Nation's bells to ring out together to mark Armistice Centenary

On 11 November 2018, 100 years since Armistice, bells will ring out in unison from churches and cathedrals in villages, towns and cities across the country.

On 11 November 2018, 100 years since Armistice, bells will ring out in unison from churches and cathedrals in villages, towns and cities across the country. Big Ben will also strike at 11am to mark the centenary.

To mark the final year of the First World War centenary commemorations, 1,400 new bell ringers will be recruited in honour of the 1,400 that lost their lives during the First World War.

Church bells across the UK remained restricted throughout the course of the war and only rang freely once Armistice was declared on 11 November 1918.

The campaign to recruit bell ringers, Ringing Remembers, will keep this traditional British art alive in memory of the 1,400 who lost their lives – linking together past, present and future.

The campaign is being run by the Department of Communities and Local Government in collaboration with Big Ideas Community Interest Company and the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers.

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid said:

"The Ringing Remembers campaign will be a fitting end to our projects, events and activities that have marked the end of the First World War and a tribute to the heroic men and women who sacrificed so much for the freedoms we enjoy today.

"As the centenary commemorations draw to a close, our priority is to make sure we continue to keep the history of the First World War alive for generations to come, even as it falls out of living memory."

Karen Bradley, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, said:

Today we begin the final year of commemorations, leading to the 100th anniversary of Armistice. We will look at how we went from the German offensive in spring 1918 to peace, and I have no doubt the public will once again help us tell this important story and share their own connections to the First World War.

On 11 November 1918 the ringing of church bells erupted spontaneously across the country, as an outpouring of relief that 4 years of war had come to an end. I am pleased that to honour that moment and the 1,400 bell ringers who died in the war, we will be recruiting 1,400 new bell ringers to take part in the commemorations next year.

Many bell ringers joined the war effort, and many lost their lives. Just after the war, the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers wrote to all bell towers to compile the Roll of Honour. At the time 1,100 men were reported as lost.

During the First World War Centenary the Central Council of Bell Ringers has been reviewing this list and has discovered a further 400 bell ringers who died in service. Two bell towers - Edington in Wiltshire and Bamburgh in Northumberland - lost 6 ringers each during the war. In total 1,400 bell ringers lost their lives.

Programme for Armistice Day 2018

On 11 November 2018, the day will begin at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission St Symphorien Cemetery near Mons, Belgium where the war began in 1914, where the war’s first and last casualties lie and where the government began the commemorations in 2014. It offers a fitting place to reflect on the cost of the war.

The 14-18 Now cultural programme will return for a compelling final season, culminating on 11 November 2018 in a UK-wide event to draw the nation together in a shared moment of remembrance. The full programme will be announced in January.

In the evening, the national commemorations will end with a ceremony at Westminster Abbey. The service will reflect on the Centenary, recognise the impact of the war after the Armistice, and give thanks to all those who were affected over the course of the conflict.