Bo’ness bell will tell what history sounds like

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The bell of Old Carriden Church, fashioned back in 1674, has its own very special role to play on the 100th anniversary of the armistice.

That is because the unmistakable sound of the giant bell will form part of a dynamic international link up.

For Bo’ness & Carriden Parish Church is participating in the joint British and German Government initiative with the Central Council of Bell Ringers, who appealed to communities across the world to ring their church bells on Armistice Day to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of World War One.

Cast in 1674 by master craftsman Pieter Oostens in the Dutch port city of Rotterdam, the bell’s magnificent sound will resonate across the Bo’ness skyline.

The church’s Shena Mailer, who was instrumental in arranging the link-up, said that she felt it was right that the church got involved, especially in a bid to raise awareness of Armistice Day amongst the younger generation.

She said: “The bell will replicate the outpouring of relief that took place in 1918 and to mark the peace and friendship we now enjoy between nations.

“It is a coming together to remember all those who lost their lives – regardless of nationality. I really felt this is something the church should be involved with.

“Between 1914 and 1918, regulations introduced under the Defence of the Realm Act severely curtailed the amount of bell ringing that could take place.

“Together with the departure of so many men to the front – including many bell ringers – it meant church bells were rarely heard and the bells only rang once the Armistice was declared.

“It was also the way most communities head the news.”

Christopher O’Mahony, president of the Central Council of Church Bellringers, said the sound of bells pealing in the UK would change from a sombre and solemn ‘half-muffled’ one in early morning to a more celebratory tone, similar to a wedding, at 12.30pm.

He said: “At midday we will take the muffles off the bells and at 12.30 it will be more about celebration. The national mood swings then to gratitude, gratefulness and thanks.”

It is also being stressed that the church will be open from 11am to allow visitors to view floral arrangements and wartime memorabilia.

Naturally, there will be a note of solemn remembrance in the church service beforehand to commemorate the 119 Bo’ness men who made the ultimate sacrifice and whose names are displayed on a plaque in the church.