The Military Funeral: In the time of King Henry VIII bands were not on establishment, but every body of fighting men boasted a party of "Drummers". King Henry directed that these instruments should be employed in funeral ceremonies for high ranking officers.
The coffin or cask was carried to the place of burial on a wagon normally used to move the heavy cannon of the period, because of the size and weight, and drawn by draught horses. The pace was scarcely above a crawl.
Behind the wagon marched a party of "Drummers" playing what was then called 'Dede Sounde' to a pace beat in keeping with the extremely slow rate of progress, of the wagon ahead.
Thus was born the 'Slow March' and 'Dead March' of the present time. Even over time as speedier vehicles were introduced, the original slow step was retained as more befitting the dignity of the occasion.
Next series,number 3 will cover, 'Symbolism at Funerals'.
Tea Gardens Bill WO1 P/D ceremonial (ret)