May 1, 2020
My oldest grandchild celebrates his birthday today.
He is the oldest of my grandchildren and his birthday is a milestone in his life, he is 13 today, and this my letter to him.
The first of his generation to become a teenager. I tried to remember my 13th birthday and whether it occurred at a time of great note. I failed, but Sajiv reaches this milestone in his life at a time that will always stick in his memory.
Imagine the contrast between a pre-covid 13th birthday and now. What a contrast!
The day I was born was also a memorable moment, but instead of a subdued celebration, mine was marked by the sound of church bells ringing out in celebration across the whole nation.
Why? On that day, Sunday the 15th November 1942, a time of another great lockdown in a war torn, beleaguered island, the nation celebrated the victory of the battle at El Alamein.
Here's how the Birmingham Mail reported the story on Monday 16th November, the day after. So, despite the huge passage of time between Sajiv's birthday and mine we share a common experience, celebrating birthdays that coincided with major events for everyone else in general.
Happy Birthday Sajiv enjoy your birthday.
VOICES OF THE BELLS HEARD IN BIRMINGHAM
In common with church bells all over Britain, those in Birmingham and the suburban parishes were heard yesterday morning for the first time for over two years, not as the dread sign of invasion but as the jubilant voices of our victory in Egypt and not less "as a call to thanksgiving and to renewed prayer
Peals were heard in city and village, from Westminster Abbey, from the blitzed Coventry Cathedral and from the humble parish church. The Birmingham Cathedral bells were rung between nine and ten o'clock. Some of the ten pre-war ringers were not available, but the ringing master was able to muster a full team. The bells of the Parish Church were heard between ten and eleven.
The Lord Mayor attended the civic service at the church in the
morning, and the bells were ringing when he arrived Mr. Albert Walker, ringing master at St. Martin's, said to-day: Twenty-six members of the St. Martin's Guild of Church Bell Ringers turned up at very short notice, and we rang the bells of. Birmingham Cathedral, St.Martin's, St. Chad's Cathedral, Handsworth Parish Church and Edgbaston Parish Church.
We had the men available, but the real trouble was transporting them. I think Birmingham and district did extremely well. Large numbers of people were out listening to the bells.
At Coventry Cathedral, a special peal was rung to mark the second anniversary of the first savage raid on the city, and a wreath was placed on the Cathedral altar by the Lord Mayor.
With love, Pops.