JUST A LAD: Jack Trevan, soldier, bugler, and hero, killed at Gallipoli at age 19.
JUST A LAD: Jack Trevan, soldier, bugler, and hero, killed at Gallipoli at age 19.

History: Jack Trevan, bugler and war hero

IN THIS age of high technology, why would the armed services still need buglers? Even in the First and Second World Wars they were surely of little use except at memorial services or burials. This is of course wrong. Buglers still play an important part in the day-to-day activities of the services, and in the First World War they played a vital part.

A bugle gives a clear piercing sound which can be heard at a great distance and over a vast amount of other noise. It is not an easy instrument to master but can be made to play a variety of notes and tunes at different speeds. It is ideal to send messages and this is its main role in the armed services. When war is raging, whether it is on land or sea, a bugle can usually be heard above the din. Men can be signalled to change their position, move forward, or to stay where they are. This could be very important if cables and wires used by signallers have been destroyed or flags blown away on ships. Bugles can be used by infantry or mounted regiments. And of course they are used to mark the normal routines at barracks - wake up, meal times, lights out, etc.

If you look for buglers in the First World War army records you find very few names. However, one name which came up in an Anzac Day tribute was John Allan (Jack) Trevan who fought at Gallipoli. He was a bugler attached to 14th Infantry Battalion. He was one of the first to enlist in August 1914 at Ballarat in Victoria where he was born. However, he was rejected as being "underdeveloped" and therefore medically unfit.

Exactly what that meant is hard to say unless it was his height. He was only 18 years of age at the time.

He re-enlisted in October 1914 and this time was successful. He was classified as a Private/Bugler and embarked in December.

After a short stay in Palestine he was sent to Gallipoli. Unfortunately, he was wounded in the stomach, probably on April 27, 1915 and was transferred to the troopship "HMT Derfflinger", later renamed "Huntsgreen". This was a German ocean-going liner which had been captured by the British in 1914 and should not be confused with "SMS Derfflinger", the German battle-cruiser. Jack Trevan died of his wounds on April 29, he was buried at sea and his name is listed on the Lone Pine Memorial at Gallipoli. He was just 19 years of age.

The photograph attached to his record shows a handsome lad clutching a bugle. The sash which would normally hold the bugle can be seen hanging at his left. As a youngster he had been a member of the Naval Cadets so this is possibly where he had learnt to play the bugle. He would have been close to the front when arriving at Gallipoli so that he could give signals as required. Possibly he made a good target.

Jack was a brother of Richard Henry Trevan who founded the Lismore motor business that is still with us today.

Their parents were Thomas and Anne Trevan (nee Gowland). There were at least three brothers and two sisters in the family. Some time after her husband died Anne Trevan moved to Lismore and later to Murwillumbah. She died at Ballina in 1940 aged 80.

There is no record of her burial in Ballina - perhaps she was buried with her husband in Ballarat. It would appear that a sister, Mary, also came to the Richmond, possibly with her mother. She died in Lismore in 1968 and was cremated.

Prepared by Geoff & Margaret Henderson for Richmond River Historical Society, Lismore.

Telephone: 02 6621 9993. Email: info@richhistory.org.au

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