Some ringers are born, others are made, and when someone is born into a family where their father is respected as a good and meticulous striker, then that person has a distinct advantage. Such a person is Frank L. Harris, of Hordle, Hants, who was taught to ring in 1936 by his father, Leonard Harris, at Britford, near Salisbury, Wilts, his birthplace.
Leonard Harris was not one who rang a great many methods, but what he did ring he took care to see that the striking was as good as possible. This maxim he installed in his son, with the result that Frank, too, is always careful to insist on a high standard of striking, and will not tolerate anything else. He often tells a story of one occasion when his father started for a peal with the well known William W. Gifford, and the band rang rounds for ten minutes before he was satisfied that the correct beat had been attained!
Frank was born in 1921 and educated at Bishop Wordsworth's School, Salisbury. After a fairly long spell of call changes at Britford, he learnt to ring Grandsire and Stedman at St. Martin's, Salisbury. He rang his first peal in this tower in 1937, Grandsire Triples, conducted by F. W. Romaine, and it was rung to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first peal in that city.
His total peals to December 31st, 1960, is 270, of which he has conducted 140, and they have been rung in 140 different towers. There is no doubt that the very high standard of peal ringing in West Hampshire and South Wiltshire is largely due to his efficient leadership. Although he has conducted Spliced Surprise Major from 2-8 methods, he has a particular liking for odd-bell methods, and he has called Holt's Original, Carter's Odd Bob, Erin Triples, Spliced Erin and Stedman Triples, and Original Triples, and has also called Stedman from Doubles to Cinques. Other peals of which he is justly proud are calling Grandsire Triples and Caters at Exeter Cathedral, and ringing Major on the back eight. He has also rung five peals at Sherborne Abbey, of which he has conducted three.
By profession he is a civil engineer, and has worked for the municipal boroughs of Salisbury and Chelmsford, and now holds the position of deputy borough engineer at Lymington, Hants. During the war he served with the R.A.F. He has been secretary and Ringing Master of the Salisbury Branch of the Salisbury Diocesan Guild for several years in the past.
He married in 1950, and he met his wife, Jean, through being asked to call her first peal at her home tower of Damerham, Hants. Jean is a first class striker, and has taken part in many of Frank's best performances, including Grandsire Triples and Caters at Exeter. They now have two children.
Still a comparatively young man, he has the opportunity, ability and interest to go on to even greater things, and those who know him will agree that the high quality of his peal-ringing band in the West will always be maintained. Good luck to his future efforts.
The Ringing World No. 2599, February 10, 1961, page 97