The bugle that went to war. Stories from the 1914-18 conflict as commemoration project launched

Kidderminster Shuttle: John Anyon       26/06/14     2614635301

First World War replica Bell Tent in the Commandery Garden, an event which is part of the Worcestershire World War One Hundred Project.........................VAD Nurse Helen Lee and Worcestershire Regiment soldie John Anyon 26/06/14 2614635301 First World War replica Bell Tent in the Commandery Garden, an event which is part of the Worcestershire World War One Hundred Project.........................VAD Nurse Helen Lee and Worcestershire Regiment soldie

THE battered old bugle lay on a trestle table in the shade in the gardens of The Commandery in Worcester, and if it could have talked what a tale it would have told.

Because having been to war, it had come home.

The instrument began life all bright and shiny in 1909, when it was played by young David Lloyd from Alfrick in the cadet force at Worcester King's School, about half a mile from the Commandery. Then when the First World War broke out, David - or Dai as he was better known - volunteered to serve and took his beloved bugle with him to fight the Germans. It was still with him when he was badly wounded at Vimy Ridge in March 1916 and stayed by his side through his spells in hospital and eventual recovery

Today, the worn and torn but still playable bugle is owned by Dai's nephew Hugh Neems, who lives near Halifax and travelled all the way to Worcester for the launch of Worcestershire World War One Hundred, the largest project outside London to commemorate the First World War.

An appeal had gone out for anyone to take along to the Commandery gardens any artefacts, memorabilia, photographs or stories from what was supposed to have been the war to end all wars.

As a steady stream of visitors dropped by throughout the day, the era was re-called Claire Worboys singing songs from the Worcester Repertory production of Vesta - based on the life of Worcester's music hall star Vesta Tilley - while Mark Harding stood guard in the uniform of a private from the 2nd Battalion, the Worcestershire Regiment, and Helen Lee was on hand to treat minor injuries dressed as a Voluntary Aid Detachment nurse.

Adrian Gregson, policy and collection manager of Worcestershire Archive and Archaeology Service, said: "It has been a really great event today, an opportunity to tell people about our project but also to hear their stories. We've seen medals, field glasses and de mob papers and heard many stories about the impact the Great War had on our Worcestershire

ancestors meeting the niece of a VAD nurse and the grandson of a Belgian refugee. We hope more people will come forward over the next four years and enjoy the many events we have planned."

Although there were many stories of loss and grief, not all turned out so badly. Mike Rickard from Bishampton, near Pershore, brought the documents of his maternal grandfather Arthur Richard Triggs, who was conscripted as a sapper into the Royal Engineers. On March 26, 1918 the War Office sent his family a telegram to say he had been badly gassed at Passchendaele and was seriously ill in hospital. "He was eventually demobbed on February 2, 1919," said Mr Rickard, "when his certificate showed him to be in A1 condition. In the end Arthur died in the 1980s and smoked like a chimney throughout his life."

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