Tube whistle : Colonel E G Sinclair-MacLagan, 3 Infantry Brigade, AIF

Accession Number RELAWM01121
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Personal Equipment
Physical description Nickel-plated brass
Location Main Bld: First World War Gallery: The Anzac Story: Gallipoli: The Grand Plan
Maker J Hudson & Co
Place made United Kingdom: England, West Midlands, Birmingham
Date made c 1900-1914
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

Nickel plated brass tube whistle impressed on the front 'J.HUDSON & CO/ 13. BARR ST/ BIRMINGHAM/ PATENT 1899'. Engraved underneath this is a broad arrow and '52'.

Order a copy
History / Summary

Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, Ewan George Sinclair-MacLagan served in the militia before being commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Border Regiment in 1889, serving in India and participating in the expedition to Waziristan in 1894-95. He served in the South African (Boer) War from 1899 to 1901. In 1901 he was posted to Australia on secondment as adjutant of the New South Wales Scottish Rifles and Deputy Assistant Adjutant General of the 1st Military District (New South Wales). He returned to England in 1904 and in 1910 returned to Australia as the Director of drill at the new Royal Military College of Duntroon.

He was appointed to the AIF in August 1914, as Colonel commanding the 3rd Infantry Brigade. He served at Gallipoli and subsequently embarked for France, commanding the 3rd Brigade at Pozieres and Mouquet farm. In July 1918, MacLagan directed the Australian and American attack on Hamel. One of only five seconded British officers to remain with the Australian Army throughout the war, MacLagan was discharged from the AIF in may 1919. He commanded the British 51st (Highland) Division from 1919 to 1923.

From AWM333 - 'Whistle used by Brig. General (now Magor [sic] General) E.G. Sinclair MacLagan who commanded the 3rd Australian Infantry Brigade which formed the covering force of the Anzac Corps during the landing at Gallipoli on the 25th April 1915. The whistle was used by General MacLagan until he was invalided from Gallipoli about the middle of June 1915 and again in France up to the end of 1916 when he vacated the command of the 3rd Australians [sic] Brigade to take up a new appointment'.

The tube style of whistle - adapted for military use from the whistle issued to English police, and effective due to its high penetrative sound - became one of the two standard whistles used by allied forces throughout the First World War. The other was the 'escargot' style of whistle, commonly used by referees, which employed a captive pea inside the main shell to produce a shrill, fluttering effect. This example used by Sinclair-MacLagan was produced by Birmingham company Hudson and Co, one of the main whistle suppliers to the armed forces of Great Britain and its allies.