Military presentation bugle : Lieutenant Colonel D M R Coghill, 32 Battalion AIF

Place Oceania: Australia, South Australia, Adelaide
Accession Number REL/01483
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Heraldry
Physical description Brass, Copper, Nickel-plated brass
Maker Correll, Richard
Place made Australia: South Australia, Adelaide
Date made 1915
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

Standard military bugle of soldered construction, made with copper tubing body and brass bell, joiners, mouth tube, rear tube facing, retaining chain plate and chain. The mouthpiece is nickle-plated brass, impressed with the broad arrow symbol. The top of the bell is engraved: 'R Correll - Maker - Adelaide. First Australian Made Bugle Presented to 32nd Battalion AIF Lieut. Col. D.M.R. Coghill. With the maker's compliments and Best Wishes. 1915'. The entire bugle has been highly polished.

Since recording, it was noticed that this bugle is completely out of tune with itself and that the only tune that could be played on it was the Rouse. Every other tune tried on this bugle was flat.

History / Summary

Australian-made bugle presented to the Commander of the 32nd Battalion before its departure from Australia. The 32nd Battalion was formed in Adelaide on 15 August 1915 with Lieutenant Colonel Donald Murray Robertson Coghill as its commanding officer. Coghill, born 15 April 1871, was headmaster of Woodville High School in Adelaide when he applied for a commission in the AIF in June 1915; and had extensive experience as an officer in the militia, rising from a lieutenant with 78 Infantry in 1896 to a captain with 6 and 10 Infantry Regiments in 1908, to the rank of lieutenant-colonel in 1912.

His battalion embarked for overseas service aboard the HMAT Geelong, spending 2 months in Egypt before transferring to France in late June 1916. Coghill led the 32nd Battalion in its attack on Fromelles, where the battalion lost 17 officers and 701 other ranks; and it appears the experience came close to breaking him. Reports of his behaviour during the disastrous action from Brigadier-General Tivery (8th Infantry Brigade) noted he had not been able 'to face the situation with resolution', while Major General McCay (Commander, 5 Division), stated that he was 'of the opinion that he is unequal to the nerve-strain of commanding a battalion at the front in times of stress or heavy losses.' As a result, Coghill relinquished command and was transferred to AIF Headquarters. By August 1916 he had been returned to Australia and his appointment terminated. He was appointed commanding officer of transports during 1917 and 1918; he died on 29 November 1922, aged 51.

The presenter of this bugle, Richard Correll, was an all-round musician, band conductor, baritone, violin repairer and from the early 1900s ran Corell's Music Store in Rundle St, Adelaide, which was also a sole supplier of Boosey brass instruments. He was a champion of the state's brass bands, and formed and was President of the South Australian Band Association. He was actively involved in music-related fund raising throughout the First World War and presented a 'complete set' of brass instruments to HMAS Australia's band in 1914. Currently no contemporary reference can be found for this bugle or its presentation, but there is no reason to doubt the authenticity of the engraving claiming the bugle as being the first Ausralian-made example. Correll died on 6 May 1932 aged 71.