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18 Apr

Opening of 100th surf season heralded by century-old bugle

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SOUND, SOLDIERS AND SURF: Maryland’s Kye Jeffriess will play the Last Post on a 1912 issue bugle on Saturday. Picture: SIMONE DE PEAKThe sounding of ahistoricbugleon the sands of Nobbys beach this Saturday will recallthe pivotal contribution of WWI soldiersto the region’s surf life saving clubs.
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The Hunter Surf Life Saving branch formed in 1918,the same year the Great War ended.

BUGLE SOUND: Kye Jeffriess with his 110 year-old bugle. Picture: SIMONE DE PEAK

According to Cooks Hill Surf Club’s member services officerJohn Mayo, the branch rapidly expanded in the 20s and 30s due to the number of men who returned from service to the region’s coastline and signed up as surf life savers.

“Fromwhat I can best estimate there was somewhere between 200 and 300surf life savers whovolunteered to go to WWIfrom the surf clubs in Newcastle. Quite a few of them didn’t return,” Mr Mayo said.

“Many other guys joined after returning from the war. They were very enthusiastic for surf clubs because they wanted the comradeship,” Mr Mayo said.

To commemorate this contribution, 16-year-old Kye Jeffriess will play theLast Post during the Hunter branch’s centenary celebration on Saturday morning.

UNKNOWN HISTORY: Markings on the bugle’s bell show the bugle was of government issue in the NSW Citizens Military Force in 1912. Picture: SIMONE DE PEAK

The son of a keen military collector and former Nobbys nipper, Kye will sound a 110-year-old bugle believed to be connected to ’s effort during the Great War. The instrument bears the markings of the NSW Citizens Military Force and was found in Britain.

“I love the fact thatI’m able to go these ceremonies and play for everyone, because music doesn’t die. I can play exactly what was played 110 years ago and people can hear it now,” Kye said.

MAKERS MARK: Markings show the bugle was made in 1908. Picture: SIMONE DE PEAK

With a long line of relatives who have served overseas Kye said he hadn’t tired of playing the military refrain.

“It’s got a soft spot in my heart. It’s very meaningful to me.”

The opening of the Hunter’s 100thsurf season begins at8.30am on Nobbys beach.

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