Beating of the Retreat Ceremonies

Date

End of May through end of October, once or twice a month (none in August) on a Monday or Wednesday evening starting at 2100 hours.

Location

Hamilton, Dockyard and St George

Summary

Funded by the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs and the Bermuda Department of Tourism, the Bermuda Regiment Band and Corps of Drums and Bermuda Islands Pipe Band Perform a Beating of the Retreat Ceremony.  On occasion visiting band will also participate.

The Beating of the Retreat Ceremony, in its earliest form, was simply a drummers’ call.  The Drum Major and his men would march around the camp or city streets playing drum taps to warn soldiers that it was time to return to their billets, put out their fires and go to bed.  This performance was known as the retreat and many regretted that they did not heed the drummers’ call.

Eventually, a pipe time was added to the drummers’ calls and a more elaborate ceremony emerged.  Later on, bugle calls were added and the parade evolved into the present day Beating of the Retreat Ceremony. 

The massed bands march on, perform separately and then re-mass for the evening hymn and the playing of Sunset, at which the flags are lowered signaling the end of the day.  The bands then march past the guest of honour - His Excellency the Governor, the Honourable Premier, Worshipful Mayors, et al