Genuine Canadian Military Bugles - 1901-1916
To tell real military bugles, apart from the others we will examine below, you should know what a genuine military bugle really looks like.
Right, the Boer War, C. Mahillon & Co., dated 1901, bugle of Edward McCormick, which blew the Last Post at the burial of the Canadians after the Battle of Boschbult Farm, in March 1902, and left, Canadian Artilleryman Norman Pearson's World War I, Henry Potter & Co., dated 1916, bugle, which he took to fight the Bolsheviks in 1918, in northern Russia.
Both also have inscribed, the broad arrow showing they were made under military contracts. Military bugles were bought en masse from famed bugle makers who were proud to stamp their names on them.
Norm's original khaki cords are still there as are his dog tags.
Neither bugle has any badges attached.
Note the deep and rich patina on both.
Both bugles are immensely rare in that both are ID'd personal bugles that were also tied to high profile military expeditions and historic events.
Yet neither bugler tarted them up by soldering on badges and stamping them with informational hype. Norm and Edward carried their campaign achievements in their hearts, and probably rekindled them, privately, by getting out their bugles, from time to time, to touch them exactly as they were when they were young.
Why would either of them alter or destroy the historic original in any way? They were precious mementoes for both men who, till the day they died, kept the bugles locked up, out of harm's way.
It's also why real military bugles are rarely bunged up with major damage.
Edward's bugle does have writing on it. Somewhere on campaign this young boy scratched - on the bell collar - the name of a mountain range his regiment marched through, "Magelisburg" (sic) as well as the name of the obscure small stream - "Brackspruit" - where he fought the Battle of Boschbult Farm (or Hart's River.)
Neither Edward nor anyone else who was there, knew what history would call the battle they took part in. So he scratched on the bugle the creek beside which they were tented when the Boers attacked below.
The other Canadian bugles featured here show the same characteristics of the McCormick and Pearson bugles: bugle manufacturer, location, date, & broad arrow. The Williams bugle features a rare Canadian broad arrow inside a C for Canada.
Use these points of reference in examining the ebay bugles below.
The ebay Bugles
Copy Shop? - Overall the bugles, including the mouth pieces look similar, as if they came from the same source...
No Trademark/Date? - Up front the big problem is that no manufacturer has stamped a logo or date on either bugle. Did the British military purchase "no name" bugles?
Conveyor Belt Rarity? - In bulk? Since at least two have shown up in recent times, while genuine military bugles rarely show up, and when they do it's never in look-alike pairs like these...
Pallid Patina? - The patina looks pretty similar, meaning they are the same age, either newish or both from owners that liked to polish an equal amount...
Nice Cords! - Century old military bugle cords are usually grungy or bedraggled khaki. These look very new. OK, you say, just added later to tart up a real old bugle... Do you know anyone who tarts up their antiques with modern accessories to improve their looks and value? A motivated seller perhaps... A seller of what?
Conveyor Belt Product? - Two more ebay bugles similarly dressed up, again, with similar mouth pieces, and with no manufacturer logo or date on either, but badges galore... And another nice set of cords on one...
Tarting Up? - A question. Artistic displays can be done with one, two, three, or four elements. You've seen 7th Cavalry (fake) bugles with only one badge. Other bugles vary wildly, having one, or two, dare we say three badges artistically attached in one place or another. As the mood took the solderer...
Decorative Overkill? - Then why do all four bugles, supposedly from three different regiments, have three badges, similarly positioned, and all sharing a crown affixed in the same place. It's as if all four buglers had the same artistic predisposition to decorate their personal bugles the same way... Though none collaborated, surely?
How do you explain this?
Point of Information - Our Museum owns numerous genuine Victorian and Edwardian military bugles, not one of which has a badge of any kind attached.
Ouch! Damn! - On campaign don't all these badges shred your hands - especially in winter - and snag threads on your uniform, or those of your pals as they brush by you constantly in the trench lines, and gather mud and dirt like the dickens, and need constant cleaning? In short aren't they a damn nuisance to a real working bugler, and wouldn't he pull them off after a few weeks in the trenches? Hell he knows what regiment he's in, and with the shells flying overhead and making hamburger out of his mates, wishes he wasn't...
Was Kilroy Here! - Another curiosity is the fact that bugle one and three have the campaign stamps and dates on them, to make it appear that they were used in a real battle. The one left says Aisne 1914 - 18, so the stamping was done after 1918. How long after, and by whom, and why? Four years at the Front and only a couple of dents?
Thank You! - The Ypres (Bingham) bugle is also very helpfully stamped 1918 by someone after the war, obviously.
Like Minds! - The curious thing is that the Aisne bugle came from the Notts and the Ypres (Bingham) one from the Yorkies, two different regiments, on two different campaigns, each obviously owned by a different bugler.
Cookie Cutter? - Then why is the artwork - caps, letter font, separation with dots, etc. - exactly the same for both, and miraculously positioned exactly the same on both bugle bells? Did the buglers collaborate?
Con Arrow? - And both have what can only be a bogus attempt at a British Army broad arrow done by two artists who can't possibly know each other, but have an uncanny ability to make them in the same incomplete way, with the same angle between the lines.
Oops! - Why incomplete? Maybe the artists both got cold feet in case something came back on them because it is currently a criminal offence to reproduce the broad arrow without authority.
Wishful Thinking? - The Embezzlement of Public Stores Act 1698 in clause 41 makes it illegal to use the "broad arrow / King's mark" on any goods not for his majesty's government's use. They could legitimately argue, "Hey it's not our fault if someone thinks he sees a broad arrow, when it's clearly not..." even though it sits between W and D for War Department.
Left a legitimate broad arrow and trademark stamp and date of manufacture we're used to seeing on legitimate military bugles, as it appears on the Boer War bugle of Canadian Edward McCormick.
Missing in Action? - The pseudo War Department stamp on one bugle is not really helpful. All WDs and broad arrows we've seen have been on manufacturer labeled bugles which none of these bugles are.
Copy Cat? - Again, apparently through some miracle of forethought by buglers from both regiments, they have a bugler's name stamped in the same way, on the same place, on both bugles.
It's a Match! - It's almost as if the same artist did both stampings. The letters and arrangement of numbers and names is perfectly identical on both bugles.
Identity Crisis! - Ask yourself why bother stamping Bugler in front of a personal name on a bugle? Because someone might think the owner was a ballet dancer or a blacksmith? Or the owner had an identity crisis?
How many cops who stamp their names on personal weapons prefix their name with "Policeman" Art Smith? How many cavalrymen stamped their saddles with "Cavalryman" Bob Hunt?
In our experience with soldier labelling, "Bingham" would more likely have prefixed his name with W Yorks or his Battalion ID. But a forger would complain "I've already got that said with all the other badges."
Finally, did the buglers do the stamping or have it done? All four found the same contract solderer?
To see the signed gear from other Canadian Boer and World War I soldiers:
|Go to Autographed Militaria|
Now continuing on with bugles one and two:
The crowns on all the bugles are not really done by a conscientious assembly line, worker, following quality control procedures, as they are all in different positions.
Mass produced bugles would be assembled with military precision not willy nilly, or someone's head would roll...
|Go to Real Old Bugles|
|Go to The Fakes Pages|
Early in 2008 we received a phone call from the London UK police department enquiring for information we might provide about fraudulent British bugles that had appeared on ebay, on one of which it noted we were the high bidder, but had passed (because we suspected fraud.)
The under bidder in the UK had been happy to inherit the bugle, but not when he received it. He called the police. They looked at the evidence, consulted us, and said it was definitely a case of fraud and they were going to charge the seller, a major UK ebay dealer in militaria.
More recently another interesting, so-called Bingham bugle, showed up on ebay, looking very military - sort of - and accompanied by the usual song and dance:
To us it was déja vue all over again.
Festooned with military badges, a stamped name of a bugler, and a colourful cord and tassels. Enough to make any militaria collector's mouth water...
But we had seen others - dare we say, "Done up" - like this over the last several years, all on ebay.
We had questions and still do, whether they were authentic. Below some comparisons among four different but similar bugles.
Please Note; You can use the investigative queries we apply here to bugles, to test the veracity of claims sellers make on any kind of historical memorabilia.
A Typical ebay Seller's Promo Examined...
Why does a seller say right off the top, that "When we purchased it we were told it was authentic... " etc...? What does he suspect; what does he know?
Anyone who offers something for sale is a motivated seller - the most dangerous kind. That applies to the original seller and the ebay reseller.
Left is a very typical ebay c'mon for militaria or other historical memorabilia that can whet the appetite of the neophyte antique collector.
Note all the hype, unsubstantiated facts, and unproven contentions which are trotted out to make it appear this claim is genuine, when it could be just as wildly fake as anything Tony Blair, another top UK expert, ever said..
Purchased in the UK - Lots of fake everything is available in the UK, including fake political parties like the British Labour party, which, once was a world leader for promoting humanist concerns (see Nobel Peace Laureates Henderson and Noel-Baker), then went fake instead, and produced Tony Blair, a human rights violator of the first rank, who killed more Muslim men, women, and children than any other Briton in history.
Among the vast concourse of non-white, non-Christian peoples of the world, whom God placed in greatest abundance on the planet, Bush and Blair are forever linked in infamy, like Hitler and Mussolini.
The British bloodletting in Africa and Asia, during the colonial period, had largely been supervised by the Conservative Party, with the Liberal Party of William Ewart Gladstone, urging a more peaceful and accommodating policies with Third World Peoples.
Gladstone brought to an end the First Boer War, concluding a Peace that favoured the Boer farmers of South Africa. The Conservatives howled.
Who would ever have guessed, that 120 years later, a supposedly even more liberal party - British Labour - would back the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan just to allow the oil lobby friends of Dick Cheney and George Bush to get their hands on Iraqi oil and a permanent foothold in those countries, for their armed forces and capitalist corporations.
The party that was founded to fight the ruthless Robber Barons, and their depredations against working Britons, was now the one helping to enthrone the most ruthless capitalist party ever devised by man, the American, and its war machine, over Muslims in the Middle East.
We were told it was authentic - What? Like Blair and Bush's weapons of mass destruction and Al Qaeda operatives in Iraq before the invasion of 2003?
It was the bugle that went and was used - Says who, why, with what proof?
Stamped on it - So what. Anyone can stamp anything on a bugle, or produce an autograph in a book, or a signature on a painting. Fraud artists do it all the time to enhance fake antiques and make them look like they belonged to someone important or took part in a great historic event. You better corroborate signatures on anything with proven samples that are beyond reproach, and verify the authenticity of other labelling.
... the sight of some of the bloodiest fighting - The blood and gore, and mayhem, of real battlefields are constantly trotted out to explain gouges, dents, and missing pieces on militaria, hoping to enhance the importance of items people are desperate to sell.
Where the West Yorkshire Regiment saw heavy action... - Oh, they were there all right, but that doesn't prove this bugle was ever, anywhere, near there or with them... even when they were posted back to England.
We were told this bugle survived - See Tony Blair above who also "told" of WMD, etc. Would you buy a bugle or anything from him?
Below - the Best of British Labour
Stands in honour of - Or does it honour the artistry of a FAART
|Go to FAARTS at Work|
Soldered to the Bugle - Anyone can learn to solder in five minutes.
Badges that were worn - Perhaps. But repros of old badges are everywhere available in the thousands.
Attached is the name of the bugler and some numbers - OK. So what? Anyone can do that in five minutes. Bingham might even be the name of a genuine bugler in the West Yorkshires with his regimental number. The name and regimental number of all 7,300 Canadians who went to the Boer War are available on the Internet. Anyone can source the names of real soldiers in regiments and use them to tart up genuine, but nameless, hats, bandoliers, holsters, etc., from the period, that had nothing whatsoever to do with the names and labels they now sport.
We assume - Always a weak link and something you should never do to avoid throwing good money after bad art.
... information that the reliable seller in the U.K. told us - Here's that Tony Blair again.
Colorful cord and tassels in good condition - Yada, yada, yada...
Bugle has a rich patina - It's in the eye of the beholder. When you get it it may only look dull from 10 years of no polishing. It's often impossible to tell from pictures on the Internet. Compare any bugles you contemplate buying with pictures of real old bugles published on our site for a start.
A few minor dents - Meaningless. Most are caused by generations of kids at play who do this to swords, helmets, bugles, etc. during the decades when these were all valueless souvenirs of the war, and everyone had them.But sellers never say this. They always prefer to call them as a result of "saw battlefield action."
Overall condition is very good - No surprise if this is a tarted up historical repro.
A piece that is almost 100 years old - Says who? What provenance is there for any of this? It's all totally based on suppositions the seller makes, and on repeating second hand information from "reliable" sellers.
Well there you have it, all the proof of provenance you could ever want.
So do you conclude these may be some real genuine antique bugles that saw horrific fighting...
Or are they just the product of a militaria forger who took a bunch of cheap no-name bugles, sometime in the 1970s or 80s, and soldered on some badges from an army surplus store, and added some names and dates to make the deception more enticing, hoping to catch a live one?
For our part, we'll spend our money elsewhere... We'd rather waste it on bad women, than on bad bugles...
Like the Nobel Peace Committee, we'll take the Best of Britain - Arthur Henderson and Philip Noel-Baker - any day, over Butcher Blair.
Bad bugles; bad politicians. Baah, humbug!
But then, what do we know?