Royal Marines Association North Devon

ONCE A MARINE ALWAYS A MARINE

Dits
 
The Story Behind The Last Post passed on by Joyce Jagger

This moving tale has been sent in by Joyce Jaggard from an article she read in her local church magazine in Westward Ho!  which was submitted by Mike Federl

We all have heard "The Last Post" played at military funerals and Remembrance parades  But do you know the story behind the music?  If not, you may be interested to find out about its humble beginnings.

Reportedly, it all began in 1862 during the American Civil War, when the Union Army Captain Robert Ellicombe was with his men near Harrison's Landing in Virginia.  The Confederate Army was on the other side of the narrow strip of land.  During the night Captain Ellicombe heard the moans of a soldier who lay severley wounded on the battle field.  Not knowing if it was Union or Confederate the Captain decided to risk his life and bring the stricken man back for medical attention.  Crawling on his stomach through gunfire, the Captain reached the stricken soldier and began pulling him toward his encampment.  When the Captain finally reached his own lines, he discovered it was actually a Confederate soldier, but the soldier was dead.

The Captain lit a lantern and suddenly caught his breath and went numb with shock.  In the dim light, he saw the face of the soldier.  It was his own son.  The boy had been studying music in the South when the war broke out.  Without telling his father, the boy enlisted in the Confederate Army.

The following morning, heartbroken, the Captain asked permission of his superiors to give his son a full military burial, despite his enemy status.  His request was only partially granted.

The Captain had asked if he could have a group of the Army band members play a funeral dirge for his son at the funeral.  The request was turned down since the soldier was a Confederate.  But, out of respect for the father, they did say they could give him only one musician

The Captain chose a bugaler.  He asked the bugaler to play a series of musical notes he had found on a piece of paper in the pocket of his son's uniform.  This wish was granted.  The haunting melody we now know as "The Last Post" was born.

Apparently there are verses as follows:

1. Day is done.                            2. Fading light.                  3. Thanks and praise.         Gone the sun.                                 Dims the sight.                  For our days.                  From the lakes.                              And the star.                      Neath the sun.               From the hills.                                Gems the sky.                    Neath the stars.             From the sky.                                 Gleaming bright.                Neath the sky.                   All is well.                                        From afar.                           As we go.                       Safely rest.                                     Drawing nugh.                    This we know.                  God is nigh.                                    Falls the night.                    God is nigh.

Our thanks to Joyce for spotting this.

                                                                                                                                                                        

Visit to ATTURM by DENNIS SMALL

TWO MEMBERS OF THE NORTH DEVON BRANCH WERE LANDING CRAFT COXWAINS DURING WW2 AND LANDED ON THE BEACHES OF NORMANDY ON D DAY , 1945 AT ARROMANCHE. THEY WERE DENNIS SMALL AND CLIFFORD COATES. DENNIS HAS WRITTEN A POEM ABOUT THE BRANCH VISIT TO 11 ASSAULT SQUADRON ROYAL MARINES,( FORMERLY KNOWN AS ATTURM), INSTOW, NORTH DEVON. THIS WAS A VERY EMOTIVE DAY FOR BOTH CLIFFORD AND DENNIS AND THEIR THOUGHTS ON THE DAY ARE ARE SUMMED UP BELOW.

 

 

OUR VISIT TO ATTURM

 

When the North Devon RMA

Was out for the day

Visiting the Instow Camp ATTURM

The Sky was grey

As the rain came down

 

It was obvious to all

This was not a good day

To be messing about on the river

 

But all were quite game

The Ladies too

So all were determined to stay

And see the day through

 

We started with a chat

By the Camp Commandant

About the role of the Camp

And what he planned for us that day

 

We then enjoyed a lunch

And then looked outside

But the rain was still coming down

 

So we put on our coats

With hoodies up

and safety gear on

We climbed up the steps to get on board the DUKW

 

The technical advance

Since the invasion of France

Was there for all to admire

 

Except for the DUKWs

Which rumbled and rolled

And smelled as bad as ever

 

Onto the beach

Then into the river

We circled to watch a recovery display

 

Then onto a Landing Craft

For a short stay

With the rain still coming down

 

So back to the beach

And onto the camp

Into a Wet Suit

Then a drive through the dip tank

With much help from the staff

To get the wet suit off

And time to drink a Welcome Coffee

 

Then a chat about the work that

 is done

At ATTURM Aromanche Camp

 

Feeling very well informed

We then thanked the staff

For an interesting day

And a job well done

 

We left for home

Feeling slightly tired

And damp

And mused at this fact

 

That the driest place

We had been all day

Was in a Wet Suit

Being driven through a tank of water