Last Post, Ieper
The tradition of the final bugle call of the day signalling the end of the soldier's day dates back to the 17th century in the British Army.
After the officer on duty had inspected the final sentry post, the bugle call of "Last Post" was sounded. This was the final warning that everyone should be back in their billets.
The "Last Post" bugle call is used at military funerals, memorials because 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.
In 1928, citizens of Ypres decided to express the gratitude of the Belgian nation towards those who had died for its freedom and independence by a daily ceremony at the Menin Gate Memorial.
A Last Post Committee was established. The privilege of playing Last Post was given to buglers of the local volunteer Fire Brigade. They received silver bugles from British associations.
From 11 November, 1929 the Last Post has been sounded at the Menin Gate memorial every night at 8.00 pm.
The only exception to this was during the German occupation of Ypres from 20 May 1940 to 6 September 1944 during WW II. During these four years the daily ceremony was instead continued in England at Brookwood Military Cemetery,
On the very evening (Sept 6, 1944) that Polish forces liberated Ypres the ceremony was resumed at the Menin Gate, in spite of the fighting still going on in other parts of the town.
For the program of the ceremonies see http://www.lastpost.be/mainpage.htm
Every evening since July 24 1927 at 20.00 hours, the Last post is blown by members of the Ypres Fire Brigade, to remember the victims of World War I. The blowing of the Last post only was interrupted during the 2nd world war.
Recently, on the occasion of the 25.000th Last post, there was a dispute on the meaning of this habit, almost 90 years after the end of the war.
Then it was decided to blow the Last post for each soldier with his name on the memorial of the missing (Menin gate). About 60.000 names have an inscription.
The Last Post , every day at 8 PM
I quote "To the armees of the British Empire who stood here from 1914 till 1918 and to those of their dead who have no known grave"
The ceremony of the last post is a tradition and tribute to about half a million soldiers who died in the great war in the fields of Flanders (died or missing). A tradition since 1928, only stopped - of course - during the second world war
The Last Post is a military trumpet tune that shows the end of the day in military camps. The ceremony is a beautiful sign and a speaker will name all regiments that lost men in the fierce battles between 1914 and 1918 of which many were burried without a name on their grave. These missing are here, surrounding you on the echoing walls of the Menin Gate. The whole is breathtaking and will guarantee a lumb in your throat and a tear in your eyes. People are silent here, something that doesn't happen that often now-a-days. May those who fell in the Great War, never be forgotten and their names live forever more.
Since 1928 their is a ceremony in Ieper that will - without a doubt - give you wet eyes. When you want to experience this beautiful, but also emotional happening, then be at 20:00 hours exactly at the Meense Poort (Menin Gate). You will not be alone, a many will come, which makes the feeling only stronger. Now, 86 years (it's 2004) after the tragedy ended in Flanders (and the Western frontline) every evening at eight o-clock sharp the Last Post is sounding under the Menin Gate (more next tip).
When we were in Ypres on Saturday, April 23rd, the Last post was blown especially for the victims of the first gas attack ever on April 22, 1915, in the Ypres salient.