Last Sunday was Remembrance Sunday. It was also Armistice Day. Furthermore, it was 100 years since the end of World War One. It was an important day, it always is and I shall ensure that our girls live their lives knowing why it is so. But, in commemoration of the 100 years, something special happened – a special playing of The Last Post.
At 6.55pm (UK time), buglers joined the official ‘Battle’s Over’ commemorative Last Post. Battle’s Over, was an international commemoration marking 100 years since the guns fell silent. The event was organised by Pageantmaster Bruno Peek LVO OBE OPR. Events took place throughout the UK, Europe and across the globe in, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Bermuda, France, Belgium, Canada, the United States and Germany. It was the largest gathering of buglers ever playing at the same time.
Kirkbymoorside Town Band
In Kirkbymoorside, 34 cornet players, aged 7 to over, from the town band gathered at Pump Hill to join in this special moment.
The band’s performance was particularly poignant. Band members Tom Medd and John Bowes, who died of wounds he suffered there, were two of five band players, who fought in the First World War.
It was an event that I shall never forget. The Last Post is something I have heard many times. Each time it hits home what this day and piece of music represent.
Earlier in the day, the band led the procession from their local British Legion to the All Saints Church. Principal cornet, Jeanette Kendall, performed ‘The Last Post’ after wreaths had been laid at the war memorial. This is an honour played by a member of the band since 1918 – including 44 years by current soprano player John Sails.
The Last Post
I was interested to find out to origins of The Last Post. This is what Wikipedia has to say about The Last Post:
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. 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.
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.
I also filmed the latter half of the playing of the post by the town band. Sadly, this is where knowing your camera really helps. The reason I missed the first half was not realising I wasn’t recording! You can watch here on my Instagram account:
About this photo
Despite the sombre nature of the occasion, I decided I would take my camera to record it. Many other people were also taking photos, so I didn’t feel like I was being intrusive. I chose to use my nifty fifty on my Canon EOS M50 for the occasion. The Canon 50mm f1.8 lens is great in low light. The two together make a fantastic combination of camera and lens.
- Camera: Canon EOS M50
- Lens: Canon 50mm f1.8
- Exposure settings: 1/160 sec – f/2.8 – ISO12800
There’s nothing wrong with automatic
I specifically chose to use the handheld night shot setting on the camera. This is an automatic setting but it does a damn fine job in these situations. Using automatic settings on my camera doesn’t make me less of a photographer. If anyone says that, I just tell them to jog on. The fact is, my camera is a tool. It a bit like saying a writer is no good because they use autocorrect in Microsoft Word. I use my tool and all it’s features to achieve what I am aiming for – a great photograph.
Did you go see any of the buglers last Sunday around the country?
Thanks for reading.