Fitting memorial for Ernest, Dewsbury bell-ringer who fought and died in the First World War

Rev Elizabeth Lee conducts the service to remember Pte Ruddlesden
Rev Elizabeth Lee conducts the service to remember Pte Ruddlesden

A peal of bells rang out from Dewsbury Minster to remember a soldier who died in the first world war on the centenary of his death.

A special service was conducted by Curate Elizabeth Lee Oon September 9 to remember 23-year-old Northumberland Fusilier Private Ernest Ruddlesden a hundred years after he died in a French Hospital from severe gunshot wounds to both legs.

The Dewsbury Minster Bell-ringers

The Dewsbury Minster Bell-ringers

The service was a special one as Pte Ruddlesden had close links with the church and had been a bell-ringer there.

Pte Ruddlesden, a cutler at Mr J. H. Pontefract’s in Wellington Road, Dewsbury, was the son of Mrs Ruddlesden of Clarence Place, off Ashworth Road, Dewsbury. He had joined up in December 1916 and was an old boy of Dewsbury Parish Church Day and Sunday Schools.

A bell-ringer at the church and a member of the Dewsbury branch of the Church of England Men’s Society, Pte Ruddlesden had been a chorister for about six years, and a Sunday School teacher.

Captain of the Minster bell-ringers, Derek Johnstone, said the remembrance had been fitting and very successful.

The peal under way

The peal under way

“It was excellent, we had a really good memorial service led by Rev Elizabeth Lee, and the Dewsbury Handbell Ringers played ‘Abide With Me’. Malcolm Spink played Nimrod on the organ and both Dewsbury and Mirfield branches of the Royal British Legion were represented.

“Afterwards we rang a solemn peal which was apprpriate for the event and as bell-ringers we all enjoyed it. It sounded really good.”

Derek said that through Dewsbury RBL they had managed to trace a relative of Pte Ruddlesden, who would be Ernest’s great-cousin.

“It was a very appropriate service and it is important we remember guys like Ernest and what they went through,” said Mr Johnstone.

The Dewsbury Handbell Ringers and representatives of both Dewsbury and Mirfield branches of the Royal British Legion

The Dewsbury Handbell Ringers and representatives of both Dewsbury and Mirfield branches of the Royal British Legion