Officers’ peals

10 men in various British Army and Royal Air Force uniforms outside a church. The six in the back are standing, wile four in front are seated.

The band that rang at Croydon on 3 May 1919, it includes the eight who rang at Putney on 15 March 1919. This version of the photograph (which still hangs in the ringing chamber at St Peter’s, South Croydon) was published in Ernest Morris’s book, “The History and Art of Change Ringing”

On 15 March 1919 eight men who had served, or were still serving, as officers during the First World War met here at St Mary’s Putney to ring a peal of Kent Treble Bob Minor. They were successful and that thus became the first peal to be rung by an all-officer band.
The eight men, in ringing order were:
1. Lieutenant Albert Edward Christian York Bramble, RAF
2. Lieutenant (Edward) Maurice Atkins, Royal Engineers
3. Captain John Howard Richard Freeborn, 4th Battalion, York and Lancaster Regiment
4. 2nd Lieutenant Edward Patrick Duffield, RAF
5. The Reverend Barnard Halsey Tyrwhitt-Drake, Chaplain to the Forces
6. 2nd Lieutenant William Charles Duffield, 3rd Battalion, Norfolk Regiment
7. Lieutenant Cyril Frederick Johnston, 3rd Battalion, Grenadier Guards
8. Major John Harley Bridges Hesse, Royal Army Service Corps (Motor Transport)

On 3 May 1919 they were joined by 2nd Lieutenant Albert Edward, Royal Defence Corps and the Reverend Cyril Walford Osborn Jenkyn, Senior Chaplain to the Forces, and another peal, this time of Grandsire Caters, was rung, although this was apparently completed successfully it was soon realised that the composition was false so it was not a valid peal. It was on that occasion that the photograph above was taken. A further 10 bell peal of Grandsire Caters with a band of officers was rung at South Croydon on 9 July 1919 to mark the formal peace following the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. On that occasion Reeves was replaced by Lieutenant Frederick White of the King’s (Liverpool) Regiment.