Trumpet and Bugle Sounds for the British Army

For general discussions on the British Army of the Victorian era or specific regiments.

Trumpet and Bugle Sounds for the British Army

Postby Frogsmile » 22 Mar 2017 13:44

I thought that forum members might be interested to have access to the trumpet and bugle sounds that organised and instructed movement in the army of the Victorian and Edwardian era:

1. Recordings of Calls (click on the 'spots' to listen): http://www.farmersboys.com/MAIN/Bugles_Calls.htm

2. The Drummers Handbook (albeit dated 1985, based on older info): http://1queens.co.uk/_docs/Drummers_handbook.pdf

3. Trumpet and bugle sounds for the army : with instructions for the training of trumpeters and buglers: https://archive.org/details/trumpetbuglesoun00ingl

4. Contemporary book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Instruments-Ba ... 1612003699
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Re: Trumpet and Bugle Sounds for the British Army

Postby Tony Barton » 23 Mar 2017 09:27

Most useful, thanks for posting those. I've saved a great number of the Trumpet and Bugle calls from the tutor, in which is a truly exhaustive collection ... as a sometime player, one can only wonder at the sheer dedication required to master the repertoire, and one wonders how many actually managed it in practice ! I should imagine that twenty or so calls were all the average bugler needed to know, and which would be in use in daily Regimental life.
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Re: Trumpet and Bugle Sounds for the British Army

Postby Frogsmile » 23 Mar 2017 09:59

Tony Barton wrote:Most useful, thanks for posting those. I've saved a great number of the Trumpet and Bugle calls from the tutor, in which is a truly exhaustive collection ... as a sometime player, one can only wonder at the sheer dedication required to master the repertoire, and one wonders how many actually managed it in practice ! I should imagine that twenty or so calls were all the average bugler needed to know, and which would be in use in daily Regimental life.


I am glad you found it interesting Tony, I cannot speak for cavalry, whose routine I never saw (yet they sounded trumpet dismounted and the simpler bugle mounted, as you know).

In the infantry the drums were taken up with drumming and bugling under the drum major for at least half a day, with the other half devoted to military training during the time that I saw them and I imagine that the Victorian era was very similar. I well recall drummers in practice under the 'lead' (best, most experienced) drummer and watching and listening to the same men lined up with the drum major as they went through the basic notes with bugles (especially the 'G') and then the various 'sounds' under his guidance, as well as weekly practice combined with the battalion's band. There were two duty buglers each day, one for the adjutant (actually the CO's) and one for the RSM. The former sounded 'Orderly Room', 'Duty NCOs' and 'Defaulters', the latter, daily routine for movements of the day, 'Reveille', 'Cookhouse', 'Fall-in', etc. I was surprised by how full-on their day was. I imagine that in Victorian times they also practised sounding tactical movements too, at least in the first half of her reign anyway.

It seems arcane now, but when I was on duty as a young NCO I was summoned not by telephone, but by bugle. I still remember the regimental call (dat da daah - or as we knew it: twenty thirrrrd - sounded twice) that drew attention...followed by the 'executive' sounded, e.g. 'Orderly Corporals' (one per company). It meant I had 5-mins to double to the RHQ, bayonet slapping at my hip...and woe betide anyone who was late!

Afternote: Boy drummers still existed, but not in battalions. Instead they were at each infantry depot and completed either 2-years (until 1974), or 1-year training, before joining their units.
Last edited by Frogsmile on 25 Mar 2017 09:59, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Trumpet and Bugle Sounds for the British Army

Postby Maureene » 23 Mar 2017 21:40

A light hearted sketch called "The Buglers" from Smithy Abroad: Barrack-Room Sketches by Edgar Wallace 1909 Project Gutenberg Australia
http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks13/1306081h.html#ch20
Edgar Wallace, who subsequently became known as the ‘King of Thrillers’ wrote a large number of mostly humorous sketches about life in the British Army.

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Re: Trumpet and Bugle Sounds for the British Army

Postby Redcoat 57 » 23 Mar 2017 22:07

Thank you Frogsmile, for posting this! I am gobsmacked! What a wonderful resource the Farmersboys website is!

As you say the days of the bugle call are still within living memory (although it is hard to believe, the world having changed so much) but I had no idea the repertoire of bugle calls was so large. Did all the calls have words to go with them? I remember 'come to the cookhouse now boys, come to the cookhouse now' for dinner. This would certainly have helped with remembering the meaning and everyone would have to know the calls not just the buglers.

Can you provide any commentary on the photos? I would particularly like to know more about the first one.

Thanks again!
Eric
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Re: Trumpet and Bugle Sounds for the British Army

Postby rd72 » 24 Mar 2017 05:56

Hi all,

Something else that might be of interest... There is some cross-polinization it would seem...

The Charge in the Infantry, to me, is the one that struck me the most...








Cheers,
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Re: Trumpet and Bugle Sounds for the British Army

Postby Frogsmile » 24 Mar 2017 12:38

Redcoat 57 wrote:Thank you Frogsmile, for posting this! I am gobsmacked! What a wonderful resource the Farmersboys website is!

As you say the days of the bugle call are still within living memory (although it is hard to believe, the world having changed so much) but I had no idea the repertoire of bugle calls was so large. Did all the calls have words to go with them? I remember 'come to the cookhouse now boys, come to the cookhouse now' for dinner. This would certainly have helped with remembering the meaning and everyone would have to know the calls not just the buglers.

Can you provide any commentary on the photos? I would particularly like to know more about the first one.

Thanks again!
Eric


Yes Eric, there were rhymes for all the routine calls that we were taught in order to recognise the sounds, some were quite ribald. Its been well over 40-years now, but I can still remember some of them:

1st Meal Call: Come to the cookhouse door boys come to the cookhouse door....come to the cookhouse door boys, or you wont get anything at all....

Fall-in: Fall in A, fall in B, fall in every companeee....

Officers dinner call: Officers wives eat pudding and pies, sergeants wives eat skelly, soldiers wives get nothing at all to fill an empty belly....

Alarm (turn out with Arms): There's a ni##er on the wall, there's a ni##er on the wallll....

Charlie Reveille: Charlie, Charlie, get out of bed, Charlie, Charlie,get out of bed....

Rouse: Get out of bed, you lazy buggers....

Fire Alarm: There's a fire, there's a fire, run and get a bucket, and put the f##ker out....

Guard: Come and do a duty boys, come and do a guard, you've had 14-night's in bed, so it wont be hard....

Mail Call: A letter for you, a letter for you, a letter from lousy Lily....

Defaulters: Turnabout, roust about, don't f##k the boys about, they'll all go sick....

Officers: The monkey shat in the elephants eye, what did the elephant do - spew....

Pioneers: A wee dog shat on the square, a wee dog shat on the square - ha ha....

Sick Parade: 64 and 94, they'll never go sick no more - the poor buggers are dead.... (numbers designated treatment)

Orderly Room: The silly old b****** is in his chair.... (referring to the commanding officer ready for presiding at 'Orders' for punishment).

Those are the one's that I can remember, but there were lots more.

As regards the photos, the first one that you asked about was taken on the front parade at 'Royal Artillery Barracks', Woolwich, and shows Trumpeter George Gritten, 11th Bn. and Trumpeter W. Lang, 12th Bn., Royal Artillery holding a Russian eagle flagstaff, which was brought back to England as a war trophy, circa 1856.

Picture two shows a boy drummer and a band boy from the South Lancashire Regiment (Prince of Wales's own Volunteers) early in WW1.

Picture three shows a boy drummer with fife and another drummer with side drum, both of the Grenadier Guards in 1856.

Picture four shows a boy drummer of the Royal Marines Light Infantry circa 1890.
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Re: Trumpet and Bugle Sounds for the British Army

Postby Mark A. Reid » 24 Mar 2017 15:53

Many thanks for this trip down Memory Lane, Frogsmile, I am most grateful. A very long time ago, probably shortly after Trafalgar, I wore a sailor suit with a Bugler's badge on my jumper cuff, first as a Sea Cadet and later as a Naval Reservist in a destroyer. I can attest to the lyrics you record above and blush to remember some of the others, ripe with sexual and scatalogical references.

As mentioned, there WAS a certain cross-pollenisation between the Services and I have a vague memory that the call we sounded ( you never blow a bugle call ) for " Saluting Guns Crews Close Up " had a secondary title like " Dismounted Charge, " which always gave us a smile aboard a closely-packed warship! Listening to the links I also note that the Reveille I heard was known to us as the Long Reveille, we used a shorter call every morning with the lyrics " Rise, Sailors, Rise, get the muck out of your eyes! " The Army's " Retreat at Sunset ( Artillery only ) " was sounded every evening, generally from the Signal Deck with a Signalmen keeping a telescope focussed on the yard-arm at the Dockyard so that our flag would descend at exactly the same time. How Victorian it all seems now ... and I suppose it was! The Army's call " Advance " was used as an executive for " Close Up " before a specific evolution so the music must have been shared but with different meanings for shipboard use. Thanks again.

Cheers,

Mark
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Re: Trumpet and Bugle Sounds for the British Army

Postby Rgl » 24 Mar 2017 22:34

For those who are really interested there are nearly 300 bugle calls on YouTube at
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=P ... oqc_mxTDgH
played by Jon Yates of the Royal Marines School of Music. In the '80s Droit Music issued a series of cassettes of Trumpet and Bugle Calls, around 400 calls in all, with a commentary which included some of the mnemonics - all fairly tame, I think - and all the regimental calls. It was when listening to these I first realised where Kenneth Alford got the opening bars of his march "The Thin Red Line".
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Re: Trumpet and Bugle Sounds for the British Army

Postby Redcoat 57 » 25 Mar 2017 20:29

Thanks again Frogsmile; it was a real pleasure to read your post on the rhymes. I imagine there were many regimental/corps/service variations on the words - I hope someone somewhere has written them all down...

Also thanks for the photo information - I thought I recognised the Woolwich barracks in the background!
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Re: Trumpet and Bugle Sounds for the British Army

Postby colsjt65 » 27 Mar 2017 09:34

This reminded me that my 65th Regiment re-enactment website includes the bugles calls for Part V, Light Infantry - XII.Words of Command and Bugle Sounds, from Field Exercises & Evolutions 1861.
http://hicketypip.tripod.com/FieldExercise/Light/General.htm#Words%20of%20Command%20and%20Bugle%20Sounds
I found an online music program and 'played' them on a 'trumpet'.

Also, a bugle call I found in Trumpet and Bugle Sounds for the Army, 1927. It is the call for the 1st Battalion, York & Lancaster Regiment. As this is the direct descendant of the 65th Regiment, I would guess that this is the call used during the 1860s.
http://hicketypip.tripod.com/FieldExercise/Light/YandLCall.mp3
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Re: Trumpet and Bugle Sounds for the British Army

Postby Frogsmile » 27 Mar 2017 12:24

colsjt65 wrote:This reminded me that my 65th Regiment re-enactment website includes the bugles calls for Part V, Light Infantry - XII.Words of Command and Bugle Sounds, from Field Exercises & Evolutions 1861.
http://hicketypip.tripod.com/FieldExercise/Light/General.htm#Words%20of%20Command%20and%20Bugle%20Sounds
I found an online music program and 'played' them on a 'trumpet'.

Also, a bugle call I found in Trumpet and Bugle Sounds for the Army, 1927. It is the call for the 1st Battalion, York & Lancaster Regiment. As this is the direct descendant of the 65th Regiment, I would guess that this is the call used during the 1860s.
http://hicketypip.tripod.com/FieldExercise/Light/YandLCall.mp3


Thank you for the interesting post. In line with your last comment, it is noticeable in the 1914 manual that I linked to, where some 1st and 2nd Battalion calls of the same regiment are very different, that it most likely relates to the battalions earlier, pre-1881 origins, as numbered regiments of foot.
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Re: Trumpet and Bugle Sounds for the British Army

Postby Peter » 01 Apr 2017 08:42

Cavalry.png
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The United service magazine, 1835 pt.3, p 275
https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id= ... 5062949105.
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Re: Trumpet and Bugle Sounds for the British Army

Postby Frogsmile » 01 Apr 2017 10:42

Very interesting Peter, thank you for posting. I think that at the time the infantry were doing their evolutions still 'by beat of drum'. The cavalry were perhaps as we would expect leading the way in introducing an instrument whose sound carried much further in the din of action and it is informative to note that the dual use of bugle is not yet mentioned. I wonder when the rifle regiments began using the bugle, as they were the first infantry to adopt its use.
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Re: Trumpet and Bugle Sounds for the British Army

Postby jf42 » 01 Apr 2017 12:39

Thanks for all those, Frogsmile.

Are there equivalent resources for drum calls, I wonder?

As for your musing re use of bugles in the Rifle regiments, the Experimental Rifle Corps formed in 1800 communicated with the bugle-horn, as had all bodies of light infantry since the formation of Light companies in infantry battalions just before the American War of Independence. That war saw British light infantry units receiving commands by bugle and whistle. The practice was copied from Jäger units formed in various German states earlier in the C18th. These were recruited from professional huntsmen who were familiar with the use of the hunting horn- (which, in its various forms, became the traditional emblem of Light Infantry and Rifle units). The original rifle armed troops of the 60th Royal Americans, the 5th Battalion formed in 1797-98 IIRC, were recruited from German Jäger troops and would have communicated with bugles. From those beginnings in 1797-1800 developed the Rifle Brigade and the King's Royal RIfle Corps.
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