Bellringers’ tribute to war hero

St Annes Parish Church bellringers toast the New Year
St Annes Parish Church bellringers toast the New Year
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Bellringers at St Annes Parish Church prefaced welcoming in with their latest tribute to a First World War victim.

Just hours before ringing out the old year and ringing in the new, the Parish Church team sounded a quarter peal in memory of Gunner Colin Barton, who died as 1915 came to a close, aged 23.

Gunner Colin Barton from St Annes, who died in action in the First World War

Gunner Colin Barton from St Annes, who died in action in the First World War

He was among approximately 400 crewmen and civilians killed when an armament magazine explosion led to the sinking of HMS Natal in the Cromarty Firth.

Colin grew up in St Annes, lived at 31 Church Rd, and attended Heyhouses School.

He worked as a fireman on the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway before enlisting in the Royal Marine Artillery.

The tribute to him was the bellringers’ 11th quarter peal – 45 minutes’ continuous ringing with more than 1,200 changes – in honour of St Annes’ First World War dead so far.

A total of 180 men from St Annes were killed during what was termed at the time as ‘the war to end all wars’.

Extensive research has been carried out at the Parish Church into the backgrounds of as many of the fallen from the town as possible and, as outlined when the centenary of the war’s outbreak was marked in the autumn of 2014, autumn, the aim at the Parish Church is to commemorate the centenary of all their deaths.

Vicar of St Annes Fr David Lyon, who in 2014 visited 76 graves of St Annes victims of the war during a trip to Europe with his wife Brenda, said: “It is very important that the town remembers the sacrifice all these people made.”