zaterdag 1 augustus 2009

Last Post Tradition

Hear Last Post and Reveille
Hear extracts from the daily ceremony under the Menin Gate:-
Last Post (180Kb MP3)
Reveille (256Kb MP3)
(These soundfiles are the copyright of and may not be reproduced without permission.)
How the tradition began
In 1928, a year after the inauguration of the Menin Gate Memorial, a number of prominent citizens in Ypres decided that some way should be found to express the gratitude of the Belgian nation towards those who had died for its freedom and independence.
The idea of the daily sounding of the Last Post - the traditional salute to the fallen warrior - was that of the Superintendant of the Ypres Police, Mr P Vandenbraambussche. The Menin Gate Memorial on the east side of Ypres was thought to be the most appropriate location for the ceremony. Originally this was the location of the old city gate leading to the Ypres Salient battlefields and The Menin Road, through which so many British and Commonwealth troops had passed on their way to the Allied front line.
The privilege of playing Last Post was given to buglers of the local volunteer Fire Brigade. The first sounding of Last Post took place on 1 July 1928 and a daily ceremony was carried on for about four months. The ceremony was reinstated in the spring of 1929 and the Last Post Committee was established. Four silver bugles were donated to the Last Post Committee by the Brussels and Antwerp Branches of the Royal British Legion.
From 11 November, 1929 the Last Post has been sounded at the Menin Gate memorial every night and in all weathers. The only exception to this was during the four years of the German occupation of Ypres from 20 May 1940 to 6 September 1944. The daily ceremony was instead continued in England at Brookwood Military Cemetery, Surrey. On the very 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.
When the Last Post returned to Ieper (Ypres) after the Second World War the Brookwood Last Post Association (under Colonel McKay) continued and still continues to sound the Last Post at Brookwood Military Cemetery on the first Sunday of the month at 16.00 hours GMT (UTC). The Brookwood Last Post Association makes an annual pilgrimage to Ieper and the Ypres Salient around the month of April.
The Origin of 'Reveille' and 'Last Post'
The tradition of sounding a bugle or drum at various stages of a soldier's day originated in the British Army. In the military camp at the start of the day a wake-up bugle call 'Réveille' from the French word réveiller - to wake up - would be played. At various times of the day inspections would be made of each sentry post and a bugle call played at each post.
The tradition of the final bugle call of the day signalling the end of the soldier's day dates back to the 17th century when the British Amry was on campaign in the Netherlands. There was already a Dutch custom in existance called Taptoe. This was a signal at the end of the day to shut off the beer barrel taps and the name comes from the Dutch "Doe den tap toe" - "turn the tap off". From that time the British Army adopted a routine of also sounding drum beats as the officer on duty made his rounds in the evening to check sentry posts and to call off-duty soldiers out of the pub and back to their billets. When the bugle call of 'Last Post' was sounded at the final sentry post inspection this was the final warning that everyone should be back in their billets.
The 'Last Post' bugle call is used at military funerals, memorials and times of Remembrance. It symbolises the 'end of the soldier's day' in so far as the dead soldier has finished his duty and can rest in peace.
The Ypres Bugles
In the 1950s two silver bugles were presented by the Old Contemptibles' Association of Blackpool and Fleetwood and two silver trumpets were presented by Colonel I Whitaker to the memory of former Cavalry and Artillerymen.
In 1992 six new silver bugles were presented to the Last Post Association by the Royal Corps of Transport.

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