The archival resources of the University are often used to confirm or disprove a particular fact. However, sometimes a mystery just can’t be solved despite our best efforts. This is one of those mysteries…
In 1998, the University Archives received a donation of a “First World War era” brass bugle complete with attached medallion indicating that it was once owned by UWA’s Army Regiment. Over the next few years, the University Archives were contacted by a number of people from countries as wide spread as the United States, Germany, Austria and the United Kingdom who had purchased similar bugles and who were curious to know more about their origin. Most had been informed that the bugles they had bought dated from the First World War. However, research revealed that the University’s Army Regiment was not formed until 1949, and no evidence was found that could confirm the use of these particular bugles.
While this was an unsatisfying result for both the University Archives and the bugle buyers, one theory came to light that may one day prove to be true. The Army unit had once commissioned a supply of regimental cap badges from a contact in Pakistan, but the supply was never brought over. Is it possible that some resourceful Pakistani entrepreneur managed to obtain the badges, attach them to some surplus military bugles and then sell them to antique dealers around the world?
If you have a better theory we would love to hear it.