Castle Bromwich

Published on August 5th, 2014 | by Bill Dargue


Castle Bromwich Remembers 1914

The church bells of Castle Bromwich rang out half muffled with an eerie echoing sound as a large group of local people stood silently in the graveyard of St Mary & St Margaret’s church. The bells were then rung in reverse order, a traditional method to signify the outbreak of war, a war that had begun 100 years ago on 4th August 1914.

A lone piper led the way into the church followed by a congregation of church-goers, choir and bellringers, members of the Parish Council, military cadets, local people and a large group of youngsters from the 237th Castle Bromwich Scout Group.

Only four candles lit the church to represent the four corners of the earth affected by the impact of the First World War. One by one the candles were snuffed out. For the final reading from the Bible, the Easter candle was lit as sign of Christ’s presence in the midst of suffering.

After the service a spotlight lit the top of the church tower where the piper played a Scottish lament. In the darkness in front of him the site of Castle Bromwich Airfield where Ray Balch met his death 100 years ago.

Half muffled bells were again rung in reverse order concluding with the tolling of the tenor bell 31 times to commemorate the names of the Castle Bromwich soldiers listed on the Great War memorial in the church.

Find out more at the bellringers’ website –


About the Author

Bill Dargue has been ringing the bells of St Mary & St Margaret's church in Castle Bromwich for over 30 years. He's one of the Castle Bromwich Bell Restoration Project trustees (Registered Charity 1155131) aiming to celebrate the tercentenary of the bell installation by setting the bells in good order for the next 300 years.

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