Last Post

The "Last Post" is either a B♭ bugle call within British infantry regiments, or an E♭ cavalry trumpet call in British cavalry and Royal Regiment of Artillery (Royal Horse Artillery and Royal Artillery), and is used at Commonwealth military funerals, and ceremonies commemorating those who have been killed in war. Its duration varies typically from a little over one minute to nearly three minutes.[1] For ceremonial use, the Last Post is often followed by "The Rouse", or less usually the longer "Reveille".[2][3]

The two regimental traditions have separate music for the call (see Trumpet & Bugle Calls for the British Army 1966). While the B♭ infantry bugle version is better known, the E♭ cavalry trumpet version is used by the state trumpeters of the Household Cavalry.

A synthesised performance of the "Last Post".
Last Post
The "Last Post", scored in C

Origin and wartime use

The "First Post" call signals the start of the duty officer's inspection of a British Army camp's sentry posts, sounding a call at each one. The "Last Post" call originally signalled merely that the final sentry post had been inspected, and the camp was secure for the night.[4] In addition to its normal garrison use, the Last Post call had another function at the close of a day of battle. It signalled to those who were still out and wounded or separated that the fighting was done, and to follow the sound of the call to find safety and rest.

Its use in Remembrance Day ceremonies in Commonwealth nations has two generally unexpressed purposes: the first is an implied summoning of the spirits of the Fallen to the cenotaph, the second is to symbolically end the day, so that the period of silence before the Rouse is blown becomes in effect a ritualised night vigil. The Last Post as played at the end of inspection typically lasted for about 45 seconds; when played ceremonially with notes held for longer, pauses extended, and the expression mournful, typical duration could be 75 seconds or more.[5]

This custom dates from the 17th century or earlier. It originated with British troops stationed in the Netherlands, where it drew on an older Dutch custom, called taptoe, from which comes the term Tattoo as in Military tattoo. The taptoe was also used to signal the end of the day, but originated from a signal that beer taps had to be shut, hence that the day had ended. It comes from the Dutch phrase Doe den tap toe, meaning "Close the tap". The Dutch bugle call Taptoesignaal, now used for remembrance events, is not the same tune as the Last Post.

The "Last Post" was used by British forces in North America in colonial times, but was replaced by the different "Taps" by the United States Army, first used in 1862 and officially recognized in 1874.

Memorial usage

Memorial Stained Glass window, Class of 1934, Royal Military College of Canada
Memorial stained glass window, Class of 1934, Royal Military College of Canada showing officer cadet playing the bugle call for the "Last Post" or "The Rouse".

During the 19th century, the "Last Post" was also carried to the various countries of the British Empire. In all these countries, it has been incorporated into military funerals, where it is played as a final farewell, symbolising the fact that the duty of the dead soldier is over and that they can rest in peace.

"Last Post" is used in public ceremonials commemorating the war dead, particularly on Remembrance Day in the Commonwealth of Nations. In Australia and New Zealand it is also played on Anzac Day, usually before the two-minute silence, which concludes with "The Rouse".

When the post is played during services such as Anzac Day, it is required of all current serving military members to salute for the duration of the call. During services organised by the Royal British Legion, it is expected that no salute is given during the "Last Post" and Silence, as all personnel will have removed head dress as in church service prayer, have heads bowed, weapons inverted, and flags and standards lowered.

Menin Gate

Last Post plaque Ypres
Last Post plaque, Menin Gate, Ypres, Belgium
Special ceremony in Ypres for the centenary of the armistice. A version of the Last Post at the Menin Gate is played exceptionally at 11am

Since 1928, the "Last Post" has been played every evening at 8 p.m. by buglers of the local Last Post Association at the war memorial at Ypres in Belgium known as the Menin Gate, commemorating the British Empire dead at the Battle of Ypres during the First World War. The only exception to this was during the four years of the German occupation of Ypres from 20 May 1940 to 6 September 1944, when the ceremony moved to Brookwood Cemetery in England.

On the evening that Polish forces liberated Ypres, the ceremony was resumed at the Menin Gate, in spite of the heavy fighting still going on in other parts of the town. These buglers or trumpeters, sometimes seen in fire brigade uniform, are members of the fire brigade representing the Last Post Association, who organizes the events. The Last Post Association uses both silver B♭ bugles and E♭ cavalry trumpets, with either British Army tradition being respected during services at the gate.

The Last Post ceremony has now been held more than 30,000 times. On 9 July 2015, a ceremony titled A tribute to the tribute[6] took place to commemorate the 30,000th ceremony.

Other uses

The "Last Post" was incorporated into the finale of Robert Steadman's In Memoriam, a choral work on the subject of remembrance. It is also incorporated into Karl Jenkins's orchestral mass The Armed Man, and in the movement entitled Small Town, in Peter Sculthorpe's 1963 chamber orchestra work The Fifth Continent. A slightly altered version forms part of the slow movement of the Pastoral Symphony of Ralph Vaughan Williams and the ending of Mike Sammes' choral setting of Laurence Binyon's poem For the Fallen.

Robert Graves's poem "The Last Post" describes a soldier's funeral during World War I. Ford Madox Ford used The Last Post as title for part of his tetralogy Parade's End.

In 2015, Lee Kernaghan recorded a version for his album Spirit of the Anzacs.

"The Last Post" is the title of a theatre play by David Owen Smith and Peter Came performed during Armistice Week at Lincoln Drill Hall, Lincoln in November 2014. The play concerns the Beechey family of Lincoln, UK. Amy Beechey had eight sons who all enlisted to fight during the First World War; only three of them survived. The bugle call is played during the final moments of the play. The play was directed by Janie Smith and performed by people of Lincoln.

See also

References

  1. ^ The Last Post Association recording (see External Links) is 1 min 23 s; the Queen's Own Hussars version is 2 min 40 s
  2. ^ "The Rouse and the Reveille (with MP3 audio)". Australian War memorial Web site. Retrieved 12 November 2015.
  3. ^ "The Rouse and the Reveille (explanation)". Australian War memorial Web site. 27 August 2014. Retrieved 12 November 2015.
  4. ^ "The Last Post - Australian War Memorial". www.awm.gov.au.
  5. ^ "The story of the Last Post - BBC News". 11 November 2015. Retrieved 11 November 2015.
  6. ^ "Last Post Association". www.lastpost.be. Retrieved 2014-12-02.

External links

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Finchley War Memorial(IWM Ref:10972) is located in Ballards Lane, North Finchley, outside the United Services Club.

Unveiled by Viscount Lascelles on the 13th November 1925 and was attended by Thousands of people.

One thousand Men of Finchley, Husbands, Sons and Comrades made the Supreme Sacrifice in World War One in the hour of their Country’s need. After the ceremony dignitaries addressed a tightly packed gathering in the St Kilda Hall. Finchley sent over five thousand men to the Colours.They are gone but the people of Finchley have not forgotten.

(By Public Subscription cost of Finchley Memorial £500).

Finchley United Services Club the large Granite Cross at Finchley War Memorial is inside a maintained fenced enclosure, the gates have the words St Kildas on them named after the Scottish Island. The Bronze sculptured panel contains a carved relief with the figures of three servicemen a Soldier in full trench kit, with steel helmet, cape and fixed bayonet flanked by the busts of a Sailor and a Airman. There is a inscription on the top which reads above the Soldier “Victory won by Sacrifice” and below the Soldier “At the Going down of the Sun and in the Morning we will Remember them.” There is a Flagpole behind the stone cross .OS Grid Ref: TQ 261 921.Either side of the memorial are two memorial plaques the Finchley Metropolitan Tramway War Memorial (18 names),(IWM Ref 64400) and the Hendon Garage War Memorial(52 names),(IWM Ref 64399) who were relocated after the buildings where they were hanging were demolished. Names are recorded in a book at the Memorial club.

In grateful Memory of

Men of Finchley who

By service on Land Sea

And in the Air gave their

Lives for their Country.

1914 - 1919

1939 – 1945

No names are inscribed on the Main Memorial.Unveiled November 13th 1925 by Lord Lascelles.

The Memorial remembers those Servicemen and Women up to the present day who have lost their lives in conflict and also there loved ones, family and friends who they left behind. A Service of Remembrance occurs every year on Remembrance Sunday at the Memorial with a two minutes silence and the Last Post sounds followed by a march past. Ballards Lane is closed so relatives and members of the community can pay their respects. Recorded IWM Ref: 10972. Barnet Press 4th February 1922 Finchley Branch of the British Legion has acquired 'St Kilda' in Ballards Lane as a club. Martin Coyle.

A separate and original memorial in the form of a bronze plaque is located at Finchley Memorial Hospital. It commemorates the local men who died during the First World War.

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Some Do Not ... (1924)

No More Parades (1925)

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