Chapter 13. Notes on Funerals

(50.XIII.60. 1-2, 13-15,17)

( 62. 1-3)

120. Ceremony to be observed at a Military Funeral.

The Firing Party.

1. A firing party consisting of one serjeant, one corporal and 12 troopers, will attend to the firing of volleys at the funeral of all officers (below the rank of major-general) and soldiers. The firing party must not be confused with the escort under Queens regulations, 1940, para 991, and the special party under para 994.

A firing party will not attend, as such, on the funeral of officers above the rank of major-general, its place being taken by a leading detachment from the escort.

In marching in slow time arms will be carried at the reverse, in quick time at the trail.

During the march, arms may be changed, but the party will not march at ease.

The Bearer Party

2. This consists of an officer, warrant officer or NCO in charge, and eight bearers, the rank of whom will depend upon the rank or status of the deceased. The commander will see that the flag, head-dress, side arms and wreaths are properly arranged on, and tied to, the coffin to prevent them from falling.

In the case of funerals of senior officers, the coffin should be carried by senior warrant officers or NCOs.

Notes:- (i) Bearers are the personel who carry the coffin and must not be confused with pall-bearers, as laid down for officers in Queen’s Regulations 1940 para 993.

(ii) Wreaths not on the coffin will be carried immediately in the rear of it. Wreaths which cannot be carried on foot will follow the rear escort in a vehicle.

3. In the case of the funeral of a mounted officer or soldier, a charger or suitable horse will be led by a soldier immediately behind the gun carriage or hearse. The jack boots of the deceased will be placed in the stirrups, but reversed, ie., left boot in the right stirrup and heels to the front.

4. Procedure for Firing of Volleys.

At the conclusion of the service, if volleys are to be fired the sergeant will order :-

“Firing party, present – arms”. “Slope – arms”.

“Firing party, volleys with blank cartridges, load”. “Present”.


(Two more volleys will be similarly fired.)


“Order – arms”.

“Fix Bayonets”.

“Slope – arms”.

“Present – arms”.

4. The trumpeter will then sound the Last Post – a short interval – then the Rouse. During the sounding of these calls all troops under arms (except the firing party or detachment) will stand at attention. Officers will remain at the salute during the Last Post and the Rouse.

5. The firing party or detachment will slope arms, the command being given immediately after the sounding of the Rouse has ceased.

121. Procedure for carrying the coffin.

1. The coffin will always be carried feet end foremost and normally the bearers will work on the word of command of the officer, warrant officer or NCO in charge of the bearer party. Words of command will be given in a quiet tone, eg., “Prepare to lift – lift”. “Slow march”. “Halt”. “Prepare to lower – lower”. These movements cannot be controlled by a signal and should always be ordered by a word of command.

2. When in the lift position the bearer party should be evenly spaced four on each side of the coffin, their arms crossed and around each others shoulders, the coffin resting on the shoulder with the face close to the side of the coffin itself. The headdress of the bearers will be carried by an NCO or by drummers to be specially detailed. The bearers will step off with the inside foot to avoid undue rocking of the coffin.

3. The NCO in charge of the bearer party will march two paces in the rear and in the centre of the bearer party.