Hoby – Commemorative Half Muffled Quarter Peal

5th May 2018 – Rifleman Charles Edward Gamble

It is the first Saturday in May; traditionally it is the date of the Annual General Meeting for the Society of Framland Ringers.  It was also the 100th anniversary of Rifleman Charles Edward Gamble who lost his life during WW1.  As a result, the Society managed to get 5 “willing” ringers to meet earlier in the afternoon so that we could ring the quarter peal at Hoby before going on to the AGM at Kirby Bellars.  It also happened to be one of the hottest days of the year so far, but fortunately, it was a little cooler inside the tower so ringing was comfortable.  With the additional pressures of completing the quarter on time before the AGM, we opted for a “now very familiar” composition of mixed doubles; Plain Bob, St. Martins, St. Simons and a final burst of Plain Bob.  We rang at a reasonably quick pace, so it did not seem long before the second method was called, and then the third.  The final burst of plain bob was completed finishing the very successful quarter in only 41 minutes.  What a relief to us all that we achieved the quarter on the first attempt.  Perhaps the added pressure of the AGM later in the evening was enough to keep us on our toes and concentrate on ringing.  Perhaps it was the temperature that influenced our ringing.  Either way, it worked; no false starts, or late bobs.  We did not have any hesitations or missed dodges.  It was a very enjoyable ring.  As always, it was an honour to celebrate the life of a war hero.

Charles Gamble was born in 1899 in Gaddesby.  He was the son of John (a farm labourer) and Jemima (domestic cleaner).  They were from Church View, Hoby.  Charles had one older and one younger sister.  Although his service records appear to have been lost, it is known that he enlisted at Melton Mowbray.  He was posted to the 1st /6th Battalion of The Kings Liverpool Regiment.  In February 1918, his Battalion formed part of the West Lancashire Division which relieved the East Lancashire division in the front line at Festubert and Givenchy (East of Bethune in Northern France).  This area had been fought over since 1914.  In March 1918, a number of enemy raids had been fought off.  Unfortunately, this was only the prelude to a full scale German assault at Givenchy in the April of 1918.  The successful defence of Givenchy is considered to be a major part in blunting the German offensive.  The village has since been selected as the memorial site for the Division and for those who died serving in it.

Memorial to the 55th Division at Givenchy

The main assault at Givenchy was over by the beginning of May, however, artillery bombardment was a constant danger for those near the front line and caused many casualties.  The notes from the 1st/6th Battalion showed they had not suffered any casualties while they were in the Givenchy sector.  However, it was on the following day (5th May 1918) heavy German artillery had been very active demolishing almost all of the Battalions dug-outs and tunnels.  14 of its garrisons had been buried.  Only 4 garrisons had been recovered and listed as wounded.  The other 10 were missing.  Charles Edward Gamble was amongst those not recovered.  He is one of the more than 20,0000 British soldiers with “no known grave”.  Their names appear on the Loos Memorial to the Missing.  He was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.  At only 18, Charles is the youngest of the men from Hoby who died during WW1.

It is a very sobering thought that we as a Ringing Society have been involved with this 4 year project commemorating the lives of brave men from Hoby who lost their lives fighting for King and Country.  We have taken part in 14 quarter peals and have 4 more men to commemorate in the final months of the year.  The next is on the 1st September 2018.  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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