Holy Cross Church bells sound on 100-year anniversary of death of Daventry ringer who perished in World War One

William Earnest Bailey served as an air mechanic in World War One.
William Earnest Bailey served as an air mechanic in World War One.

The bells of the Holy Cross Church rang out last week to mark the centenary anniversary of the death of a Daventry ringer who died while serving as an air mechanic in World War One.

On April 30, the Daventry branch of the Peterborough Diocesan Guild Bell Ringers rang a peal of bells in memory of William Earnest Bailey.

He was a Daventry ringer and was one of the 1,400 ringers lost in WWI. He died on April 30, 1918, in Lincoln Hospital from wounds received in a German offensive abroad while serving in the Royal Flying Corps aged 19.

His funeral at the Holy Cross Church, Daventry on May 4, 1918, was attended by a large congregation and the bells were rung half muffled after the service in his honour. His grave is 50ft due east of the church.

He was also a chorister at the parish church and a brilliant musician, often playing the organ at St. James Church, Daventry.

In autumn last year, two members of the Friends of the Daventry Museum approached the Holy Cross and asked if the church could mark the 100th anniversary with bell ringing in Mr Bailey's honour.

Last week's service was conducted by Rev. Canon Michael Webber and was attended by Daventry Town Mayor, Lynne Taylor.

“It was a privilege to attend the service and listen to the bells ringing at the Holy Cross church. It is important to remember those who lost their lives during World War One and the peal of bells was a fitting tribute to one Daventry’s fallen ringers," said Cllr Taylor.