RINGING REMEMBERS IN THE WINCHESTER and PORTSMOUTH DIOCESAN GUILD OF CHURCH BELL RINGERS

Here at Portsmouth Cathedral, we are fortunate to have dedicated membership of bell ringers who ring the 12 bells in the cathedral tower. This weekend for Remembrance Sunday they will be ringing to remember the Armistice 100 years ago:

When the country's bells rang out on 11th November 1918 they announced the end of the most catastrophic war the world had seen yet. Bells were at the heart of  the community, marking events of  great significance and communicating to the people. The account of Armistice 1918 in Portsmouth Dockyard illustrates this well:           
 

"The bells of S Thomas and of St Mary were much in evidence. By kind permission of the Admiral Superintendent of the Royal Dockyard the ringers were allowed to leave work to ring the bells, and sufficient ringers were mustered to man both peals of bells. At 12 noon, simultaneously with a service in front of the town hall, and with hooters blowing, both peals 'fired' and continued to ring at intervals. At 3pm the bands changed over. In the evening, at both churches further ringing took place including visiting ringers from Gosport."

(Bells are "fired" by ringing them almost simultaneously in ascending sequence.)
                                              
During the nation's WW1 Centenary Commemoration period, ringers have been pleased to work alongside churches and communities to honour and remember those who made the supreme sacrifice for King and Country. Events have included church tower Open Days with Armistice 2018 information displays and special ringing performances.

Twelve bell ringers from the Winchester area who died in the Great War were a significant loss to the community; organised to commemorate those men, eight ringers of today, from the same church towers as those who had died, rang 1918 "changes"  at St John the Baptist Church, New Alresford recently.

Bell Ringers are privileged to continue the meaningful tradition of Remembrance Ringing. St Peter’s Church, Petersfield ringers will be remembering those townsfolk listed on the High Street War Memorial. During ten evenings leading up to Remembrance Sunday, 11 named  servicemen will be remembered by ringing for 11 minutes on each day. Their Remembrance Ringing tributes on other evenings will honour those who perished when serving in the Royal Flying Corps, Royal Navy, British Army, Royal Marines and Merchant Navy.

"Ringing Remembers" is the nation's bell ringers' campaign to mark the WW1 Armistice Centenary and is officially endorsed and sponsored by HM Government. Churches and ringers right across our Winchester and Portsmouth Bell Ringer's Guild region will be participating and doing their utmost to have tower bells ringing out, loud and clear, for all to hear.

"Ringing Remembers" across the bell ringing world has focused on recruiting 1,400 new bell ringers, to symbolically replace and honour the 1,400 known to have died in the WW1 conflict. 2,000 new recruits have registered, the majority in the U.K., and many will be making their personal Act of Remembrance by ringing bells on Armistice Day 2018.
                                                                                                           

There will be a number of church bells being rung that were specifically cast as WW1 Memorial Bells. Examples are located at Winchester Cathedral - two bells were added to the existing ten as a memorial to the members of the then Winchester Diocesan Guild who died in the war; the bells, were cast by Gillett and Johnston. At St. Mary's, Alverstoke there are six cast by Taylors in 1918, and at All Hallows, Whitchurch, two were cast by Mears & Stainbank in 1919 in memory of local people who perished during the conflict.

There will be half-muffled ringing in Act of Remembrance church services at 11 a.m., "Open" ringing (so no muffles used) after 12.30 p.m. to support processions and marches in celebration of peace and many bells will be ringing as part of  "Battle's Over" - a unique series of events involving communities all over the world, an initiative of Bruno Peek M.B.E.

Bells in two Anglican cathedrals will be playing a significant role and will be easily heard from outside.

At Winchester:
 - 9 a.m. - 9.55 a.m.
   Remembrance Ringing when Mr. M. Winterbourne, 
  Master of the Winchester and Portsmouth Diocesan Guild of Church Bell Ringers 
  will join the Cathedral Bell ringers in paying their respects to more than 60 bell
  ringers who lost their lives in WW1; many of their names are carved
  on the oak memorial tablet in the bell ringing chamber.
 
- 12.30 - 1 p.m.     Ringing "Open" as part of the national celebration of peace.

- 7.05 p.m. - 7.45 p.m. Celebrating "Battle's Over"

At Portsmouth:
 - 9.45 a.m. - 10.30 a.m. prior to the morning service
   when Chris Cockel, who started learning to ring at the cathedral in January this
   year, will be participating. Chris told us " My motivation for learning to ring was
   my great-granduncle, who was a bell ringer in Cambridgeshire and was killed in
    World War 1."

- from 1 p.m. throughout the afternoon, non-stop until around 6 p.m., ten ringers will
perform a special composition of7000 "changes". Each change rung will represent
a Portsmouth life lost.

Details of much of the WW1 Remembrance ringing that will have taken place will be recorded and accessible to view. Printed volumes of these archives will be presented to Winchester and Portsmouth Cathedrals in 2019.

For further information about bell ringing, please contact Viv Nobbs, Public Relations Officer
The Winchester and Portsmouth Diocesan Guild of Church Bell Ringers. Em:wpprovcn@gmail.comTel: 01983 530920 and 07594 609 366


Portsmouth Cathedral