Reveille or Rouse

Since Roman times, bugles or horns have been used as signals to command soldiers on the battlefield and to regulate a soldiers' days in barracks.

The custom of waking soldiers to a bugle call dates back to the Roman Legions when the rank and file were raised by horns playing Diana’s Hymn. To this day the French term for Reveille is ‘La Diana’.

When bugle calls were officially introduced into the British System by King George III, a special call was written for the waking of troops. This was known as Reveille meaning ‘to wake again’, from the old French. Joseph Hayden is generally regarded as the composer of the calls which exist substantially unchanged today.

The Reveille was a bright, cheerful call to rouse soldiers from their slumber ready for duty. The call has also been adopted to conclude funeral services and remembrance services. It symbolises an awakening in a better world for the dead and ‘rouses’ the living—their respects paid to the memory of their comrades—back to duty. The Rouse is a shorter bugle call, which as its name suggests, was also used to call soldiers to their duties. Due to its much shorter length, the Rouse is most commonly used in conjunction with the Last Post at remembrance services. The exception is the Dawn Service, when the Reveille is played.

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 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:

  • Reveille—ANZAC Day Dawn Service
  • Rouse—ANZAC Day services, Remembrance Day services and at other time of the day

The Last Post is a trumpet or bugle call which was sounded each night at the end of the officer of the guard completing his rounds to check that the garrison was secure and the sentries were at their posts. It also served to inform soldiers that they should be in their quarters for the night. It is also sounded at military funerals and commemorative services to symbolise that the duty of the dead is over and they can rest in peace.

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.

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