Hoby – Commemorative Half Muffled Quarter Peal

26th October 2017 – Lt. Col. Percy William Beresford D.S.O.

It was only a few weeks ago that five of the Framland Ringers met at Hoby to ring a quarter peal as part of the WW1 commemoration events.  The same five ringers met again this evening to ring in commemoration of Lt. Col. Percy William Beresford.

Before the First World War, Percy Beresford was the Assistant Priest of Saint Mary’s Church in Westerham, Kent.  He went on to have a distinguished war record.  He was awarded the D.S.O. in the Summer of 1917.  The citation reads: “For conspicuous gallantry and ability in command of his battalion during heavy enemy counter-attacks. The skill with which he handled his reserves: was of the utmost assistance to the division on his right, and his determination enabled us to hold on to an almost impossible position. He repulsed three counter-attacks, and lost heavily in doing so”.

Percy was killed in action on the 26th October 1917 during the 3rd Battle of Ypres (more commonly known as the battle of Passchendaele). He was commanding the 2nd/3rd Battalion of the London Regiment (The Royal Fusiliers).  He is buried in the Gwalia Cemetery in Belgium.  Percy Beresford’s name also appears on the South Chancel Window in Hoby Church along with the name of Major William Beresford who had died only a few weeks earlier.

Each time we meet to ring a quarter peal for the men of Hoby, the reality of why we are there is becoming more significant to us.  The pressure to complete the quarter on the specific date is firmly in our minds.  It is a dark October evening, the time of year when coughs and colds are abundant.  Many people would rather stay at home, but for us, these quarter peals have become so significant that despite the coughs, colds, sniffs and sneezes, we were determined to ring to the best of our ability.

When we arrived, the bells were already muffled and in the “up” position for us ready to go.  We rang a few rounds first, but something wasn’t quite right.  A muffled bell was heard at handstroke and a very loud ring was heard at backstroke – but only for bell number 2.  It was “up wrong”, so down it came and rung back up again.  This time it was correct so we launched straight into the quarter.  Thankfully, this half muffled quarter peal was very successful.  It was conducted by our chairman using a tried and tested combination of methods that we used earlier in the year.  We started with Plain Bob before moving onto St. Martins, St Simons and then back to Plain Bob.  We all rang well with good striking.  We rang without any errors.  There wasn’t any need for anyone to nod and wink at each other to put anyone right.  We rang at a slightly faster pace than the previous quarter.  Perhaps this was due to the dodging in 3/4 instead of places.  Perhaps, it was because the band consisted of the same ringers on the same bells and we were more settled this time.  Or perhaps it was the fact we had coughs and colds and wanted to get home to a hot drink.  Whatever the reason, it sounded good and it was a pleasure to ring and we are proud to be a part of the commemorations.

The Society will be ringing again at Hoby on the 30th November 2017 for the next half muffled quarter peal.  Details about the future half muffled quarter peals can be found via http://www.hobyanddistricthistory.co.uk/commemorative-half-muffled-quarter-peals/

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