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The story of an old bugle: Jack Waterhouse

Private Ernest John Waterhouse No 3505

11th Infantry Battalion
Australian Imperial Force

Jack age 16 in Egypt

Ernest, “Jack” was 15 years and 11 months when he enlisted on the 8th Sep 1915.

He was the son of Ernest and Mary Ann Waterhouse of Irvine St, Cottesloe, Western Australia. His brothers Fred and Francis had enlisted earlier in the year.

Until he was 19 years old Jack would not be able to serve and fight overseas in the army.

He entered France via Boulogne on the 19th Jun 1918 and remained in the coastal areas until the 14th Aug 1918 when he joined the 11th Bn at the front as a bugler. He remained with the Bn until the 28th Oct 1918 when he contracted influenza.

On the 18th Sept 1918 the Bn advanced towards the Hindenberg Line and fought an action to capture the village of Villeret. In the action they suffered 4 Officers and 16 other ranks killed. They were relieved on the 24th Sept by American troops and withdrew to billets at Tincourt. One of their first duties was the burial of the dead, this was carried out at Tincourt cemetery with the playing of the ‘Last Post’by the Battalion’s buglers.

Jack’s Bugle at the graves at Tincourt where he played the Last Post

Jack with his Bugle and his 2 brothers, Frank left & Fred right.

Postcard carried into battle by Jack

Text: My Darling Jack with Love and best wishes for a happy birthday and many more happy birthdays.
From Dad & Mother

Jack has written

In the Field 18 Sep 1918
My Darling Mother
Life is worth nothing now so if I go under you know I have done my duty. Do not grieve as we will meet in the new world. Love to all Jack
PS Will the finder please see that my Mother gets this

Bob Waterhouse with his father Jack’s bugle and the buglers of the Last Post Association.

The bugle being used to play Reveille solo at the Last Post Ceremony – The Menin Gate – 8th August 2010

Jack’s bugle returned to the western front after 92 years when his son Bob travelled to Tincourt and then the Menin Gate.

On the 8th August the Last Post Association for the Menin Gate kindly arranged for one of the buglers to use Jack’s bugle during the evening ceremony. It was used ‘solo’ to play the reveille to close the ceremony.

Bob told us: “My grandfather Ernest Frederick Waterhouse (Capt’ Ret’ South Australian Rifles 1893) gave the Bugle and the Military Music Book for Bugle and Trumpet Calls for Parades and Active Service, printed for the Army in 1912 , to my Father Jack. This was for his 16th birthday on Sept 18 1915, being 10 days after his Attestation into the 11th Battallion AIF, with his parents permission.”

The Last Post

Every day, at 8 o’clock in the evening. The daily act of homage.

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