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BLAST FROM THE PAST; Collector finds junk stall bugle was played by his own grandfather at the Battle of the Somme.

Byline: LUCY THORNTON

BLOWING the battered bugle, old soldier Maurice Green sounds a note that echoes poignantly down the years.

His hero grandfather sounded the charge on this very instrument before losing his life in the Battle of the Somme. Now fate and a fiver have combined to bring the bugle back to his family.

Incredibly, retired engineer and former Army man Maurice, 73, came across his heirloom piled on a junk stall while browsing a local market for military medals.

He handed over pounds 5 and, when he cleaned off all the grime, was astonished to see the Army service number of the bugler it had been issued to during the First World War. It was Daniel Clay - his grandad.

On July 1, 1916, Private Clay used it to sound the charge as 703 of the 8th Battalion York and Lancaster Regiment leapt from their trenches. All but 68 men perished, including Pte Clay, 26, whose body was never found. His bugle was also believed lost on the battlefield - until now.

Grandson Maurice said: "It is an unbelievable story. I went to the market to look for medals from the battalions I served alongside.

"I spotted this battered old bugle on a bric-a-brac stand. It was as black as soot, but I noticed its Army service number had the same first three digits as my grandad's.

"I couldn't see the last two digits, but I wondered if it could be the bugle my grandad had played at the Somme. So I cleaned it and was stunned when the last two digits corresponded to his Army service number. I'm convinced this was the one he had in the trenches."

Maurice, from Rotherham, South Yorks, believes one of the survivors retrieved it from the battlefield.

He added: "The important thing is it has ended up back in my grandad's family, where it belongs." Pte Clay's bugle was played at the recent Remembrance Day service in Rotherham.

YORKS & LANCS

During the First World War the regiment suffered 48,650 casualties out of 57,000 men; some 72% of the force killed or wounded. The regiment won four VCs and 59 battle honours, the largest number for any English regiment in the war

CAPTION(S):

HERO Bugler Daniel Clay died in battle LAST POST Maurice Green blows grandfather's bugle that sounded start of Somme charge

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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EUFR
Date:Nov 19, 2010
Words:392
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