Reveille or Rouse

"Reveille" originated in medieval times, possibly around 1600, to wake the soldiers at dawn; "Rouse" was the signal for the soldier to arise. 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.
Today, the Rouse is associated with the last Post at all military funerals and services of Dedication and remembrance. It is played on the completion of one minute's silence, after the Last Post has been sounded. It calls the soldier's spirit to rise and prepare for another day.

The bugle call played after the 'Silence' during any ANZAC Day ceremony is:

Words to Reveille

Rev-eil-lee! Rev-eil-lee is sounding
The bugle calls you from your sleep; it is the break of day.
You've got to do your duty or you will get no pay.
Come, wake yourself, rouse yourself out of your sleep
And throw off the blankets and take a good peek at all
The bright signs of the break of day, so get up and do not delay.

Get Up!

Or-der-ly officer is on his round!
And if you're still a-bed he will send you to the guard
And then you'll get a drill and that will be a bitter pill:
So be up when he comes, be up when he comes,
Like a soldier at his post, a soldier at his post, all ser-ene.

Words to Rouse

Get up at once, get up at once, the bugle's sounding,
The day is here and never fear, old Sol is shining.
The Orderly Officer's on his rounds.

The Significance of Silence

At every league (Returned Serviceman's) function, no matter how small, members' stand in silence for a brief interval to remember departed comrades.

At league clubs around Australia the remembrance silence has become part of the nightly nine o'clock ritual, when any light other than a memorial flame is dimmed, members stand in silence, and then recite the Ode.

A brief silence, usually one or two minutes, characterises many other remembrance ceremonies throughout the British Commonwealth.

The concept of a remembrance silence appears to have originated with an Australian journalist, Edward George Honey, who had served briefly in World War One with an English regiment before being discharged due to ill health. Honey was born in St Kilda, Melbourne, in 1885 and died of consumption in England in 1922.

In 1962, a group of Melbourne citizens formed a committee to obtain recognition for Honey as the man 'who taught the world how to remember'. For many years, a South African politician, Sir Percy Fitzpatrick, had been credited with the idea. The Melbourne committee succeeded in establishing that 'the solemn ceremony of silence now observed in all British countries in remembrance of those who died in war' was first published by Edward Honey.

Honey published a letter in the London Evening News on 8 May 1919 under the pen name of Warren Foster, in which he appealed for five-minute silence amid all the joy making planned to celebrate the first anniversary of the end of the War. 'Five little minutes only', he wrote, 'Five silent minutes of national remembrance. A very sacred intercession Communion with the Glorious Dead who won us peace, and from the communion new strength, hope and faith in the morrow. Church services, too, if you will, but in the street, the home, the theatre, anywhere, indeed, where Englishmen and their women chance to be, surely in this five minutes of bitter-sweet silence there will be service enough'.

No official action was taken on the idea, however, until, more that five months later, on 27 October 1919, one Lord Milner forwarded a suggestion from his friend, Sir Percy Fitzpatrick, to the King's private secretary, Lord Stamfordham, for a period of silence on Armistice Day, 11 November, in all countries of the British Empire.

Sir Percy wrote, 'When we are gone it may help bring home to those who will come after us, the meaning, the nobility and the unselfishness of the great sacrifice by which their freedom was assured'.

King George V was evidently very moved by the idea and took it up immediately. There is no record that Sir Percy was prompted by Honey's letter in the London Evening News, but with the King, both Honey and Sir Percy attended a rehearsal for a five-minute silence involving the Grenadier Guards at Buckingham Palace. Five minutes proved too long and the two-minute interval was decided upon.

On 7 November 1919 the King issued a proclamation asking 'that at the hour when the Armistice came into force, the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, there may be for the brief space of two minutes a complete suspension of all our normal activities so that in perfect stillness, the thoughts of everyone may be concentrated on reverent remembrance of the glorious dead'.

The Melbourne committee noted, 'The idea of silence as a token of respect to the dead was not new, of course, for here was silence on the death of King Edward VII . and there was silence in South Africa when World War I was going badly for the allies, and there was silence in Australia for miners killed during the reign of Queen Victoria the originality of Honey's suggestion is based on the fact that this was the first time in history that a victory had been celebrated as a tribute to those who sacrificed their lives and their health to make the victory possible'.

Just how the concept of the remembrance silence was adapted by the League to become an essential feature of League functions, and particularly the nine o'clock ceremony is not clear. Some members have tried to explain the League's nine o'clock ritual in terms of the nightly eight o'clock ceremony at the Menin Gate in Belgium. An extract from a 1980 edition of The Thirty-niner, published in the Highgate sub-branch newsletter in 1981, sought an explanation in the chiming of the bells of Big Ben in London at nine o'clock each evening. According to this report, the practice of silencing BBC radio transmissions while Big Ben chimed nine began in November 1940 'as a propaganda symbol to free men in the captive nations of the world. Moreover, this account has it that the then chairman of the Big Ben Council which introduced the practice had been influenced by a fellow officer who, in a premonition of his own death in a World War I battle, had asked on behalf of the dead, 'We will help you spiritually Lend us a moment of your time each day and by your silence give us our opportunity, the power of silence is greater than you know.'

Some League members take a more practical view and, in the absence of written records, say the most likely reason for the timing of the nine o'clock service in Australia is that; that is when meetings would have finished, giving members time to catch the tram home in those early days, and that the men would have chosen to close their meetings with the remembrance silence. This view hold that a simple coincidence of practicality, and the wish to remember dead mates in any way promulgated by the King gave rise to the Australian ritual.

In any case, the South Australians had developed a nine o'clock service before World War II and at the League's twenty first annual congress in Adelaide in 1936, the national congress resolved 'that it be a suggestion to state branches that at all meetings of ex-servicemen a simple ceremony of departed comrades be carried out at 9pm similar to that observed in South Australia'.

The League's national president Gilbert Dyett had introduced the practice of beginning Federal executive meetings with a minute's silence in memory of departed comrades in July 1930.

And similar rituals to the League's nine o'clock ritual had occurred in other countries before 1930. The program for an ANZAC Day dinner in Durban in South Africa held by the Memorable Order of Tin Hats (MOTHs) in 1929 notes: 'The toast of "Fallen Comrades" will be taken in silence, during which the room will be placed in darkness and a "Light of Remembrance" is lit by the Commander. The MOTH anthem 'Old Soldiers Never Die' will be sung, after which the light will be restored.'

The History of the Dawn Service

The Dawn Service on ANZAC Day has become a solemn Australian and New Zealand tradition. It is taken for granted as part of the ANZAC ethos and few wonder how it all started. Its story, as it were, is buried in a small cemetery carved out of the bush some kilometres outside the northern Queensland town of Herberton.

Almost paradoxically, one grave stands out by its simplicity. It is covered by protective white- washed concrete slab with a plain cement cross at its top end. No epitaph recalls even the name of the deceased. The Inscription on the cross is a mere two words - "A Priest".

No person would identify the grave as that of a dedicated clergyman who created the Dawn Service, without the simple marker placed next to the grave only in recent times. It reads:

"Adjacent to, and on the right of this marker, lies the grave of the late Reverend Arthur Ernest White, a Church of England clergyman and padre, 44th Battalion, First Australian Imperial Force. On 25th April 1923, at Albany in Western Australia, the Reverend White led a party of friends in what was the first ever observance of a Dawn parade on ANZAC Day, thus establishing a tradition which has endured, Australia wide ever since."

Reverend White was serving as one of the padres of the earliest ANZAC's to leave Australia with the First AIF in November 1914. The convoy was assembled in the Princess Royal harbour and King George Sound at Albany WA. Before embarkation, at four in the morning, he conducted a service for all the men of the battalion. When White returned to Australia in 1919, he was appointed relieving Rector of the St John's Church in Albany. It was a strange coincidence that the starting point of the AIF convoys should now become his parish.

No doubt it must have been the memory of his first Dawn Service those many years earlier and his experiences overseas, combined with the awesome cost of lives and injuries, which inspired him to honour permanently the valiant men (both living and the dead) who had joined the fight for the allied cause. "Albany", he is quoted to have said, "was the last sight of land these ANZAC troops saw after leaving Australian shores and some of them never returned. We should hold a service (here) at the first light of dawn each ANZAC Day to commemorate them."

That is on ANZAC Day 1923 he came to hold the first Commemorative Dawn Service.

As the sun was rising, a man in a small dinghy cast a wreath into King George Sound while White, with a band of about 20 men gathered around him on the summit of nearby Mount Clarence, silently watched the wreath floating out to sea. He then quietly recited the words: "As the sun rises and goeth down, we will remember them". All present were deeply moved and news of the Ceremony soon spread throughout the country; and the various Returned Service Communities Australia wide emulated the Ceremony.

Eventually, White was transferred from Albany to serve other congregations, the first in South Australia, then Broken Hill where he built a church, then later at Forbes NSW. In his retirement from parish life, he moved to Herberton where he became Chaplain of an Anglican convent. However, soon after his arrival (on September 26, 1954) he died, to be buried so modestly and anonymously as "A Priest".

White's memory is honoured by a stained glass window in the all Soul's Church at Wirrinya, a small farming community near Forbes NSW. Members of the parish have built the church with their own hands and have put up what they refer to as "The Dawn Service Window", as their tribute to White's service to Australia.

Information Courtesy of