VE Day – 75 Years On

75 years ago today, 8th May 1945 church bells rang out across the nation to signify the end of the war. It had been planned that bellringers from Barrow and Dalton would first ring the bells at St Marys at 7pm, and then at St James at 8pm this evening as part of a national act of commemoration. But today, as we fight a different kind of war, the bells will be silent. But when this is over, they will ring again, over our wonderful town and surrounding area.
Stay safe everyone.

The Tower account from 75 years ago says:

At the beginning of May 1945 it was clear that the end of the War in Europe was close at hand. The Allies were victorious in every phase of the War.

It was only to be expected that when the day of peace arrived, the bells of all the churches in the land should ring out to celebrate the event.

The actual announcement of the cessation of hostilities was made on the 9p.m news of May 7th 1945. and some towers in the district rang then and there that night.

We made an arrangement on the previous Sunday to all turn up at
the tower one hour after the announcement was made, but owing to the lateness of the hour many considered it advisable to defer the ringing until the morning.

Mr Limb however turned up about 9.30pm and rang the bells up ready for us but as no one else turned up he perforce had to ring them down again. In the process he had attracted about 50 people to the Church where a short service was arranged to give expression to the general thankfulness.

On the following day Tuesday May 8th 1945 the assembled ringers rang a series of ringings and a course of Grandsire Triples

812 Grandsire Triples in 32 Minutes

TrebleS Usher5R K Barnes
2F C Limb6A Stedman
3J Bracewell7J Burles
4J WilliamsTenorA G Dalton

A very memorable occasion

Servicemen ring in memory of President Roosevelt

Not long before marking VE Day, the local ringers were joined by servicemen stationed in Barrow/Walney to ring the bells half-muffled in memory of President Roosevelt who died on 12th April 1945. The tower account is given below:

April 16th 1945

In view of the fact that Lieut. R Smith who is shortly due to leave Barrow in one of His Majesty’s Shiips completed at Messrs Vickers Armstrongs Ltd Local Works, had not up to the present rang a Peal, and as this also applied to Mr R.K.Barnes, and as both these gentlemen had been regular ringers at St James at St James during the time they have been in Barrow, the former as stated in H.M.Navy and the latter as a member of the staff of the local Technical College.

Corporal Dalton, stationed at the R.A.F Aerodrome, Walney, came up the Ringing Tower on the Sunday fortnight before the attempt was made and kindly offered to cover. He and Lieut. Smith both had numerous blisters on their hands the following day.

It was arranged that an attempt at a Peal should be made on this date. Grandsire Triples was decided on and the attempt commenced at approximately 6.25 p.m.

The following ringers took part:-

  1. Lieut R.Smith R.N.
  2. F. C. Limb
  3. S. Usher
  4. J. Bracewell
  5. R.K. Barnes
  6. E. Iddon
  7. J.E. Burles (Conductor)
  8. Cpl. Dalton R.A.F

The ringing was excellent for over 3 hours but unfortunately when the last part was entered, a well intentioned remark by the Conductor was misconstrued and a certain amount of confusion existed for a time. This soon disappeared but the peal did not ring true at the end, the attempt finishing at 9.45 p.m.

A very good effort with an unfortunate ending

It would be interesting to record at this stage the home town of the ringers who took part:-

Lieut. R. Smith R.N.Wickambreaux, Kent
Cpl. DaltonBedale, Yorks
J. BracewellBacup
E. IddonBolton
R. K. BarnesWigan
F. C. Limb
J. E. Burles
S. Usher

Bell ringing resumed following the battle of El-Alamein

A photo from earlier in the war when the bells resumed following the battle of El-Alamein, the photo was also published in the local paper on Monday 16th November 1942. Some of the ringers rang for VE day too.