Naval Burial Party Photograph

Unusually, this week’s photograph takes us to the post war period and depicts a naval pall bearer party, somewhere in the tropics. The ratings are bare headed and six pall bearers carry a flag covered coffin on their shoulders:

The men are dressed in white tropical uniform trousers, with the white flannel shirt and a whitened 1937 pattern belt, indicating this is post war in date as this item did not see widespread use with the RN until the latter half of the Second World War. They still wear the high leggings, rather than the shorter anklets and it would be many decades until this pattern had been completely superseded:

The funeral is clearly of some import, as a military band is present and a tuba player can be seen to the left of the shot:

Military funerals in peacetime were always well attended affairs. A solider or sailor would have had his group of friends in the unit who wanted to pay their respects and give him a good send off. It was important for morale that men were given space to grieve a friend and show their respect to him in death, it was also important that they felt that if they too were to lose their life, the military respected them enough to ensure they received a Christian burial and some sort of marker with their name and details upon it so they would not be forgotten.

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