Aidan Jackson (Jack) clutched his precious bugle as he farewelled his family. Jack was off to join the Australian Imperial Force up and go on the ‘adventure of a lifetime’. In camp he makes a new friend Spencer Harrington (Harry), and they quickly became best mates, Harry requesting bugle lullabies at night.
Soon they were shipped out to Egypt and into camps outside Cairo in sight of the pyramids. Here they were infested with bugs and surrounded by never-ending sand in their clothes, their beds, and their clothes. Jack was vigilant about keeping his precious bugle safe from the abrasive sand. After four months of sand and bugs, Jack and Harry’s war began and at dawn on 25th April 1915 they landed at Gallipoli and abruptly faced the reality of war.
‘Confusion. Noise, bullets, sand, rocks, smoke, death. And in it all Harry loses sight of Jack, he falls hitting his head on something hard and sharp – Jack’s bugle and in that moment, he knew Jack was gone as he would never have willingly let go of his precious bugle.Harry survived the war, but he never talked about it and till he died he keep close a battered photo of the pyramids and a dented bugle.
Many years later the bugle is discovered by a young boy in an op-shop, and the story come full circle as it takes an optimistic and historic turn.
‘Jack’s Bugle’ provides a thought-provoking introduction to WW1 and Gallipoli. Illustrator Belinda Elliot researched the period including reading personal accounts from surviving soldiers. She found their stories of loss very touching. The gentle watercolour illustrations are well suited to the understated tone of this story.