History played out on every dent of old bugle

Doug Bellchambers with the bugle he used to play.
Doug Bellchambers with the bugle he used to play.

DOUG Bellchambers can't help getting emotional when he holds the battered bugle in his hands.

The 83-year-old knows every dent and tarnish tells part of the 100-year-old instrument's story.

He also knows he has a special part in that story, playing the bugle at RSL ceremonies in two states.

"It was always a special feeling," he said.

"Even right now it makes me emotional to think about it.

"I know where it has come from and what it went through before it came into my hands."

The copper and brass bugle is kept in the Maroochy RSL Military Museum but its story began in the early days of World War I when it was issued to Private Arthur Gladstone Pride.

He went overseas with the 13th/1st Infantry Battalion and inscriptions on the bugle show it was used in Tel-El Kebir, Zeitoun, Heliopolis, Aerodrome, Suez and Cairo.

While Mr Bellchambers did not see active service, he is proud to say he swore his first oath to King and country as a cadet in New Zealand, aged just 13.

He spent much of his life in Cobar, NSW, and it was there he first came into possession of the bugle about 45 years ago.

Sons of a friend found it on a scrapheap near a deserted house and gave it to him, as he played the cornet at the local RSL services.

He played it at many Cobar services before bringing it with him when he moved to the Sunshine Coast 30 years ago. For more than 10 years after that he played it at Anzac Day and Remembrance Day services, as well as at funerals for RSL members.

In 2012, he donated it to the military museum.

"I wanted to make sure it was in good hands," Mr Bellchambers said.

"It deserved a good home."

He won't be sounding The Last Post when veterans gather for Remembrance Day ceremonies today.

This year Courtney Reardon will play a different bugle at the Cotton Tree cenotaph.

It is a role he has undertaken for the past six years and Mr Bellchambers knows the job is in good hands.

Just like his old bugle.

Remembrance Day services

  • Caloundra Memorial Gardens
  • Coolum memorial
  • Kawana Waters, RSL War Memorial, Buddina
  • Maleny memorial
  • Mapleton RSL Park
  • Maroochydore, Cotton Tree Cenotaph
  • Palmwoods Memorial Hall

Topics:  remembrance day

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