Last Post Association

Last Post Association

The Last Post Association was formed in 1928. The Last Post had been played at the inauguration of the Menin Gate in 1927 - ten years after the Battle of Passchendaele (or Third Battle of Ypres) - in order to commemorate those who had died in battle but had no known grave.

As a result of the brutal and bloody battles - including Passchendaele -  that took place across the Ypres Salient between the start and the end of the war, more than 250,000 British and Commonwealth troops died in the region during World War One.

In order to honour these men, the Last Post has been played at the Menin Gate at 20:00 every night since 1928, when the association was formed. The only exception was during World War Two when the Nazis occupied Ypres and banned the ceremony. However, it continued to take place at Brookwood Military Cemetery in Surrey, England until the German occupiers were finally forced out of Ypres by Polish troops on 6th September 1944. The Last Post was then played once more, despite the fact that fighting continued on the outskirts of the town.

The Menin Gate

The Menin Gate was built where the old gate on the Menin Road had existed during World War One, marking the place where tens of thousands of soldiers marched through a gap in the town’s ramparts to the battlegrounds on the Western Front.

The Menin Gate inauguration ceremony - held on 24th July 1927 - was held where the buglers of the Somerset Light Infantry sounded the ‘Last Post’. To ensure that the memorial continued to be a place of living remembrance where the lives were saluted each day, the chief of police in Ypres decreed that the Last Post should be played every evening.

In 1928, a committee was set up to make this vision a reality, and the chief of the local fire brigade promised that they would provide buglers for the ceremony, which they still do to this day.

Each night outside the Menin Gate, the Last Post Association gather with at least two buglers. Although this ceremony has now taken place more than 30,000 times, it has been estimated by the Last Post Association the if one playing of the Last Post each night represented one soldier who died at the Ypres Salient, it would take until 2610 for everyone to be commemorated.

MLA Citation/Reference

"Last Post Association". HistoryLearning.com. 2019. Web.