Tuesday, November 23

WW1 Grandfather's Bugle Found On Market Stall Coincdence

World War I bugleSoldier Daniel Clay wrote home to his mother just prior to the battle of the Somme in 1916 during World War I. In his letter he said, "... if it should be that my time has come ... just look after my darling little daughter."

Daniel's wife had died in childbirth and tragically just one day after his letter he was killed, his body never recovered amongst 60,000 other British casualties in July of 1916.

Daniel Clay's daughter was called Harriet and she had a son Maurice Green. Harriet died in 1995.

We now move forward to this week. Maurice Green was looking round a market and came across a stall selling old bric-a-brac. He casually picked up an old bugle and noticed the numbers 132 but couldn't read the other part as it was so black and dirty.

Maurice said, "I spotted this battered old bugle, it was as black as soot but I noticed it's Army service number had the same first three digits as my granddad's. I couldn't see the other two digits because the bugle was so filthy. But something in me started shaking straight away.

As you will do doubt have guessed the bugle he had found was in fact his grandfather's and was lost in the trenches way back in WW1.

The full service number was 13292, the same number as he had on his treasured grandfather's medals.

Mr. Green paid the market stall holder £5 for this priceless, to him, piece of family history. He said, "I asked the stallholder where he bought the bugle from and he said it came from a house clearance but he couldn't remember when or where he got the bugle.

The important thing is that it has ended up back in the right hands in the end, in my granddad's family where it belongs."

Battle of the Somme July 1 1916
He just wishes that his mother Harriet was still alive to have seen the bugle as she was so proud of her father and treasured the letter that was sent to her grandmother. The full letter read:

"I am writing this letter just behind the firing line and there is a terrible bombardment going on now. It will hell upon earth before we have finished.

Dear Mother if it should be that my time has come, of which I trust not, just look after my darling little daughter. I am asking you this because we never know this may be my last letter. But don't get down hearted mother as I shall not be long before I let you hear from me.

I am pleased to tell you mother that I am going over with a good heart and quite confident that I shall get through it quite safe.

I shall have to close now mother, with my very best love from your ever loving and devoted son Dan.

P.S. Give my very best love to my darling daughter and tell her daddy is fighting for her sake and give her these for me xxxxxxxxxxxxxx."

Photo: Battle of the Somme on the first day July 1 1916, the day after the letter was written.

Bookmark and Share


  1. another good story mike. impressive how the bugle turned up for the right person and at the right time. cant be a run of the mill coincidence that would do such a thing. got to be more to it

  2. Love these kinds of stories. Like Anne Parrish's book "returning" to her years later, the bugle knew where it belonged!

  3. Anonymous17:24

    That is an amazing story. I've also been reading a few other of your stories and you've got me convinced that there may be something in this coincidence business. Never really thought about it before. Thanks for opening my eyes. Jackie

  4. Tom, Trish and Rob and Jackie - thanks for the comments. I think T&R have got it right: the bugle 'knew' where it should be.

  5. Anonymous16:00

    Great story!
    The on said,"mom I will let you hear me one day, well I guesse he did!You can HEAR the Bugle. They heard him .Irish Cro

  6. Anonymous19:02

    I know this isn't as big as that coincidence, but years ago i was in my school classroom and my teacher told me to get a book or i would get a detention. Cut a long story short, i ran to the school library and picked up the first thing i could see. When i got back to my class and sat down, i looked at the list of names of all the people to take out this particular book. It was a battered old thing. and you'll never believe it: the last person to take out this book was my mother, a whole 30 years before me! I spoke to her when i got home and she said that was the only book she'd ever taken out of the library, when she was in a similar situation! Spooky :p

  7. Anonymous22:40

    I have one of these! My father just passed away so we never got the story on it. What a shame. It has a red Tassel on it, as well.

  8. Anonymous22:43

    Bt what is the name of this particular Bugle? It doesn't come up in any searches of WW1 Bugles; only the Traditional kind. It must have been used by and for something special. Ours has a name of Williams, on it and the city TORONTO, under it.

  9. Hi Mike

    My name's James and I'm working on a really cool, visual project for army insurers http://www.abacuscover.co.uk/ on the history of military kit and how it has changed from war to war.

    I would really like to use your photo of the bugle in the graphic and would be of course happy to credit you in the finished piece, which will be published on Abacus' site and possibly other military websites too.

    Look forward to hearing from you!

    1. No problem about using the image.