Trench Whistles Of WW1 And WW2


Trench Whistles of WW1 and WW2 HudsonThe Trench Whistles of World War 1 and World War 2 got their start around  1875 by Joseph Hudson of Birmingham, England.  Joseph Hudson and James Hudson started the J Hudson & Company and began manufacturing whistles.  The company was purchased by Acme Whistles and continues to build quality whistles today.

Some of the first production whistles were known as the “Glasgow Police Call” or “Pig Nose” whistle.

In WW1, the Army had a system where they would used different whistles to coordinate movement.  The Battalion Commander had a siren whistle, the Company Commander had a kinglet whistle, and the Platoon and Squad leaders had thunderer whistles.

Thunderer WhistleDuring WW1, Hudson & Co produced the Hudson Officer’s Hudson Trench Whistletrench Whistle.  The Whistles normally had “JHudson”, “Birmingham” and the Date of the Whistle stamped on the front.    The patent number is visible on the bottom “Patent 5727 .08”.  A leather strap or lanyard would connect the whistle so that a solder could attach it to their uniform.

Another company also producing trench whistles in WW1 was A.De Courcy & Co.  They were also located in Birmingham.

These whistles measured 80mm long with a diameter of 17mm.

Some of the military trench whistles would have a broad arrow mark right below the stamped date.  These tend to be more quite expensive and often go for over $150.   The whistles in general sell between $100-$200 depending on condition and if they come with a lanyard.

Here is a short video I put together on some of the whistles I have collected.  I found the video is best viewed using the browser Chrome.  In the video I mention the Broad Arrow marking.  If you would like to learn more, check out my article on the British Broad Arrow.

Below is an example of an WW1 whistle with the Broad Arrow indicating the property of Great Britain and the I indicating India.  The 1914 indicates this was probably military issued during WW1.

India British WW1 Whistle

The “I” indicates India
The Broad Arrow indicates Great Britain
The Year is 1914 WWI

Another design used in both world war 1 and 2 was the Thunderer design for the American (Doughboy) troops and it looked more like what most people outside of UK think of whistles.  The British whistles were also referred to as the “Dinghy Whistles”

WW1 Whistle 1916

Thunderer Whistle Design.

During WWII Germans sometimes employed the use of bakelite in their whistle design.

German Bakelite Whistle

German Bakelite Whistle

Here is a cool website I found that has loads of pictures of Whistles called the Whistle Shop.

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About Author

I share a passion for collecting all things vintage and antique and love to share that passion with others.


  1. I have a brass whistle with the lanyard and it says Official Military on is and Made in USA. Do you know what the meaning of “official” would be? It resembles the Thunderer Whistle Design above.

    Appreciate any help !!


  2. ‘official’ was also used as a selling ploy. We have seen it used on a lower quality escargot during the 1940s. Also a tube shaped one between WW1 and WW11. Hope this helps Len

  3. Hi Gents, I wonder if you can help me I bought a Hudson whistle today not knowing what the engraving meant. After reading this article I have learnt a little, my whistle has a broad arrow with 1954 below what I would like to know is above this are the letters CNAA 1985 any ideas. Allan

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