Unofficial history of the Australian & New Zealand Armed Services 

 Search  &  Help Recruits Military History Hall of Heroes Indigenous Slouch hat + ARMY Today Uniforms Badges

 Colours & Flags Weapons Food Equipment Assorted Medals Armour Navy Air Power 

Nurses - Medical Tributes Poetry - Music Posters & Signs Leaders The Enemy Humour Links Killing Anzac

Tributes to Service Personnel from all the wars

Click to hear the Ode recited. Click for a .wav file of Last Post played on a bugle Click to hear The Rouse played on a bugle (.wav file) Click for a .wav file of Reveille played on bugle.

Faster loading >>>

Click for a .mid file of Last Post played on electronic horn Click for a .mid file of The Rouse played on electronic horn.

<<< .mid files

I watch the flag dancing half-way down the pole
That damn bugle player sends chills to my soul
I feel the pride and the sorrow - there’s nothing the same
As standing to attention on ANZAC Day

from "Sir" by Damien Morgan


"Lest We Forget" 

 Mourning a fallen comrade, August 1917

IWM Q 2756

Open sub category

Sub-category index

On 29 December 1922, Admiral Gilly, head of a French trade mission to Australia, presented to the Australian Prime Minister, Mr W M Hughes, on behalf of the French President, a bronze palm leaf tied with a tricolour sash. It was, Gilly said, at the public luncheon where he presented the palm, 'a tribute to the memory of Australia's fallen soldiers...a symbol of undestroyable remembrance to perpetuate the memory of the heroic children of a noble country who fought in the great war and met death on the battlefields'. The palm leaf and sash were transferred to the Australian War Museum in Melbourne on 3 January 1923 and placed on display the following day. Newspaper advertisements encouraged the public to come and see the French tribute.
The Bugler.
Drum-major Sgt. ‘Mick’ Polley at ANZAC Shrine, Brisbane, 1952.

for Last Post

Last Post

The bugle call Last Post is inextricably part of the end of day traditions which include Beating the Retreat and Tattoo.

Retreat is the older custom dating back to the 16th Century and consisting of prolonged drum beating at sunset to warn the night guard to mount and also to give notice that the gates of the town walls were about to close. 

This custom was also part of the end of day battle procedure when volleys were fired and a hymn played in honour of those who had fallen during the day. 

At this time of evening the colour would be trooped. Today this latter activity is replaced by the lowering of the National Flag.

There is some confusion over the ‘post’ calls. It seems that the ‘First Post’ and 'Last Post' came into being in the early part of the 19th Century.

 The ‘First Post’ was sounded as the orderly officer, the orderly sergeant and a drummer (with a bugle) started the Tattoo. 

They then marched from post to post with the drummer beating his drum. Upon reaching the final post the drummer would sound the Last Post. (This is why drummers carry a bugle.) The Last Post was really the end of the day (a hard day’s fighting and a hard night’s drinking).

This bugle call has been passed down through the centuries in many countries of the world as an accompaniment to the impressive rites of a soldier’s farewell - the closing bars wail out their sad valediction to the departing warrior.

Reveille or The Rouse

The custom of waking soldiers to a bugle call dates back to the Roman Legions when the rank and file were raised by horns playing Diana’s Hymn. To this day the French term for Reveille is ‘La Diana’.

When bugle calls were officially introduced into the British System by George III, a special call was written for the waking of troops. This was known as Reveille meaning ‘to wake again’, from the old French. Joseph Hayden is generally regarded as the composer of the calls which exist substantially unchanged today.

On ANZAC Day, Reveille or The Rouse breaks the silence that follows the playing of the Last Post, symbolising the awakening of the dead in the next and better world. (The Rouse is the bugle call more commonly used in conjunction with the Last Post and to the layman is often incorrectly called Reveille. Although associated with the Last Post, Reveille is rarely used because of its length.)

Open sub category

Statistics : Over 35 million page visitors since  11 Nov 2002  



 Search   Help     Guestbook   Get Updates   Last Post    The Ode      FAQ     Digger Forum

Click for news

Digger History:  an unofficial history of the Australian & New Zealand Armed Forces