Roscoe's Bugle

Article | Updated 1 years ago

The Gallipoli campaign is a poignant reminder of the sacrifices made by Australian soldiers during World War One. This battle helped to forge a national identity.

Approximately 1023 Western Australians were killed during, or as a result of, the battle that began with the beach landing on Turkish shores on the 25 April 1915, and ended with the final evacuation on the 20 December 1915.

Members of the largely Western Australian 3rd Field Ambulance C Section landed with 3rd Brigade AIF in one of the first boats ashore. Lance Corporal William Fenwick Roscoe was their bugler. He believed that his bugle was the first to reach the shore that morning.

Roscoe was only 24 years old at the time of the landing. He was born on 28 August 1890 in North Fitzroy, Victoria. His parents were Australian born, his grandparents English and Scottish immigrants.

He arrived in Western Australia with his parents around 1897 and lived in Kalgoorlie for roughly ten years before the family moved to North Perth.

At the time of enlistment he was employed as salesman at Charles Moore & Son Department Store. He enlisted in Perth on 15 August 1914 and was assigned to the 3rd Field Ambulance. He trained at Blackboy Hill camp and was presented with his bugle on 19 September 1914 by Major General Bessell Browne.

Roscoe fought on the Western Front until  he was seriously wounded in April 1918, receiving shrapnel wounds to his left thigh.

After Roscoe returned to Western Australia in December 1918, he habitually played his bugle at annual ANZAC day services until his death in 1965.

In 1971 his immediate family donated his bugle to the Western Australian Museum, and in 2016 they donated his medal group as well.

Roscoe’s bugle and medals are important World War One artefacts, showcasing the impact this international conflict had on Western Australia.

Roscoe playing his bugle at Blackboy Hill Camp. Dated 9-9-14

Roscoe playing his bugle at Blackboy Hill Camp. Dated 9-9-14
Image courtesy WA Museum