Page 93n2.2 Great Canadian Heritage Discoveries
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More important Canadian antique memorabilia the Museum has preserved.

Great Victorian & Edwardian Military Bugles 1890-1917 - 2

1 3 5 7 9 11
2 4 6 8 10 12
flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure A fabulous Canadian bugle issued by the Nordheimer Company in Toronto.

The Nordheimer boys, Sam and Abraham set up a sheet music store in Kingston Ontario in 1842 when that part of Ontario was the "hot spot" politically. They also sold imported musical instruments.

They moved to Toronto in 1844 and were soon the top sheet music publisher in Canada offering some 272 titles by 1870.

They were also distributing pianos and after 1890 were building their own very high quality instruments. By 1927 they had sold over 20,000 pianos, forming an association with Heintzman.

A & S Nordheimer Co changed its name to the Nordheimer Piano & Music Company c 1898.

It is also unique in that it is a presentation bugle, inscribed as "Donated by G A Alexander." We have not been able to trace that name or the reason for the presentation.

It is emblazoned with the Maple Leaf. In fact "the Maple Leaf Forever," which Nordheimer published in 1871, was one of the most popular pieces of sheet music in its history.

Go to Alexander Muir

The bugle is silver plated though the coating is starting to wear off in places, revealing a copper underlay.

The bugle memorializes the oldest name in Canadian music.

Nordheimer Co. Ltd. Presentation Bugle
Orig. plate - Image Size - 23 cm
Found - Eugene, OR
Sam Nordheimer 1824-1912) was reputed the be the most well-known man in Toronto by the turn of the century, in an age when everyone had sheet music for singing and playing, and the piano was the centre of many of the best homes. Besides he promoted popular music building a concert hall in Montreal and bringing in famous performers like Jenny Lind.

Sam was Jewish but in a good move, in 1871, married Edith Boulton from one of Toronto's best Anglo families. The Boultons had built the fabulous Grange, attached to the Art Gallery of Ontario, besides contributing to the political unrest that resulted in the bloodshed of the popular Rebellions of 1837.

After the Boer War Edith became President of the Toronto Chapter of the IODE and played an important role in maintaining the graves of Canadians who had died in South Africa.


flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure A fabulous working bugle from the Boer War by J Higham Ltd.

It is dated and has post manufacture numbers punched in above the bell collar. Probably regimental inventory numbers. Was this a 17th Lancer's bugle?

The 17th was featured in a fabulous print "All That Was Left of Them" by Caton Woodville after C Squadon's spectacular last stand at Elands River in September 1901 where all six of its officers were wounded, four killed. A survivor, the commander Capt. Sandeman, was Winston Churchill's cousin.

Was this bugle there?

The 17th had also been in the Charge of the Light Brigade in the Crimean War, in 1854.

J Higham Ltd. "17 - 9" Boer War Bugle - 1901
Orig bugle - Size - 28 cm
Found - Montreal, PQ
Signed J Higham Ltd.

This bugle is the most beaten up of any in our museum's collection. But we believe the dents and gouges - no holes or cracks - are period, not from latter day kids. The patina is ancient and extends over and into the dents, certifying that they have been there since its period of service.

Bugles are actually fairly fragile instruments and can easily get a knock while banging against a bayonet while riding or on the march. Or being bounced around in a tent, in a bivouac, or in a transport wagon.

Bugles can be badly beaten up and still be legitimate. You have to decide is it vintage battle damage or 1950s kid damage.

Here is Billy Brittain's 17th Lancers Balaclava bugle with which he blew the Charge of the Light Brigade in the Crimea in 1854.

Note how very badly beaten up it is, with huge holes and cracks at several places. If you had decided to pass it up as too damaged, if it came up at a yard sale, you would have missed what we consider is probably the most valuable bugle in the world.

flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure Genuine military bugles that are uniquely stamped to a regiment, rather than just tarted up by militaria forgers with soldered on badges, are very hard to find.

Being highly personalized, to an actual sub-unit in a regiment, like this one, makes them as valuable as a named piece of personal kit belonging to a soldier who served in a campaign. More so, because there are very few genuine bugles actually named to a battalion. (Though there are thousands of fake Artillery and 7th US Cavalry bugles all over the place.)

Regiments are basic military units of infantry, artillery, cavalry, tanks, etc.. They are subdivided into battalions of some 1,000 men. Separate battalions of the same regiment can be sent to different theatres of war.

The Prince of Wales Regiment of Foot regiment has strong Canadian roots.

In 1858, he 100th Foot was raised in Canada as the 100th Royal Canadians, a regular British army unit, made up entirely of recruits from Quebec and Ontario. It received the title "The Prince of Wales Royal Canadian Regiment (of Foot)"

It received the colours from the 17 year old Prince of Wales, in the UK, it being the very first official duty he ever performed in what would be a long and public life.

The PWRF served in Malta, Gibraltar, Scotland, and returned to Canada during the Fenian raids of 1866. On Dominion Day 1867, when Canada celebrated its independence, the unit paraded wearing the maple leaf, probably the first regiment ever the use the symbol.

The regiment then returned to postings in the UK, Ireland, and India.

In 1881 it was amalgamated with another unit and renamed The Prince of Wales' Leinster Regiment (Royal Canadians.) The Royal Canadians would become the 1st Battalion PWRF, the other unit the 2nd Bn. The new colours were presented, in India, by Lady Dufferin, wife of the man who had just been Governor-General of Canada from 1872-1878.The old regimental colours, presented by young Prince Edward, were sent to Canada for permanent safe-keeping.

Often shortened to The Leinster Regiment, the 1st Battalion PWRF was already stationed in Canada when the Boer War broke out and was sent to fight. Though by this time "Canadian content," which in the 1850s was 100%, was all but gone.

This bugle comes from that period and belonged to the First Battalion of the Prince of Wales' Leinster Regiment of Foot (The Royal Canadians.)

1st Prince of Wales Regt of Foot (Royal Canadians) Boer War Bugle - 1901
Orig bugle - Size - 28 cm
Found - Montreal, PQ
Signed J Higham Ltd.

Joseph Higham - Higham was established in 1842, and making instruments for the British Army from 1852 on, and then for the Navy as well. By 1893 it had produced 46,000 instruments and had over 90 people on the payroll. In 1923 Mayers and Harrison took it over.

Patina To Die For - The patina of this bugle is what you want on every genuine vintage bugle. It has never been polished in its life.

This is common with real trophy bugles. They are treasured, and fiercely hoarded, by their owners, often the buglers themselves, because they came from a very dangerous high point in their lives, and they don't allow kids to play with them, or Mom to shine them up. They tucked them away in a safe spot, where only Father Time can work his magic on them.

Named Inscription - The inscription too is not at all a recent forgery, but is as old as the bugle, with the same age burn as the metal around it and betraying the script of the late Victorian period.

As a matter of fact the period dents and gouges are over top of the inscription, which was obviously added when the bugle was new.

Rarity - This bugle is probably the only one in existence of the long gone Royal Canadians (1858-1922) the only regiment in the British Army originally composed entirely of Canadians.

Lt. RM Courtney, RMC, 1st PWRF

One member of the 1st PWRF was Lt. RM Courtney, who signed up with Lord Strathcona's Horse to fight in the Boer War in 1900.

The officers are shown here at the Ottawa train station before leaving for Halifax to board the SS Monterey. Courtney is the short slight man in the second row.

The unit's papers list him as a graduate of RMC - Canada's officer training school, the Royal Military College, in Kingston Ontario - and as formerly a captain with 1st PWRF the very unit this bugle is named to.

So the Canadian content of the PWRF was enduring.

Somewhere in this group is Lt. Courtney, with the Strathconas aboard Monterey bound for South Africa in early 1900.

In front are the regiment's buglers, including Edwin McCormick on what would be his first one year tour.

He would return to South Africa, again, two years later carrying the bugle featured below.

Though this PWRF bugle was not in South Africa when Courtney or the Strathconas were there.

An interesting co-incidence for Courtney and the bugle is that he was a Captain in the 1st PWRF, just before leaving to join the Strathconas.

In fact the 1st Battalion of the Leinster Regiment had arrived in Canada to occupy the Citadel in Halifax below in May 1898.

So it may very well be that Courtney signed up with it there or was already a member, probably resigning from it only because he preferred to go to South Africa with an all-Canadian unit.


The 1st PWRF would be in South Africa for the entire war and see some of the hardest fighting. So this 1st Battalion bugle was along for much of the bitter guerilla campaign from 1901-1902.

(The 2nd Battalion of the Leinsters which would only go to South Africa in the closing months of the war.)

After the Boer War the Leinsters returned to Ireland where they would be one of the many British units involved in occupying the country during the "Troubles.".

When Ireland received its independence in 1922, the Leinster regiment was decommissioned and ceased to exist.

The regiment's colours were sent to be kept by the Royal Family at Windsor Castle.

This rare 1st Bn PWRF (Royal Canadians) bugle stayed with the bugler and his descendants who finally sold it off to a dealer.

It has been saved from the trash heap of history by the Canadian Anglo-Boer War Museum. Other Leinster memorabilia (hat, badge) is in private hands.


The regimental silverware below is at the Royal Military College in Kingston, Ontario, in the Murney Tower (Fort Frederick) at the end of the central peninsula below.

Just beside the parade ground on which Lt. Courtney once marched as an officer cadet.

In the foreground is Old Fort Henry and the parade ground where Canadian historian John Goldi marched as a reenactor member of the Fort Henry Guard, for three years from 1964-1966.

Next to Niagara Falls, Fort Henry (1832) and the FHG is the biggest tourist attraction in Ontario.

Go to 82 Fake Combat Photos













flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure Black & White Lithograph, Canada West, 1860 - Among the very earliest celebrity portraits ever made for Canadians to hang in homes, hotels, and houses of ill repute - yes we mean the Houses of Parliament - was this one, a lithograph from 1860, when Canada was still a colony of Great Britain.

The subject is the unwed Prince Edward - Queen Victoria's son at 18 years old.

This is how he looked just a year after he had presented the colours to "The Prince of Wales Royal Canadian Regiment (of Foot)" in the UK, his first ever official duty as a royal.

Now only months later he would visit the home turf where the Royal Canadians had all been recruited from.

His tour of Canada in 1860, was celebrated with the issue of this large lithograph.

Few survive in mint condition, and this one has seen many frames come and go in 150 years.

Prince Edward was to have more mistresses, behind his wife's back, than Tiger Woods ever apologized for - get this: but only in front of his business partners - but then he's still young...

Three years after his Canadian tour Edward married Alexandra.

Go to Edward Visits Canada


Lithograph, Edward, Prince of Wales - 1860
Orig. litho - Size - 41 x 61 cm
Found - Toronto, ON
Sleuthing out Fakes 1 - Dents on inscriptions are wonderful!!! Note how the small original dent has distorted the bottom of the 1. It would be impossible for a forger trying to inscribe a spurious name, to follow the "lay of the land," and keep proper uniform symmetry, across the dents . If he made one mistake it would ruin the bugle. Here the symmetry across the entire inscription is flawless. The buckled inscription is clearly as old as the bugle and its dents are and dates to 1901.

2 - Note how the patina of a 100 years is uniform from bugle to mouth piece, confirming without doubt that this is the original one the bugler blew in South Africa.

3 - Right below is a fake inscription from an ebay fraudster who claims this is an Imperial Yeomanry bugle from 1899 "in excellent condition."

Because the bugle has a silky smooth surface the inscription is utterly prefect - as the PWRF inscription once was also. No distention in the lettering as the metal and the letters buckled through various instances of rough handling.

This inscription does not look "period," as well as being on a bugle that has no age-burn of any kind on it. Unlike the complicated "Victorian" PWRF inscription, this is clearly a Dremel tool job by a forger.

Now seeing this fake, how authentic are all the other military and memorabilia items his store has for sale?

Remember too, ebay calls him a Top-rated seller of Russian Heritage...

4 - Below is a second Dremel tool inscription faked by an Aussie forger.

Clearly these fakes must sell to some hapless buyers, or they wouldn't be offering them for sale on ebay.

Remember you can use these analytical tools to judge the age-burn of other antiques made out of wood, glass, leather, canvas, fabric, parian, porcelain, plaster, or metal.

Go to Aussie Dremel Tool Job




flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure
A fabulous bugle in a number of ways: the bugle is Canadian manufactured, a very rare kind of bugle to find anymore, most Allied military bugles being British or Belgian made.

This one was made by RS Williams & Sons from Toronto, in 1916, during World War I. It was also made for the military as it is stamped with the Queen's broad arrow. Better yet, it has the Canadian version of the broad arrow, stamped inside an almost enclosing "C" for Canada, the only such stamp we have ever seen on a bugle. It has a Stanley mouthpiece of the same age, that removes easily, instead of being missing or jammed in on so many abused bugles.

This bugle is also superb in that it sports the most untouched patina of all the bugles on this page, likely being locked in a trunk, since it was last used, some 90 years ago, probably on the Western Front, by a boy from Strathroy, Ontario...

The ancient patina on these dents and gouges certifies that these, indeed, are real battle scars, not the pretend ones that slavering antique sellers parade on all the shiny bugles they have for sale. All made, of course, by children, at play... Certainly not on this one, which was preserved by its original owner as a precious peaceful item from a horrid part of his life. Until he passed on, and the family decided it was time for the bugle to go too...

World War I Canadian Bugle - RS Williams Mfg, 1916
Orig bugle - Size - 28 cm
Found - Strathroy, ON
Signed RS Williams & Sons Co. Ltd., Canadian broad arrow
RS Williams & Sons Co. Ltd. - Hundreds of thousands of Canadians were destined to serve in World War I. This is a very early bugle from that conflict.

The Williams musical instrument factory had been established by Richard Sugden Williams (b London, UK, 12 Apr 1834, d Toronto 24 Feb 1906) in Toronto, in 1855, to make banjos, melodeons, and mandolins, as well as to sell pianos and organs.

At the time of the Boer War RS Williams claimed to be the largest musical instrument maker in Canada, specializing in pianos and reed organs. Queen Victoria requested two Williams pianos for Windsor Castle.Some Williams organs are still used in large Canadian cathedrals. RS Williams & Son(s), the name used since 1880, continued to make mandolins, banjos, and melodeons, and developed a line of fine violins as well, and during World War I, bugles.

flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure Edward McCormick served two terms in the Boer War, as a bugler in South Africa, and used this Mahillon bugle there in 1902, as a member of the 2nd Canadian Mounted Rifles.

He blew the Last Post with it when they buried the Canadians after the Battle of Boschbult Farm, on Mar. 31, 1902.

As a memorial of the campaign, he inscribed it with two words on the bell collar:

Magelisburg (sic), for the district, west of Pretoria, through which his unit chased the Boer Commando of Commandant de la Rey, and President Steyn. And Brackspruit, the name of the stream on which the Battle of Boschbult Farm was fought.

Go to Edwin McCormick

This bugle was found as an anonymous "cast-off" on ebay from a seller who had found it at a low end Toronto auction. Canadian historian John Goldi sleuthed out the history and saved it from the trash heap of history.


The original tombstone at the battlefield and grave site, with the tents of the occupying army still in the background.

Boer War Bugle of Edward McCormick, 1901
Orig bugle - Size - 11.5"
Found - Toronto, ON
Signed C Mahillon & Co., 1901

C. Mahillon & Co. was a Belgian manufacturer of musical instruments, founded in Brussels (1836-43) by Charles Mahillon, and joined in 1865 by son Victor Mahillon (1841-1924) a renowned musical scholar.

The bugle is signed C. Mahillon & Co, 1901, as well as with the military broad arrow.

Standing on the exact spot where the tombstone above was set up on the Boschbult Farm grave site, is Canadian historian John Goldi, who returned with the bugle to where it had last been 98 years before, as Edwin blew the Last Post.

The bodies lay here for some 70 years till they were exhumed to a nearby Ottosdal cemetery.

flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure One of Canadian artist Paul Wickson's famous Boer War prints is the Bugler.

It features a magnificent horse and a bugler that bears a remarkable resemblance to Edwin McCormick who went to South Africa as a 14 year old with Lord Strathcona's Horse.

Go to Paul Wickson
Chromolithograph Print - The Bugler - 1900
Orig. print - Image Size - 23 cm
Found - Montreal, PQ
flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure Leonard Greenham Star Molloy (1861-1937) was a surgeon and Unionist Member of Parliament for Blackpool, England.

He presented this bugle, during the Boer War, to a St. John Ambulance Unit in Blackpool, England. It is inscribed:

FEB 1901

Years of polishing have made the inscription hard to photograph. Dr. Molloy obviously wished to thank local volunteers for the bandages and medicine they had raised for the troops in South Africa.

The bugle also had a Boer War St. John Ambulance bandage stuffed deep into the bell. Probably the doctor acquired this bugle directly from a unit that fought in South Africa because both would have wanted to express their gratitude by presenting the home volunteers with a genuine war bugle that had seen action where their medical supplies had been put to use.

The Army & Navy Co-operative Society Ltd. had been formed in 1871 by a group of army and navy officers to provide goods for low prices to its members.

By 1900 it had an enormous catalogue including bugles and guns. It lasted till 1973 when it was taken over by the House of Fraser.

Boer War Presentation Bugle of Dr. L. Molloy, 1901

Orig bugle - Size - 11.5"
Found - London, UK
Signed Army & Navy CSL, 105 Victoria Street London, SW, Presentation Inscribed

flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure John Baker was active in the Canadian Militia just after the Boer War when he came into possession of the Boosey bugle left.

He was a member of the 36th Bn Peel Militia for three years, around 1910, when he was painted in pastel wearing the unit's "reds."

The bugle is signed as made by Boosey & Co. in London, in 1901. Because it was an estate item in the Baker family, when John's uniform and picture were sold, this bugle could have been used in South Africa and acquired by John as a souvenir from a militia member.

Sadly, John was killed in 1917 in France, and the bugle passed on to his surviving brothers.

It retains its original infantry cords, and two mouth pieces. It was blown on ceremonial occasions by Baker family veterans.

Go to John Baker

Boosey & Co: To help date Boosey signed bugles remember that Thomas Boosey started making bugles in London, England, during the Crimean War, operating as Boosey & Son, 1854-64, and Boosey & Co., 1864-1930.

By 1894, the company had a workforce of 100.

It became Boosey & Hawkes after 1930.

Boer War Bugle of John & Norman Baker, c 1901
Orig bugle - Size - 11.5"
Found - Cookstown, ON
Signed Boosey & Co., London, 1901

The museum acquired this bugle, along with with militaria effects directly from the Baker family.

flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure Norman Pearson joined the 67th Battery of the Canadian Field Artillery and was provided this bugle when the unit was sent to occupy the northern Russian ports of Murmansk and Archangel in June 1918. They were trying to restore "order" after the Russian Revolution.

It was World War I and the Bolsheviks had overthrown the government that had been supporting the Allies, and captured the Royal Family; a month later they would all be killed.

This bugle has the original cords and dog tags that Norm used while in Russia. They were acquired directly from the family.

Go to Norman Pearson

Henry Potter & Co: Samuel Potter (1772-1838) had retired from the Coldstream Guards after the Napoleonic Wars were over and started making fifes, drums, and bugles in 1817.

His son Henry Potter (1810-1876) was well established in the firm by 1841. Many Victorian bugles were made by this firm. The company was active till 1950.

Henry's son founded his own company George Potter & Co. at Aldershot, in 1859, where the British Army had a huge military complex

World War I Bugle of Norman Pearson, 1916
Orig bugle - Size - 11.5"
Found - Asheville, NC
Signed Henry Potter 1916 , copper & brass with original patina, bugle cords, and dog tags, to Norman Pearson 67th Battery CFA
The British Military Broad Arrow

The symbol of the broad arrow, or "mark,'" has been used to identify crown property since as early as the rule of Richard II (1367-1400).

The broad arrow has been utilized by the British military since at least the early to mid 1700s when it was used to mark timber, set aside by the government, for spars and masts for the British navy.

It was also put on web gear and brass items like oil bottles, and on bayonets and rifles. Two opposing broad arrows on a firearm denotes the rifle as being decommissioned for sale to civilian buyers.

Stamped on guns or "ordnance," since earliest times, the broad arrow doubled as a proof mark that the weapon had been successfully fired and was certified as such by the "Board of Ordnance." It could very well be that the term "broad arrow" was a corruption of the term the "Board's arrow." The symbol was retired sometime after the Korean War.

The Canadian version above right, uses a broad arrow within an enclosing C..

The Victorian bugle, used by the British Army around the world, and aboard war ships, was adopted during the Crimean War as the M1855 Duty Bugle. The design, size, and weight were formally established. The new standard was based on an earlier bugle used since 1810, and has not varied in over 150 years.

Left is the famous Balaklava bugle used by Trumpeter Billy Brittain to blow the "charge" of the Light Brigade during the Crimean War in 1854. Or did he?

Bugles can play only 8 notes, only 7 of which are usable, which is more than enough since all bugle calls use only 5 notes.

Most bugles are tuned in Bb, though some older ones exist in C and Eb. Music notation for the bugle is written in C.

The M1855 Duty Bugle was made to be compact, for use in the field. It was designed to be "double twist," 11" long, with a 4" bell.

For barrack use, a longer camp bugle was used, that was more fragile, but easier to blow.

Beware of many fake "Gunga Din" copies that are light weight and made in Pakistan and India.

Bugles used by foreign armies were different from the British and Canadian models. Left, the Italian bugle used by Emin Pasha in Africa while Stanley chased him in the 1870s. Above right, a rare American Civil War presentation bugle, made by EG Wright, Boston and inscribed as presented by Col. Michael Shoemaker to the 13th Michigan Volunteer Regt., May 23, 1863.

For more about bugles use the Search Engine.

flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure
This bugle, with its very worn infantry cords, may very well have accompanied the British Army on Lord Kitchener's Sudan Campaign, up the Nile, in 1898.


Go to Sudan Campaign of 1898

George Potter & Co.: George Potter, Henry's son, established at Aldershot in 1859, and produced his own line of bugles right.

It has unique positioning of the sling rings

Sudan Campaign Era Bugle, 1895, Henry Potter & Co.
Orig bugle - Size - 11.5"
Found - London, UK
Signed Henry Potter, London, 1895
flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure Canadian militia bugles like this one are rare to find. The 3rd Battalion, Victoria Rifles of Canada was established in 1879. This bugle can date from that time on. It is an inch shorter than most M1855 duty bugles.

F Besson: Gustave Auguste Besson (1820-1874) was an acoustical genius who started his brass instrument making company in Paris, France, in 1837, when at the age of 18 he invented a cornet that was universally recognized as superseding all similar instruments of the past.

He joined a lawsuit to break the monopoly of a supplier of military instruments to the British Government. In 1840 Besson opened a branch in London, and in 1858 a factory.

By 1910 Besson claimed to have the largest workforce of any British maker of musical instruments.

It was bought by Boosey & Hawkes in 1948 and remains in business today.

Victoria Rifles of Canada Bugle, c 1890, F Besson
Orig bugle - Size - 27 cm
Found - Montreal, PQ
Signed F Besson, London, 3 VRC No 11
flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure Mayers and Harrison were bugle manufacturers in the early 20th century, in Manchester, UK.

This has the King's broad arrow denoting this was a military bugle, probably used during World War I.

Military Bugle, c 1914-18, Mayers & Harrison
Orig bugle - Size - 29 cm
Found - Aberfoyle, ON
Signed Mayers & Harrison, Manchester