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The tone-deaf bugler

Heroes Remember

The tone-deaf bugler

I went in the bugle band and I'm tone deaf, I couldn't... I never learned to blow the god damn bugle. But I was in the bugle band and we'd march around at the head of the thing and I'd put the bugle on my hip and that's the way I marched. I remember we were, we got an extra twirl that we would put on the bugle then you could play a higher note and I remember we were playing those things and the company commander, he didn't like it the way it was going. Our sergeant's name was Lammerman, the old colonel says, “For God sakes Lammerman!” and so our sergeant says, “Number 5,” that was the number of this tune and I would just hold my bugle up to my face, I couldn't blow the Goddamn thing but I went through the motions.

Mr. Babcock gives a humorous account of joining the bugle band despite being tone-deaf, and “going through the motions” without ever playing a note.

John Babcock

John Babcock was born on July 23, 1900 in Kingston, Ontario. He had twelve brothers and sisters. His father died in a lumbering accident when he was six years old, leaving his mother to run the family farm. Mr. Babcock enlisted in Sydenham, Ontario at the age of fifteen, joining the 146th Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force. He joined the 26th Reserve, Royal Canadian Regiment on his arrival in England, but because of his youth was placed in the Young Soldiers Battalion. The war ended before he had to be deployed to France. Because of this, Mr. Babcock never considered himself a true veteran. His death on February 18, 2010 marked the passing of the last surviving member of Canada's First World War Expeditionary Force.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
John Babcock
War, Conflict or Mission:
First World War

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