4 RIFLES Sounding Retreat

RIFLES Sound A Fond Farewell to Wiltshire

4th Battalion The Rifles hosted a moving musical Sounding Retreat parade at Ward Barracks in Bulford at sunset on Thursday 11th June 2015.


The Battalion, who has been living and working in Bulford for almost 10 years, will move to Aldershot in Hampshire over the next three weeks and the special ceremony was held to thank the community leaders of the South Wiltshire region for their service and hospitality during the Battalion’s time as part of the community.

The Sounding the Retreat or Beating the Retreat are ancient military customs where either a bugle call, or roll of drums, heard at sunset would signify to garrisons, billets or skirmishers that the day’s activities were over and the evening guard ‘Watch’ was to be set. Not to be confused with the act of ‘Retreating’ on the battlefield, the word used here comes from the French ‘Retraite’ meaning to retire to bed.

The Retreat featured The Band and Bugles of The Rifles, who played several pieces from the reflective to the traditional in which they marched at the break neck speed of 140 paces per minute for which the Rifles are famous and get their Regimental motto ‘Swift and Bold’.

The salute was taken by the Deputy Lieutenant of Wiltshire, Sir Jack Deverell KCB OBE and the Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel ‘Chuckles’ Boswell.


Reflecting on The Rifle’s time in Bulford, Lieutenant Colonel Boswell said:

“This event signifies the beginning of the end of our time here in Bulford. We have been here for a grand total of nine years and we are moving to Aldershot as part of the Army restructuring.

“It has been wonderful the way in which we have been received here, the way our children have been allowed into the schools and our families have been taken under the wing of the community. It has been brilliant, really superb. We are sad to leave behind some great friends and some really fond memories.”


Those receiving the thanks of the Battalion were The Right Worshipful Mayor of the City of Salisbury, Councillor Mr Andrew Roberts and Jane Scott OBE, Leader of Wiltshire County Council. Other distinguished members of the community also attended.

This event also reflected on the achievements of the Battalion during its time in Bulford, notably including operational tours in Iraq (2007) and Afghanistan (2009 and 2013). 01_DSC_20374Rsounding-retreat-comprssed