‘The Bugle’ was the The 2nd Battalion The Durham Light Infantry‘s own magazine, published between 1894 and 1902, while the Battalion was in India.
The first Bugle was printed at Mhow on 10 May 1894, as a chronicle of the Battalion’s life. Its origins lay in the habit of adding notes about sports, competitions, marriages, etc. at the end of ‘daily orders’. When these notes increased to a whole sheet, 2 DLI’s Commanding Officer (Lieutenant Colonel Peyton) decided to start a weekly magazine.
In the first edition, the editor stated his aim:
‘Not only is it sought by means of The Bugle to foster esprit-de-corps but also to promote true kindliness & comradeship between all ranks of The Durham Light Infantry’. The Bugle was also written for old soldiers who ‘hanker to know what is going on in the old corps.’
On average 12 pages long, ‘The Bugle’ cost 2 annas (about Â½p), but this was later reduced to just 1 anna for soldiers. At first, there were only 300 weekly copies, but this soon grew to over 600, all printed on the Battalion’s own printing press. The work involved in producing the weekly edition must have left the editor and his staff with little time for soldiering because, when one edition was finished, work must have immediately begun on the next.
Almost from the beginning, the style of ‘The Bugle’ was set: editor’s notes (or
‘Bugle Blasts’) followed by a mixture of sport (everything from billiards to football); rumour; gossip; news; gardening tips; letters; jokes; travel; poems; advice; Regimental history; campaign notes; and a range of articles entitled ‘My First Tiger’ or ‘Pig Sticking for Beginners’.
Today ‘The Bugle’ gives the reader an unsurpassed view into the life of a British Army battalion in India 100 years ago.
By the end of 1900, with so many men away serving in the Boer War with the Burma Mounted Infantry or dispersed on other duties, ‘The Bugle’ became a monthly paper. The last edition in the DLI collection is dated September 1902, and it is not known if there were any further editions. However, when the 2nd Battalion returned to India in 1921, after the First World War, a new ‘Bugle’ was born.