Bell ringers mark 100 years since Battle of the Somme


Bells rang out across the town to mark 100 years since the Battle of the Somme and the local men who were lost.

St Mary’s Church, Westham, paid a special tribute to one of its former bell ringers, Henry Burgess.



He was a farm labourer and lived in Peelings Lane, learning to ring the bells before joining the Royal Sussex Regiment. He fought in the 13th Battalion on the Western Front in France, and on the June 30 1916, aged just 25, he was killed, along with 364 other Sussex men. His name is recorded in the Roll of Honour for Bell Ringers in St Paul’s Cathedral.

While the whole world was remembering the horrors and heroism of the forces in the Battle of the Somme, St Mary’s bells were rung in a quarter peal of “Cambridge Minor” by Alan and Christine Baldock, Pauline Kennard, Sandra Titherley and Frances and Peter Bradford, supported by St Mary’s Tower Captain, Angela 
Long. The tenor bell, recently re-installed in the tower 
is engraved with the names 
of Harry Burgess and for other Westham bell ringers who all died in the same war.

Tom and Trudy Drummond, Chairman and Secretary of the Westham and Pevensey Branch of the Royal British Legion, were present to pay their respects.

The bells of St Mary’s, Willingdon, also rang out on June 30 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Boar’s Head.

Two men from Willingdon were killed at the battle and are named on the memoria as Arthur White, Ernest Wooller, who was with Nelson Carter when shot and is the great great great uncle of the youngest bell ringer at St Mary’s Church in Willingdon village.

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