Posted on November 25, 2011 by

The Bugle

I wonder if you would be interested in the true facts concerning the Bugle (My Bugle)

I joined the Drum section of the 1st Battalion the Manchester Regiment  in 1936 when I was sixteen years of age. In those days the prefix “drummer” could not be awarded until a person was eighteen years of age. I reached that age in Palestine and as with tradition I became the owner of my own bugle. It was just the usual copper and brass instrument manufactured by Boosey and Hawkes. The base of all military bugles had a light brass attachment to the base..

In 1940/41 The first battalion received a complete silver set of drums and bugles, each item being provided by certain individuals or groups. On presentation day mine was presented to me by Major Cooper on behalf of himself and the people of Ardwick, Manchester. Later that month the whole set of drums and bugles was sent to Australia for safety. On its return , one side drum was given as a souvenir to an officer who was transferring to the Canadian army.

Every year, the first and second battalions of the regiment held an annual Commanding Officers silver bugle contest. Over the last several years it had been won continually by Drummer Tom Twigg, who had now retired. So with very little competition I was awarded the honour by Colonel E B Holmes in June 1941.  Although I retained my original bugle, I also carried the CO’s silver bugle with me wherever I went.

Just shortly after the war commenced in Singapore, I was involved in motor vehicle accident. After being checked out as fit I returned to battalion headquarters at tenth mile stone camp Singapore, where Quartermaster G Quinn  instructed me to hand over my silver bugle to a group of Indian army royal  engineers who having dug out a very large pit in the rubber plantation, were now burying the Tanglin Church stained glass windows – along with several other valuables  from the officer’s mess.

At the fall of Singapore I continued to carry my original copper and brass bugle.

From receiving the bugle in Palestine 1938 until the end of the second world war I had sounded the  last post at more than 3000 burials. During the time I was a prisoner of war I recorded the names of all those whose funerals I had attended. On my return to the UK, I was ordered to hand over my list the commonwealth war graves commission.

In 1956, my nephew enlisted in the first battalion. I gave him my bugle with instructions to take it to Captain Gunning to be passed on the museum along with a copy of my list,  It was then exhibited in the Ladysmith museum until 1957 when Colonel W Usher gave instructions for small antique military items should be sold off to local dealers.

That was the last time I saw the copper and brass bugle.   I wonder if anyone can add to this story and tell me if they have seen it.  As a POW I scratched my name on the brass surround  and soldered my cap badge to the bell.  

It was more than sixty years ago but I would be interested in knowing what became of it.

Arthur Lane / Chairman – NESA


Arthur Lane