The first quarter peal at Sherfield-on-Loddon by a predominantly local band for more than 30 years was rung on 31 August 2015 and included three first quarter pealers. The quarter was rung to mark the centenary of the death of local war hero Captain John Liddell VC MC and comprised 1260 of Plain Bob Doubles. The ringers were (from left to right above) Sue Hobbs (1st quarter), Elizabeth Ford (1st quarter), Chris Ford (first as conductor for more than 30 years), Alison Ford (1st quarter), Betty & Mike Rice (both St Michael’s Basingstoke ringers). Sue, Elizabeth and Alison have been ringing for more than ten years and the opportunity to mark an important local event encouraged them to try for a quarter peal.
Captain Liddell was brought up in Sherfield Manor (now Sherfield School), volunteered for the army and was serving with the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders in the the early part of the first World War when he was awarded the Military Cross for saving another soldier’s life. After a transfer to the Royal Flying Corp, a forerunner of the RAF, and pilot training at Brooklands, he and an observer were flying a reconnaissance mission over German lines in Belgium on 31 July 1915 when his plane was hit by enemy fire. Despite being severely wounded, he saved his observer’s life by piloting his badly damaged aircraft to a landing behind British lines and was awarded the Victoria Cross for his heroism. Regrettably, his injuries led to septic poisoning and he died in Belgium on 31 August 1915, at the age of 27. His funeral in London was followed by a procession through Basingstoke to his burial plot at Holy Ghost Cemetery.