CENTENARY – WORLD WAR I 1914-1919
PETERSFIELD CHURCH BELL RINGERS REMEMBER THE LOCAL FALLEN
As we remember those who died over 100 years ago in the Great War on the 100th anniversary of the signing of The Armistice that ended it, we will also be remembering those ringers who fought and were fortunate enough to return home at the end of the war.
Petersfield bell ringers from St Peter’s church will be remembering those who died listed on the High Street War Memorial by ringing each evening for 11 minutes on each of the ten evenings leading up to Remembrance Sunday on 11th November this year. On each evening 11 named fallen servicemen will be remembered beginning on 1st November with 11 serving men who died aged between 17 and 20 years old. On other evenings groups of 11 fallen individuals from the Royal Flying Corps, Royal Navy, Army, Marines and Merchant Navy will be remembered as well as the theatres they died in.
We will also be remembering those who fought and returned home, often injured or mentally scared. Petersfield ringers have identified and researched details of three veteran servicemen who rang before and after the war at St. Peters.
Archibald John GARRET
Archie went to war aged 31 leaving at home his widowed mother and two sisters at 1 Osbourne Road, Petersfield. He served as a Sergeant with a Siege Battery of the Royal Garrison Artillery in France. The battery would have consisted of 182 officers and men, 87 horses and would have been equipped with four 6-inch Howitzers capable of firing 100-pound shells up to 6,000 yards. In recognition of his distinguished service and gallantry Archie was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal (MSM) as well as the Victory Medal. On 28th June 1919 Archie is recorded as ringing a quarter peel at St. Peters to celebrate the signing of the Peace Treaty. Archibald died aged 74 in 1959.
Henry, a painter and plumber, joined up in March 1917 aged 30 and served as Company Sergeant Major in the Hampshire Regiment and then the Wiltshire Regiment in France on the Western Front. Henry’s parents, Henry and Jane MELLS lived at 14 Swan Street, Petersfield together with Henry and three other children including his younger brother Frank (below). Henry was part of the band of eight ringing the bells at St Peter’s in June 1919 to celebrate the signing of the Peace Treaty. Henry died aged 75 in 1962.
Frank, Henry’s younger brother, was a Brewery Cellarman and served as a Private (Acting Sergeant) in the Hampshire Regiment. Frank was awarded a Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM) for gallantry in the field aged 30 whilst serving in Mesopotamia at Resht (modern day Iran). On June 28th 1919 Frank rang the bells at St Peter’s with his brother Henry and Archie Garrett to celebrate the signing of the Peace Treaty. Frank died aged 73 in 1973.
The Petersfield ringers would be very interested to find out from any family of the above who can provide additional information on these three men who fought and returned from the Great War or those listed on the War Memorial who sadly did not. Contact Malcolm Wigmore Tel: 077 88 576 853.