THE town bell of Chesham will ring out for the first time in nearly half a century to commemorate servicemen from the town who lost their lives in the First World War.

The 17th century bell will be put back into use in time for a weekend of activities in the town to mark the centenary of the outbreak of the war.

It will be officially recommissioned before a ceremony at midday on Sunday, August 3, where each toll of the bell will be followed by the name of a fallen serviceman being read out.

As well as the names on the town's war memorial it's also planned to announce the names of Commonwealth troops - such as the Indian regiments - killed in conflict who are related to current Chesham residents.

Names can be put forward by contacting organiser Stirling Maguire on 01494 773135 or

The bell used to be in the old town hall until it was demolished in 1965, since which time it has been in the possession of the Chesham Museum.

Volunteers from the Museum, along with the town council, Royal British Legion, Royal Air Force Association and the Royal Navy Association, have helped arrange a series of events, to take place over a three-day period, which will mark 100 years since the outbreak of the war.

Commemoration activities will start with a wreath laying ceremony at the war memorial at midday on Saturday, August 2, followed by the planting of a tree and unveiling of a plaque in Lowndes Park.

There will also be a release of homing pigeons at 2.45pm and a balloon release at 4pm. Each balloon with have the name of a fallen solider attached to it.

The bell-led service takes place the following day, while another event on Monday 4 - the actual anniversary date of the war starting - is also planned but the full details are yet to be confirmed.