Military Funerals

Discussion in 'Seniors' started by gizmodnd, Feb 13, 2005.

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  1. Not the kind of topic i enjoy, It's Just that my father in law is running the funerals for the Royal Marines Ass. And as he left the Marines more than 20 years ago as a WO2 he cannot remember the correct precedure for the postioning of a coffin in a church or crematorium, ie Does the coffin face the congregation or does it face away. I know that when a coffin comes off a herc or out of a hurse it is always feet first, It is the postioning thats got me stumped.

    I'am sure there must be some Guardsmen out there who can enlighten me on the subject.

    Thanks GIZ.
  2. Not a pleasant subject I know, But its the relatives not the deceased who benefit from a well run service.

    While this does not seem to be written down anywhere here is a basic outline:

    As you say the coffin travels head first in the hearse or aircraft.

    It comes out feet first, and has to be turned to transfer to another vehicle,

    Same as when entering a Church or Crematorium.

    In a Christian Church the coffin is normally placed with the head facing the Alter
    (In a non-christian service or crematorium its best to check as the coffin sometimes points in a different direction)

    On Internment the coffin is again placed headfirst to the headstone.

    So the general rule of thumb is 'Always Headfirst'

    Its always best to check at each location that space is provided to turn the coffin, it almost always is...

    Points to note:

    1. There is no legal requirement to have any kind of funeral ceremony at all

    2. There are no legal statutes governing what form any ceremony should take

    3. You are not required to use a clergyman

    4. The funeral service does not have to be in a licensed building - it can be held in a home (unless you want an Anglican service in England)

    Not all services will be Christian - Here is a good reference site:
  3. Purple_Flash

    Purple_Flash LE Moderator

    Actually the coffin is placed feet towards the altar, so that, if placed on his feet, the deceased will be facing East, i.e. towards Jerusalem and the rising sun as a metaphor for the resurrection of the dead. The only exceptions who are placed feet towards congregation are clergy so that they would, if standing, face their congregation.
  4. Thanks Mike, That's what i thought,It is attention to detail that makes a big difference on days like that.

    Cheers GIZ.
  5. Pardon me for being a little bit dumb, Does that mean that all churches are facing east :?:
  6. Cutaway

    Cutaway LE Reviewer

    I think PF is the voice of authority here.

    Going against his suggestion could lead to him having a chat with his Sunray Major.
    And He won't just give you Show Parade...... 8O
  7. I would phone a local church or undertaker and clarify the matter to your satisfaction.
  8. Purple_Flash

    Purple_Flash LE Moderator

    Almost always; the old ones certainly unless built so close to something that they could not orientated that way... a little tip for your next map reading exercise!
  9. Thanks, Flash I'll bear that in mind.