Surfleet bell-ringer is remembered a century after he died in the First World War

Tony Goodwin (left), grandson of bell-ringer William Goodwin who was killed in the First World War, and churchwarden Douglas Drakard. SG110716-117TW
Tony Goodwin (left), grandson of bell-ringer William Goodwin who was killed in the First World War, and churchwarden Douglas Drakard. SG110716-117TW
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Church bells once rung by a First World War soldier were sounded in his memory in a commemoration at St Laurence Church to mark the centenary of his death.

Private William Harry Goodwin, of the 7th Lincolns, died aged 35 on July 11, 1916 after being wounded on the Somme.

William Harry Goodwin, the Surfleet bell-ringer who died in the trenches.

William Harry Goodwin, the Surfleet bell-ringer who died in the trenches.

Private Goodwin’s grandson, Lincolnshire and Surfleet branch Royal British Legion (RBL) chairman Tony Goodwin, attended a lunchtime service to mark the exact centenary of his death and to listen to a peal of bells lasting three hours.

Also remembered in prayers were two privates from Surfleet, Percy Hobbs and Percy Temple, both of the 10th Lincolns, who perished on the first day of the Somme, July 1, 1916.

Private Goodwin is mentioned in the Church Bell-Ringers Memorial Books, kept in St Paul’s Cathedral, London, and bell-ringers from across the country rang St Laurence’s bells in a programme organised by the guardian of the books, Alan Regin.

Their aim is to honour all of the bell-ringers who were killed in the war by ringing the bells in the church towers the soldiers knew so well.

The very fact that the bell-ringers came down to do this brings a lump to your throat. It was very moving.

Soldier’s grandson Tony Goodwin

Mr Goodwin didn’t know his farm worker grandad had been a bell-ringer until a fortnight ago, but has now seen the book in which he is remembered in copperplate handwriting.

“The very fact that the bell-ringers came down to do this brings a lump to your throat,” he said. “It was very moving.”

St Laurence churchwarden and RBL padre Douglas Drakard, who was conducting the service on his 80th birthday, said a number of the bells in the tower would have been there when Private Goodwin was a bell-ringer.

He said there were six bells until 1910, when another four were added, and a further two were added in 1932-1933 in memory of a vicar, Henry Law James.

Percy Hobbs who perished on July 1, 1916.

Percy Hobbs who perished on July 1, 1916.

Fellow churchwarden and bell-ringer Annette Rhodes said the full peal lasted two hours and 57 minutes.

She said members of the congregation went to the Fraiser Room, where they listened to the peal and it was “a lovely” sound.

Previously ...

THE BATTLE OF THE SOMME REMEMBERED IN SOUTH HOLLAND

Percy Temple, who also died on July 1, 1916.

Percy Temple, who also died on July 1, 1916.

Open air service in Spalding has 7.30am start for Somme centenary

Somme Fallen to be honoured in Pinchbeck

Battle of the Somme’s legacy ‘should be work towards reconciliation’

Bells ring out to mark centenary