Hunting horns belonging to First World War soldier reunited with East Bergholt family after nearly 100 years

Rupert Eley has recently aquired two hunting horns belonging to a member of his family killed during

Rupert Eley has recently aquired two hunting horns belonging to a member of his family killed during WW1. The horns are inscribed with the family initials and the family had no idea where they were until they turned up at an auction last week. The auctioneers contacted the family and they successfully bidded for them to be reunited with the family for the first time since 1917. - Credit: Sarah Lucy brown

Two hunting horns which belonged to a 19-year-old soldier killed during the First World War have been reunited with his Suffolk family after nearly 100 years.

William Arthur Derrick Eley, who was commonly known as Derrick, joined the King’s Royal Rifle Corps in 1916 after leaving Eton College, where he was given the horns inscribed with the motto and crest of the Eton College Hounds and Eley’s initials.

The young soldier served in the British Army during the conflict and he died in the Battle of the Somme in 1916.

Now almost 100 years after Derrick’s death, the two hunting horns have remarkably been reunited with his family in East Bergholt, after years of having not known where they were.

The horns were found by Rowley’s Auctioneers when they were clearing a house in Bury St Edmunds, where one of the auctioneers, Roddy Lloyd, believed the inscribed initials WAD Eley on the horns may be linked to the Eley family in East Bergholt, which runs the Place for Plants nursery in Mill Road.


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Auctioneer Mr Lloyd said: “When I got in touch with Rupert Eley he instantly recognised that the hunting horns belonged to his great grandfather’s nephew.”

The horns went for auction on February 25, where Rupert Eley secured them for £175.

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Mr Eley, 54, said: “It’s lovely, and I am immensely grateful to Rowley’s for bringing it to my attention because it would have been a shame to miss out on them.

“We didn’t know where they had been or how they came to be there but it was very clever of them to spot it.

“They are not a great high value item, but they mean an immense amount to us.”

Hand delivered to the family on Sunday, Mr Eley plans to hang them on the wall alongside Derrick’s medals.

Mr Eley added: “We have his scrap books and medals, and we remember him very fondly.”

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