Remembrance Day | 11. Last Post / Rouse / Lament
A brief history and explanation of the importance of the Reveille, Rouse and Last Post.
(CANFORGEN 167/11 CMP 082/11 141244Z SEP 11)
Prior to mid 19th century, the foot soldier’s life was regulated by drumbeats. Later that same century the bugle call was introduced and was used for both field maneuvers and during camp routine to initiate a conditioned response from the soldier. Certain “calls” were used to “order” changes in type, direction or speed of attack or withdrawal formations. However, the most utilized bugle calls were “Reveille”, “Rouse” and “Last Post”. The “Rouse” was used as a “quarter call” to wake the soldiers fifteen minutes before the more formal activity announced by “Reveille”, which was a more complicated call by all the buglers.
In the early 20th century, the need for two “wake-up” calls was reduced. In 1909, the longer call (Reveille) was omitted and the shorter call (Rouse) was redesignated “Reveille”. However, in 1927, the longer call was reinstated. British ceremonial manuals declared that the “Rouse” would be used for funeral services throughout the Empire. Today, the two titles are used interchangeably although the longer of the two calls is seldom heard.
“Last Post” is one of the regulation calls that would be heard in the evening to signal the completion of the setting of night sentinels or sentry posts. “First Post” signaled the mounting of the “guard” or sentry posts. “Last Post” would then be sounded to signal that the camp was secure and that all sentry posts were manned and ready.
For Remembrance Day ceremonies, the use of “Last Post” and “Reveille” (Rouse) is used to draw the symbolic association between the soldier’s last duty of “sitting sentry” (death) and his “rising” above his mortal duties (reveille).
The last note of “Last Post” marks the beginning of the two minutes of silence.
- During the silence, no musical instrument shall be played, including bagpipes, as this detracts from the purpose of the event which is the quiet reflection on the service and sacrifice of the dead. Following the two-minute period of silence, “Rouse” shall be sounded, after which the official wreaths shall be laid. During the laying of wreaths, the parade shall be in the stand at ease position. History and Heritage Committee Meeting of 14 February 2011, which senior members of each environment took part, the Committee accepted the proposal that a bagpipe Lament may be played during the Remembrance ceremony, as long as the two minutes of silence are observed.
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