Instrument laid buried with fallen Sheffield hero for 90 years

York and Lancaster Book presentation .
York and Lancaster Book presentation .
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IT helped call men to arms in the Great War but then spent more than 90 years buried beneath the former battlefields of Belgium.

Now a World War One bugle found beside the remains of its South Yorkshire owner is among two pieces of Great War memorabilia which have been donated to the Yorks and Lancaster Regiment Museum, at Rotherham Central Art Gallery.

The instrument was discovered with the remains of a soldier from the regiment, which recruited from around South Yorkshire, alongside a rifle with its bottle of oil perfectly preserved.

But the quest to find out the identity of its owner, who perished beside the Yser Canal in Boesinghe, Belgium, in 1915, goes on.

The bugle was donated to Yorks and Lancaster Regiment Museum by Colonel Geoffrey Norton, president of the regimental association, along with a scrapbook filled with press cuttings and photographs about the regiment’s Sheffield City Battalion.

The book was found by Russell Skidmore, of Greystones, Sheffield, when he was cleaning out the attic at his 89-year-old grandfather William Skidmore’s house in Greenhill.

Initially, it was believed the collection was created by Mr Skidmore’s father or great grandfather, George Skidmore, who was killed in World War One.

But Col Norton said: “The book was marked with the name Appleby. There was a man called FO Appleby, of Ellesmere Road, who served with Mr Skidmore and it appears to be cuttings and photographs sent by Mr Appleby to his parents. He was killed on the opening day of the Battle of the Somme, in 1916, and the collection stops there.”

Col Norton said: “The bugle was beside the body of a Yorks and Lancaster soldier killed at Boesinghe in 1915. He was one of 27 members of the regiment killed that day. We are now trying to trace who he was. The bugle was still recognisable despite having spent so long underground and the soldier’s rifle was also found beside him complete with its bottle of oil, which was still full.

“I am determined to find out who he is. All we know is that he was from the fifth battalion, which was the Territorial Army Battalion of the regiment.”

n Anyone who can help identify the bugler or has information about Somme victim Mr Appleby can contact Richard Marsden at The Star on 0114 2767676 ext 3508.or email richard.marsden@thestar.co.uk.