To­mor­row, church bells will be muf­fled for Re­mem­brance, then ring out to cel­e­brate the peace

The Daily Telegraph - - Letters to the editor - David Mor­gan Sue Marsh Jane Carr David Cur­tis

SIR – The “Ring­ing Re­mem­bers” ini­tia­tive aimed to have 1,400 new bell ringers by Armistice Day 2018, in mem­ory of the 1,400 bell ringers who lost their lives in the First World War. Not all gov­ern­ment ini­tia­tives fail to reach their tar­get: I be­lieve there are more than 1,700 new bell ringers now, and I am one of them.

I will be proudly wear­ing my Ring­ing Re­mem­bers badge and poppy while ring­ing to­mor­row at St John the Bap­tist church, Cot­tered, in Hert­ford­shire. At 10.30am the bells will be half muf­fled for 20 min­utes be­fore the Re­mem­brance Day ser­vice. Af­ter­wards, at 12:30pm, there will be open ring­ing, in cel­e­bra­tion of the peace and free­dom we en­joy.

I have had ex­ten­sive and ded­i­cated train­ing from un­paid tu­tors and rung the bells at We­ston, Grav­e­ley, St Ip­polyts and Lit­tle Wy­mond­ley and, of course, Cot­tered.

I am do­ing this to re­mem­ber all those killed in ac­tion and those wounded who were later sent home to die, like my grand­fa­ther Frank Mar­wood Bell, who was buried in Bog­nor Regis, Sus­sex, af­ter the war. There must be thou­sands like him not of­fi­cially recorded as a ca­su­alty of the war.

Steve­nage, Hert­ford­shire

SIR – Your mov­ing pho­to­graph of the sil­hou­ettes of the fallen of the First World War in St Mary’s church, Blyth (re­port, Novem­ber 9), is part of a pro­gramme or­gan­ised by There But Not There, a char­ity that raises money for vet­er­ans suf­fer­ing ill health as a re­sult of war.

We in Arun­del are priv­i­leged to be part of this. Ninety-three of those who left our town dur­ing the Great War never re­turned.

In our Ro­man Catholic cathe­dral and our Angli­can parish church 93 sim­i­lar forms sit silently in the pews, their names and an ac­com­pa­ny­ing poppy telling us who they were. In one of the front pews the im­ages of three broth­ers sit to­gether and at the back of the pews two sol­diers stand qui­etly, heads bowed and pop­pies in their tu­nics, in black sil­hou­ette.

As so of­ten in the life of our town, the Ro­man Catholic and Angli­can con­gre­ga­tions work to­gether in ac­tive re­mem­brance dur­ing this time, and we are de­lighted to join St Mary’s, Blyth, and other churches in this silent meditation on the courage of the fallen.

Arun­del, West Sus­sex

SIR – My fa­ther was 19 at the out­break of the First World War, and came from a farm­ing back­ground. In the early months of the war he en­listed. But his fa­ther went be­hind his back and used his in­flu­ence (and the fact that farm­ing was an es­sen­tial oc­cu­pa­tion at the time) to get him re­leased. This hap­pened three times, so my fa­ther did not join any fight­ing force.

He was sent a white feather: the sym­bol of cow­ardice. I never dis­cussed the war with him, but he felt him­self a mis­fit and never made male friends of his own age. Con­se­quently, there were never sig­nif­i­cant male fig­ures from out­side the fam­ily in my life. He never showed signs of dis­ap­point­ment, or hurt at peo­ple’s con­dem­na­tion, and was a car­ing and lov­ing fa­ther to me, my sis­ter and brother.

Tewkes­bury, Glouces­ter­shire

SIR – In nu­mer­ous me­dia re­ports, the many vol­un­teers for ser­vice in the First World War who came from Bri­tain’s over­seas do­min­ions and colonies have been de­scribed as be­ing from the “Com­mon­wealth”, which came into be­ing only af­ter 1926. The au­thors are pre­sum­ably keen to dis­so­ci­ate them­selves from the word “Em­pire”.

I am sure it would not be dis­hon­our­ing the mem­ory of all those brave peo­ple who came from afar to help us, if we could bring our­selves to use the E-word in a sym­pa­thetic and less self-pun­ish­ing way on this oc­ca­sion.

Pon­typridd, Mid Glam­or­gan

How they saw it: Armistice Day, Mu­ni­tions Cen­tre, by Fred­er­ick Etchells, painted in 1919

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