Albert Edward Christian York Bramble (22 June 1894 – 22 April 1974)

This is the first in a series of posts on the ringers who took part in the peals rung by all-officer bands in 1919, it covers the man who rang the treble.

A young man in RAF uniform stood front of the flint wall of a church

York Bramble, cropped from the photo of the band which rang at Croydon in May 1919. He is back right in the full photo.

Bramble, or York-Bramble as he later became, was born at South Cerney, Gloucestershire, on 22 June 1894, the oldest of four children of Albert Edmund Bramble and Alice Emily, nee Swain. Albert senior does not seem to have had very steady employment, with censuses and baptismal records giving a variety of occupations from journeyman baker, salesman, labourer, and eventually in Albert junior’s service records, male nurse. Albert junior’s brother, Edmund George Robert Victor Bramble would also become an RAF officer.

York-Bramble was educated at Cirencester Grammar School 1905-1910, and from there went to the University of Bristol to train as a teacher 1912-1914. It was here he learned to ring. He qualified First Class in his professional training, and with Distinction in Mathematics. He was then employed by London County Council, and having finished his training placements, began work at Kennington Road Boys’ School, Lambeth in September 1914.

In March 1915 he joined up at the Duke of York’s Barracks in Chelsea. He initially joined 2/2nd London Casualty Clearing Station, a Territorial unit of the Royal Army Medical Corps, but a year later he was transferred to 3/4th London Field Ambulance, by which time he was a serjeant. During some of his early training he was based in Richmond Park where he would probably have had his first sight of the Royal Flying Corps’ balloons, either in the park itself, or at the Roehampton Club.

In February 1917 he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Royal Flying Corps and began training with them. He was appointed a Balloon Officer in May 1917, and also seems to have come up with some sort of balloon-related invention. He was posted to France in May 1917, but returned to England in December. He had to relinquish his commission on 24 July 1918 due to an unspecified illness. He returned to his old job at Kennington Road.

He had married Marjorie S Lloyd in Brighton in 1917, and from 1921 was teaching in Brighton. He was also involved in a local gliding club, and just before the Second World War qualified as a private pilot. In December 1939 he rejoined the RAF, serving in technical roles, and eventually rising to the rank of squadron leader.

In 1955 he founded the College of Campanology to try to improve teaching of ringing. Due to his somewhat difficult personality this was sadly rather a failure. He died on 22 April 1974.

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