The Maryborough Military & Colonial Museum has on display a war relic with an interesting provenance. The silver-plated bugle found its way to the battlefields of France and then returned to the local central state school where two brothers had attended classes. Today the bugle plays a special role on Anzac Day and other commemorative occasions.
Lieutenant Victor Thomas Symes Warry enlisted with the 25th Battalion in May 1915, landed at Gallipoli in September 1915, and was evacuated due to illness two months later. He rejoined his unit and arrived in France in March 1916, the first Australian infantry battalion to arrive there. The 25th Battalion’s first action was at Poziéres between 25 July and 7 August, where Victor Warry became one of the unit’s 785 casualties when he was killed during an attack on enemy lines on 29 July. The unit’s diary notes: ‘Lieuts V T Warry and J L Smith showed great courage in rallying their men in front of the enemy wire’. For his actions he was recommended for a Mention in Despatches, but it was never awarded nor was his body found. He is commemorated on the Australian National Memorial at Villers-Bretonneux in France.
A month before his death, Richard Warry – Victor’s father and a Maryborough businessman – presented an inscribed bugle to the 2nd Reinforcements, 42nd Battalion – the unit in which an older son, Stanley Richard Warry, embarked for England in August 1916. Stan remained there for a year before joining his unit in France in October 1917. Stan was awarded a Military Cross for ‘conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty’ performed during an attack against enemy positions near Proyart on the Somme on 12 August 1918.
In the chaos of war the Maryborough bugle disappeared into the mud of the battlefield but was later found by a soldier of the 42nd Battalion who, having read the inscription, asked Stan if RS Warry was a relative, to which he replied ‘He is my father’.
In the closing days of the war, Stan was transferred to the 43rd Battalion and was invalided home in May 1919, bringing the bugle with him.
Service record of Captain Stanley Richard Warry:
Service record of Lieutenant Victor Thomas Symes Warry:
Australians Red Cross file, Lieutenant Victor Thomas Symes Warry:
25th Battalion War Diary, July 1916: