Walter Ritchie’s Bugle
The Highlanders’ Museum
A bugle is a very simple instrument from the brass family. Unlike other brass instruments, it has no valves as the bugler is able to control the pitch using the mouth. In the military, it traditionally marked out parts of the day and daily routines and was used to signal orders in battle. Its use waned as other methods of field communication were developed.
This is a very special bugle that was used in World War One by Drummer Walter Ritchie of the 2nd Battalion Seaforth Highlanders. During the infamous Battle of the Somme, he repeatedly sounded the charge on his bugle whilst facing attacks from bombs and machine guns. In doing so, he inspired his battalion to continue the fight. For his actions, he was awarded the highest medal for bravery called the Victoria Cross.