"A military tattoo is a military drum performance. It dates from the seventeenth century when the British Army was fighting in the Low Countries (Belgium and The Netherlands). Drummers from the garrison were sent out into the towns at 21:30 hrs (9:30PM) each evening to inform the soldiers that it was time to return to barracks. The process was known as Doe den tap toe and encouraged the innkeepers to "turn off the taps", stop serving beer and send the soldiers home for the night. The drummers continued to play until the curfew at 22:00 hrs (10:00PM)."
Often much more colourful and always much more musical than a mutilated human epidermis.
Thanks Renaldo and Mickey. Continuing from Mickey, today it's often performed in public places, with bands marching and countermarching to a selection of music, and concluding with buglers and lowering the flag.
Post by John Parry on Oct 10, 2008 19:14:52 GMT -5
Probably the best starting point is that the armed forces demonstrate to the public that they are getting their money's worth. There is also a very strong bonding element between the soldiers, aircraftmen\women and sailors involved, and the watching people (and in the case of the Edinburgh Tattoo, everybody in the country).
Hard to put it into words. It's a bit special. A UK thing...
Post by John Parry on Oct 11, 2008 10:37:08 GMT -5
When I said it was hard to explain I was thinking of the Field Gun Competition, which has been cancelled at Edinburgh because of all the lost fingers and broken limbs. The Naval Divisions were furious, because that's what they do on a daily basis, but point taken Mickey - Sorry!
The Edinburgh Tattoo mentioned by John is a special version, demonstrations of various themes by units of all the armed forces lasting a couple of hours. Then the show ends with the traditional musical tattoo with all the bands that have taken part during the evening.
The Field Gun Competition mentioned by Joh involves running with the disassembled pieces of a field gun to another place and putting it together again. As he said, this is something the navy has always done. Heres a postcard of the boys of HMS Impregnable (the training school for boy entrants) doing just that towards the end of the 19th c. They've just finished:
This is the sort of thing my Cornish grandfather did when he joined as a boy in 1883.
Post by John Parry on Oct 15, 2008 21:02:51 GMT -5
Here's a video of the Portsmouth crew in training (you have to wait for the advert to finish). They also used to do it at the Royal Tournament, which has been scrapped (probably because all our military is overseas !)