associate Frederick George Marston with the quarter peal that is to be rung at 15:00 on Remembrance Sunday.  He died on 13 November 1918, just two days after the Armistice.  It is, though, not known how he died, but he is listed as a World War 1 casualty by the Commonwealth War Grave Commission.
Frederick had been born in 1895 at No 5 Junction Cottages, Wychnor, and was the son of Alfred, a railway engine driver, and Caroline Marston.  He had enlisted in the Army Service Corps and was assigned to one of the supply bases.  He is buried in the Etaples Military Cemetery at the Pas-de-Calais and was posthumously awarded the 1914-15 Star, established in December 1918, and the British and Victory Medals, both of which were established in 1919.  These three medals were collectively irreverently referred to as Pip, Squeak and Wilfred, after three comic strip characters, a dog, a penguin and a rabbit, which were popular in the immediate post-war period.
It is intended to commemorate on the All Saints bells during 2019 at least three other casualties of the First World War associated with the area who had died from war wounds subsequent to the Armistice, one of whom was buried in the churchyard of St Stephen’s, Fradley.  There were a few other casualties as well, but unfortunately their dates of death are unknown.
David Herschell                            

Our mailing address is:
All Saints Church
Church Road
Burton on Trent, Staffordshire DE13 7BT
United Kingdom

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All Saints Church · Church Road · Alrewas · Burton on Trent, Staffordshire DE13 7BT · United Kingdom

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