The Wahagnies Trombone of the 1st Bucks Battalion

On 14 May 1940 the band instruments of the 1st Bucks Battalion were left at Wahagnies, where the battalion had been billeted, when the battalion moved into Belgium. Thirteen of the instruments were hidden by the elderly French landlady of Corporal Stan Fowler from Waddesdon (Cornet). The remainder were hidden elsewhere and were found by the Germans, who executed 17 civilians when they entered Wahagnies on 28 May 1940. The Lord Lieutenant, the 3rd Lord Cottesloe, announced an appeal for £350 to purchase new instruments in October 1941. By the end of January 1942 enough had been found for the 1st Battalion to receive £301.7s.6d, plus £30 for silver plating new bugles, with the remaining £9.8s.0d reserved for the 2nd Bucks Battalion should it decide to raise a band. The now Sergeant Fowler returned to Wahagnies on 3 October 1944 and collected those band instruments from his former landlady, who had kept them hidden under the cellar floorboards from the Germans who had searched her house for weapons. The instruments were returned to the Aylesbury, and were played by the Royal Artillery Band when the Honorary Colonel of the Bucks Battalion, H.R.H. Princess Marina, visited the Old Comrades Association in 1956 with four of the 1940 Bucks Battalion Wahagnies bandsmen on parade.

In 2014 this trombone number 121131 manufactured by Messrs. Boosey & Co, dated December 1924 and inscribed to the Bucks Battalion, was returned to the Trust by the Thame Branch of the Royal British Legion, having been given to the Soldiers’, Sailors’ and Airmen’s Families Association (SSAFA), the armed forces charity, at High Wycombe in 2002.


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