Beating Retreat

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by smartarse, Jun 28, 2009.

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  1. Back in 1983, when I was a baby Tiff at Raleigh, we were rounded up and marched to the parade ground with every other recruit on the base to watch the RM Band "Beat Retreat". What we saw was about a dozen drummers put on an incredible, moving display. There were no other instruments, just the drums. They would begin with all the drummers beating a fancy rhthym then, one-by-one, it reduced down to a solitary drummer who played on by himself for about a minute. Then, one-by-one the other drummers joined in again building to a tremendous crescendo. I'm not doing it justice with words, it was incredibly emotional. Afterwards we all agreed it had put a lump in our throats and made our chests swell with pride.

    In the years since, I've seen a few "Beating Retreats", but they've never been the same. I've seen it done with the pipes and with brass instruments and flutes but none of the performances matched what I saw back in 83.

    My question is, what is a real "Beating Retreat"?
  2. Anyone come across the much rarer 'Beating of Credits'?

    (no, it's not a myth, it's an actual ceremony; when its done it's normally by an infantry regiment)
  3. Beating the Monkey anybody?
  4. Here, halfway down the page;

    Beating The Credits
  5. Haha, thats interesting and rather smelly. I hadn't twigged what was meant by 'credit' until I read that.
  6. I used to think that Beating the Credits was signing the Char Wallah's chit as 303 Pte Enfield, Lee
    or as 007 Rfn Bond, James :)
  7. A time when the crows in the garrison would no doubt be either groaning with the publicans or chortling with the older hands...
  8. When is the Beating of the Recruits?
  9. I've always understood it to be the "Crying Down the Credits", and convention had it that if they didn't get their accounts in before departure they wouldn't be met (whether now or later). The tune is "The General", which appears in Drum & Fife Manuals as early as 1815, the earliest copy I've seen is the 1910 version.

    And for the questioner - yes, Beating Retreat is a Corps of Drums thing. As things stand the booties have buglers beating drums, which is not quite the same thing. Sucjh flash thingies that you speak of are often known as Victory Beatings, but I know not why or when this started.

    Some background from the RM historian here. An interesting site generally
  10. Beating the Retreat was the traditional return to barracks at the end of the day. Royal Marines performed a great one on Horseguards on 11th June