Ban on Ringing of Church Bells during WW2

It is widely said that Church bells in the British Isles stopped ringing for the duration of World War Two as they would be rung to announce an invasion of the country. While visiting belfries around the country, occasionally boards can be found that announce peals were rung during the war. Ringers who are now in their eighties were too young to be conscripted explained that once the possibility of German invasion had diminished the restriction on ringing Church bells was lifted.

Minutes Announcing the Ban on Bellringing

The United Kingdom declared war on 3rd September 1939. The last Annual General Meeting of H a l e s o w e n Parish Church Change Ringing Society was held on 23rd January 1940. The secretary added the following additional item after the end of the minutes.

"On June 13th 1940 The order was given out on the wireless that Church and Chapel bells must not be rung except for air raids."

Bell Ringing Allowed Again

A special meeting was called for those ringers still in the town on the 28th March 1943. The minutes on this special meeting were entering in the minute book and read.

"As the Government had decided that ringing of Church Bells could be recommenced on Easter Sunday April 25th 1943 it was decided to call a meeting to see what numbers of ringers could attend and what would be the most convenient time to meet."

Due to the limited number of ringers available they decided to ring for Sunday evening services and special occassions. It seems unlikely they were able to ring all the eight bells in the tower. After the war was over with the declaration of VJ day on 15th August 1945. The ringers held a post war general meeting that November, when the Vicar signed the previous minutes shown on this page.