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Remembering Courage

75 years on, in the midst of the pandemic, some ODG ringers were able to mark the courage of the heroic soldiers, sailors and airmen who witnessed so much cruelty and death in Burma.

Several years after my father had died, I turned on the television and caught a few seconds grainy film of marching British soldiers, rifles, shorts, water bottles, slouch hats; the young man at the front was unmistakably my father, smiling and waving at the camera, at me…..and then he was gone.

He would never talk about his experiences, he never permitted me to watch ‘Bridge Over the River Kwai’ all he would say was that too many of his Sapper friends died there.

So, now that there is a little limited ringing permitted, I felt compelled to acknowledge his courage and asked Long Crendon Tower Captain, Andrew Haseldine, if there was a possibility that we could ring for VJ Day. The vicar was consulted, and careful preparations were made so that we complied with Covid 19 guidance. We are fortunate, the ringing room is large and airy, we have more than one family group and so we were able to ring eight bells for 15 minutes.

For many, VE Day was the most significant acknowledgement that War was over; for me and Kay Bartholomew whose father also served in Burma, VJ day was momentous.

Joseph Conan Snow – Bombay Sapper and Miner

Sydney Mumford – Oxford and Buckinghamshire Regiment

Long Crendon band - VJ Day
The Long Crendon band

The picture shows the Long Crendon band, suitably attired for the event. It was hot and stuffy ringing but worth the effort to be appreciated by the village:

Thank you all very much for jumping through the various ‘hoops’ and ringing this morning. What a joy to hear the bells again after such a long time. You don’t realise how much you take things like bells for granted, until suddenly, they are not there. The horrible eerie silence at 10.00hrs each Sunday, the silent Thursday evenings …… Here’s hoping ringing is back again, not just for VJ Day.