Bugle makes it’s way back to Yass after 100 year absence

A photograph taken in 1916 sits in the archives of Yass and District Historical Society of a young Fred Beeton. 

Honoured: Fred Beeton's great niece Kaye Wilson stands next to his name on the honour list in Yass, holding his bugle. Photo: Jessica Cole

Honoured: Fred Beeton's great niece Kaye Wilson stands next to his name on the honour list in Yass, holding his bugle. Photo: Jessica Cole

He stands, bugle in hand, ready to be shipped off from Yass to serve in the Great World War. It was the last time Fred and his bugle were photographed. One hundred years on, the very same instrument would return home to Yass.     

On Friday, September 16, the Yass and District Historical Society, alongside members of deceased WW1 soldier Fred Beeton, gathered in the Memorial Hall to receive a piece of Yass’s history thought lost 100-years-ago.

A Yass local, Fred was killed in action on the Western Front two days after arriving in Egypt, April 16, 1916, just over 100-years-ago. 

History returns homes: Three generations of the Hattersley family made the four-hour journey to the Yass Valley Region to present the piece of lost history to the Yass and District Historical Society. Photo: Jessica Cole

History returns homes: Three generations of the Hattersley family made the four-hour journey to the Yass Valley Region to present the piece of lost history to the Yass and District Historical Society. Photo: Jessica Cole

Decades later, three generations of the Hattersley family, living in Sydney without any connection to Yass, made the four-hour journey to the Valley to present the piece of lost history back into Yass’s hands. 

“It is quite a remarkable story,” Philip Hattersley said.

“We are meeting 100 years and five months since Fred’s death ... My grandfather joined the 20th Battalion from Sydney and he came into possession of Fred Beeton’s bugle.”

“It sat for decades with our family before it was passed to my son Andrew, who eventually recognised Fred’s name on the instrument.”

The bugle, having traveled thousands of miles across the globe, through a number of different conditions, had sat in the Hattersley home untouched - aside from being played by Phillip as a young boy.

“I decided to clean it up, it looked as though it had been in water for long periods of time and through quite a few different ordeals,” Andrew said. 

“We did the research and found the name Fred Beeton who served very close to my great grandfather, it was the only connection we could find for Yass.” 

The bugle has the initials FB indented in it’s side from what the family believe was done by a bullet, followed by the word YASS. 

“He also had the word Egypt quite clearly inscribed on the underside on the instrument which drew my attention to thinking, wow this is World War 1, this is quite significant,” Andrew continued.

The bugle, thanks to the Hattersley family, will sit among the other possessions collected by the Yass and District Historical Society belonging to Fred Beeton, including his belt, a chocolate box, an ID tag belonging to Charlie Leslie of Yass and a notebook. 

All items will be on display at the Yass Museum when it is officially reopened on Saturday, October 1, 2016. 

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