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The bells are ringing...

(9 Posts)
Mamie Fri 01-Aug-14 15:12:50

Now, at 4pm on August 1st 2014, the church bells are ringing around us and all across France to commemorate one hundred years since the call for general mobilisation went out at the start of World War 1.
The war memorial in our tiny commune bears witness to the huge numbers of men who died.

nigglynellie Fri 01-Aug-14 18:05:09

I think it was August 4th that the UK declared war on Germany after the invasion of Belgium with whom we had a treaty. My Grandfather joined the Ox and Bucks in early 1915 aged 22, and fought for the whole duration of the war till demobilization in 1919. Amazingly he emerged relatively unscathed, although he was mildly shell shocked and gassed. He never talked about these days (none of them did) but he died of a quinsy in 1949 aged 56 which my granny was convinced was caused by the gas. Who knows, I doubt it helped though! A war to end all wars?!!! Oh dear, I'm afraid that was wishful thinking!!

Ariadne Fri 01-Aug-14 20:03:41

Mamie I can imagine, and almost hear it.

rosequartz Fri 01-Aug-14 20:16:38

The lights are going out on 4th August:

Galen Fri 01-Aug-14 20:55:16

This worries me, as people may forget to dowse their candles and start fired

rosesarered Sat 02-Aug-14 17:36:45

Difficult to think it started a whole century ago isn't it?Since most of us had Grandads who fought in the First War, it makes history 'come home' to us.

Mamie Sat 02-Aug-14 18:04:39

The extraordinary thing is that the bells still ring at 7am to start work, at 12 to stop for lunch and at 7pm to finish for the day. They ring for weddings and toll for funerals. There are about 130 people in our commune now and then there were about 400 though the number of households is about the same. What must they have thought and felt? Our older neighbours remember how the bicycle opened up their lives and meant they could go courting further afield. What must it have been like to leave the gentle pastures of Lower Normandy and go off to the North to fight?
I can't begin to imagine, but so many failed to return.

Mishap Sat 02-Aug-14 18:07:18

I always associate bells with joyful occasions - I am not sure this is an appropriate way to remember.

Mamie Sat 02-Aug-14 18:55:16

Mishap, they rang the bells because that is what they did to call the population to the general mobilisation in 1914. That is how the people knew. No celebration involved.