HANDOVER: Maryborough Military and Colonial Museum volunteer John McCoombe accepts the  bugle from  Rob and Mark Kidner.
HANDOVER: Maryborough Military and Colonial Museum volunteer John McCoombe accepts the bugle from Rob and Mark Kidner. Boni Holmes

Bugle calling out for story to be revealed

ROB and Mark Kidner heard the bugle's call at an auction and went looking to find the story behind the Australian treasure.

The Townsville brothers outbid rivals at an annual military auction in northern Queensland for the bugle from the Vietnam War.

They have donated the instrument to the Maryborough Military and Colonial Museum hoping someone will recognise it and tell its story.

Museum curator John Meyers said the pair contacted Lieutenant Colonel Harry Smith who said the museum would be a good repository for the bugle, which has a Long Tan connection.

Lieutenant Colonel Smith SG, MC is a former senior officer in the Australian Army, seeing service during the Malayan Emergency and the Vietnam War.

"They drove down from Townsville to present the bugle which says dedication and commitment," Mr Meyers said of the Kidners.

Rob Kidner said he bought it at an auction at a little place between Townsville and Charters Towers called Woodstock.

"There is a mob that come up from Victoria with military memorabilia and a lot of the stuff they have appears to come from America," he said.

"A lot of the stuff they sell is German and also the wild west of America like marshals' badges.

"But sometimes you come across the occasional treasure like this one."

The bugle had a badge on it that read Long Tan Battle - Vietnam War - 18th August 1966.

"When I saw it I didn't really know what it was until I gave it a bit of a rub," Mr Kidner said.

"I tried to research it through 6RAR and through the defence force but because it doesn't have a Skippy badge I believe it's a personal thing - it has a royal infantry core badge on it.

"Because I drew dead ends everywhere with the military I put it in the Queensland RSL News with a photo and I got back a little bit of information but still dead ends.

"My theory on it is somebody lost someone at Long Tan, had this made and somehow or other it wound up at an auction.

"So what I am hoping is that someone will come through here and see it and recognise it and you will get the story."

Museum volunteer John McCoombe said the story behind the bugle was incredible.

"We are fortunate for it to come into our hands," Mr McCoombe said.

"We are very proud of what we have in this museum.

"We have the Warry Bugle and now we will be able to add to that, to this story, with this bugle.

"It is a symbol of what happened and another reminder of Long Tan.

"We are very pleased and honoured to accept this bugle."

Mr Kidner said it was rare to find an Australian military piece of history.

"I sat at the auction from nine o'clock to 4.30 to buy that - it was a gift," he said.

"I lost two good mates at Vietnam - I wasn't there, but when I looked at it I thought no one person should own it.

"I believe it should be out there to be enjoyed by all."

Since it was bought the bugle has been used to play The Last Post at a Vietnam Veterans Day ceremony.