Two bands of eight bellringers from across Sussex met in Horsham and Warnham on Monday evening 4th August to mark the outbreak of the First World War and remember the three Warnham bellringers who died during the conflict.
The three were:
John Edward Charman. Killed in action 21st August 1915 aged 25.
James William Miles. Killed in action 6th November 1917 aged 25.
Alfred Charles Comper Yates. Killed in action 6th November 1917 aged 28.
Their names are recorded in the ‘The Central Council Memorial Book of Church Bell-Ringers who fell in the Great War 1914-1918’ which is held in St Paul’s cathedral and are recorded on the Warnham war memorial.
The bells were rung half-muffled for peals of 5040 changes of Stedman triples at St Mary’s Horsham and at St Margaret’s Warnham. The peal at Warnham was completed in just over three hours but unfortunately the peal at Horsham failed after two and a half hours. The two bands met after the peals for a photograph in front of the Warnham War Memorial as a mark of their continued fellowship and then retired to the Sussex Oak for much need refreshment.
It is sad to note that both James Miles and Alfred Comper Yates died together on the same day fighting in the Third Battle of Gaza and are buried together in Beersheba War Cemetery. They had almost certainly volunteered together, joining the 4th Battalion the Royal Sussex Regiment on the same day, in Park Street Horsham, with Army numbers only one apart. Together they rang our church bells: together they volunteered and trained: together they fought and died.
Full details of all the Warnham residents who died during the conflict are included in a new book ‘Warnham and the Great War’ published by the Warnham Society and available from the Horsham Museum for £10.
We will remember them.
More information: St Mary’s Bellringers