Military Veteran Funeral Procedures
APPENDIX A to Funeral guideline
PROCEDURES BY PALL BEARERS
(Based on Ceremonial Guidelines Handbook of the SANDF)
- Procedures Before and During the Service at the Church. The following procedure is followed:
- Prior to the commencement of the service, the undertaker will take the coffin to the church. The pallbearers, lead by the person in charge, will carry the coffin to a place previously indicated by the officiating chaplain/minister in accordance with the regulations of the local clerical authority. (Usually in front of the pulpit or in the vestibule). They then assume their position to the right of the pulpit as seen from the pulpit, in the front row on reserved seats. Positions will be taken up in the order in which they will carry the coffin, thus enabling them to move directly into the correct positions at the coffin when their names are read out at the conclusion of the service. The pallbearers will be seated on their reserved seats, in the church, before the service commences, in the sequence in which they will take up their positions in front of the pulpit, at the conclusion of the service.
- Procedure of the Conclusion of the Service Inside the Church
- At the conclusion of the service, the names of the pallbearers will be read out by the officiating chaplain or minister. The pallbearers should remain seated while their names are being read. When the name of the last member is read, the bearers and pallbearers will take up their positions in front of the pulpit.
- When the members are in position the officiating chaplain or minister will leave the pulpit and will move down the aisle towards the vestibule, if the coffin has been placed there, followed by the bearers and pallbearers. If the coffin has been placed in front of the pulpit, the bearers will take up their positions around the coffin. The bearers will lift the coffin by the handles. The coffin will be carried out of the church building, foot end foremost, by the bearers with the pallbearers behind the coffin in slow time with the officiating chaplain or minister leading. The coffin may also be placed on the trolley and pushed to the vestibule. The pallbearers will follow the coffin out of the church and replace their caps, as soon as they are out of the church.
- Procedure at the Graveside
- As soon as the pallbearers reach the grave, the ranks pass the grave on both sides and halt on the order.
“PALLBEARERS – HALT”
When the coffin is opposite the grave, the veteran in charge of the pallbearers orders
“PALLBEARERS, INWARDS – TURN”
The pallbearers will now place the coffin on the straps over the grave. The veteran in charge then orders:
- The pallbearer on the right side at the head of the coffin will remove the folded association flag and hand it to the veteran in charge.
- Thereafter the order will be given:
“PALLBEARERS – SALUTE”
And on conclusion of the salute
“LEFT AND RIGHT –TURN”
“QUICK – MARCH”
The pallbearers will turn to the foot of the grave.
The pallbearers will withdraw and fall out. They will not again pay their last respects individually when the other veteran mourners pay their last respects
Note: If practical, the pallbearers should be rehearsed before the funeral.