What tune did the French bloke play at Allingham's funeral?
August 17, 2009 8:14 AM   Subscribe

At Henry Allingham's funeral, what branch of the services did the French bugler or trumpet player represent, and what piece did he play?

Please have a look at/listen to the video here:


Fast forward to about 3:53 (or indeed listen through to the grandson's very nice speech) where it cuts from the coffin in the church to the pallbearers carrying it out. At that moment a trumpet (or bugle) player starts up and plays a nice short call.

My question is simply:

Who is the bugle/trumpet player, and what call is he playing?

It is NOT the Last Post as we normally understand it in the UK. It is NOT Reveille ditto ditto. Most of the press coverage is simply confused in this area and near-worthless (er, with all due respect etc). I'm hoping that someone actually knows this tune. What's its name? Where (gulp) can I find the sheet music please??

*After* the trumpet player to whom I'm referring, two Royal Marine buglers did indeed play the Last Post. But it's not the same guys, not the same tune. I'm not asking about them.

The bloke I'm asking about is wearing a uniform unfamiliar to me, but the MoD press release and a couple of other sources say he's French. The RM guys are immediately to his L in the closing moments of the video. They are holding standard pattern British military bugles and he's got a more trumpetlike instrument. We can't be sure what it is just on a look so it could be technically either, just a different pattern, but I'm preferring to think of it as a trumpet. (But this is NOT a question about the instrument type, and it is NOT about valves. Honest.)

So, he's French military chap - what is he? That's one thing. (I don't mean I want to know his name, rank and serial number by the way - I mean what service/whatever does he represent? In other words, what uniform is that?

The other thing is - what call does he play? It's not the Last Post. Or specifically, it is not the British Infantry Last Post as played at 99.999% of such events, and as it's about to be played by those two Marines. I don't think it's the cavalry LP either though I do not have it to hand. I think it may be some non-UK tune of equivalent effect. The Last Post begins on a written low C and goes up to the G; this tune starts on that written middle G and goes up to the C above. (Yeah OK it's really in Bb but let's not fall out over that.) What is it? That's the crucial bit of my question.

Can you help please? Are you by any chance a member of the French military? Can I bribe you with croissants for your buglistic knowledge? All suggestions gratefully read! Thanks.
posted by vogel to Media & Arts (13 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Addendum: sorry, when I said "Reveille" I should really have said "Reveille or the Rouse". It ain't neither. I think.
posted by vogel at 8:18 AM on August 17, 2009

Response by poster: PPS I've also tried asking the French military attache in London. I'll update this if I get a reply but it would be quite understandable if they were too busy with important stuff to have time for this!
posted by vogel at 9:02 AM on August 17, 2009

I'm guessing "tattoo." That's the traditional French bugle call. Unfortunately, I'm at work and can't really listen to anything off the internet, so this is a stab in the dark.
posted by Kattullus at 9:27 AM on August 17, 2009

Another possibility is the one about extinguishing the flame. Can't remember the name... Eteignez le feu?

(Yaargh! At home it would take me seconds to find this)
posted by Kattullus at 9:32 AM on August 17, 2009

Hah! Doing some googling trying to figure out if anybody else had wondered about the same thing I came across what I thought would provide definite answer but turned out to be you asking the same question at another web community and not getting an answer.
posted by Kattullus at 9:44 AM on August 17, 2009

Response by poster:
turned out to be you asking the same question at another web community and not getting an answer
Yes, sorry about that. The good news is that I've been assured I'll get a better answer here ... :)
posted by vogel at 9:48 AM on August 17, 2009

Response by poster:
Eteignez le feu?
Thank you for both of those. I will do some checking.
posted by vogel at 9:49 AM on August 17, 2009

Best answer: Yes, it definitely is "Tattoo" being played.

I think that the uniform is that of the Infanterie de Marines.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:00 AM on August 17, 2009

My dad pointed me here, a collection of French bugle calls.
posted by Kattullus at 10:28 AM on August 17, 2009

Best answer: HA! I have found it. Apparently, it's now called "Aux morts", but it is what was called "Tattoo" in English in the 19th century. Both the Anzac "Last Post" and the US "Taps" are based on it.
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:23 AM on August 17, 2009

Yup, Sidhedevil has it.
posted by Kattullus at 12:09 PM on August 17, 2009

Response by poster: Sorry about the slow reply, I've been away. Thank you very much for your help with this. I'm convinced that the piece is "Aux morts" or perhaps (see the Uclue Q linked above) "sonnerie aux morts" and that the player is in the uniform of the French Marines. I'm less convinced about the other stuff regarding Tattoo, Last Post and Taps and the connections between them but I don't want to start a big fight. But there is, for example, enough difference between Last Post (UK and Commonwealth by the way, not just ANZAC) and Taps for me to find it beyond belief that they are based on anything in common, other than the (admittedly somewhat limiting) fact that they're both, er, bugle calls! But thanks again. I now feel that I could potentially obtain the sheet music, which was one of my objectives. Cheers!
posted by vogel at 10:03 AM on August 21, 2009

Response by poster: Some kind and helpful people have also updated the Uclue question about this. Consensus remains that it is Aux Morts. If one day I feel I have totally nailed this - like, I own a copy of the sheet music and have had a long chat in a pub with a French military bugler or trumpet player! - I will report back. Thanks again.
posted by vogel at 12:53 AM on August 26, 2009

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