Walter's Bugle

Water BartonThe Bugle on display in A Newcastle Story belonged to Walter Barton.

Born in London on the 6th of July 1896, Walter Immigrated to Australia just prior to the Great War. A carpenter by trade, he enlisted with the 6th reinforcements of the Second Battalion AIF in May 1915 and became the Company Bugler. Walter had learnt to play the bugle whilst a member of The Boys Brigade in his youth.  His son Reg says that "He didn't want to be a fellow with a rifle, he didn't want to kill anybody…he ended (up) with a bugle, and that was how he got to Gallipoli originally".

After training at the Liverpool Camp, Walter embarked with his unit and arrived at Gallipoli in August 1915. Walter had begun etching the names of the places he travelled onto his bugle. Starting with the Liverpool Camp, the inscriptions document Walter's tour of duty, including the Suez canal, Lemnos, The Battle of Lone Pine and the evacuation of ANZAC.

Walter and his unit were transferred to France in 1916. He suffered a shrapnel wound to his right leg on the 6th of June. Walter spent many months in hospitals in France and England recovering from his injury, but would never return to active service with the 2nd Battalion. The Battalion went on to spend much of the War in the Somme Valley in France and around Ypres in Belgium.

Walter was transferred to the Royal Australian Flying Corp, and spent the remainder of his service as a carpenter and fitter. He came home to Australia and lived on Union Street in Newcastle, joining the Newcastle Orchestra. He died in 1983, and his Bugle was donated by his son Ian to Newcastle Museum.

Walter kept the bugle that travelled with him across the battlefields of the Great War his entire life. His son Reg recalls that his father used the bugle to call him and his brother Ian home for tea.  "He'd often use it at home, We'd be out playing at The Junction, with our mates playing out in the streets, and when it was time to come home for tea, Dad would go out in the backyard and give the bugle a blow and we'd know quick smart home we'd go, Dad's calling”

Listen to Stuart St Hill play Walter's bugle


Last Post