Burial Service and The ODE

Burial Service


The Burial Service Ritual, normally referred to as a “POPPY SERVICE”, has been approved by the Queensland Division Executive for use, where desired by the relatives, at the funeral of a RAAF Association member or any other ex-ADF member.  Remember, it is up to you, the member, to inform your relatives, the funeral director or leave it in your Will that you desire a “Poppy” Funeral Service.

Its use is to be approved, on each occasion, by the State President or a Branch President and the Ritual will be conducted by the approving President or an Association member nominated by the President. The Officiating Officer will act as Leader of the party of Association members present at the service and will act in liaison between the relatives, the Clergyman and the Association Party.  Normally the casket will be covered by the Australian Flag, but where desired by relatives, and if enough notice is provided, the Officiating Officer may arrange for an Association flag to be used.  Where the deceased is a former member of the RAAF the RAAF Ensign may be used in lieu of the Australian Flag.

Where a Service is held in a Church or Chapel the Association party will leave it in sufficient time to form a guard for the casket from the door to the hearse.

At the cemetery or crematorium, the Association Party will keep together. The Association Burial Ritual will be said by the Officiating Officer, by arrangement with the relatives and the clergyman, during the committal at the grave or at the crematorium. There, the Officiating Officer, standing near the clergyman, will say:

“We of the Royal Australian Air Force Association are here today to mourn the passing of our comrade (………………..), to join in sympathy with his/her family and to show our gratitude for his/her life.”

If no other eulogy is given say the following:

(………………..) was born at: ( here follows a summary of the deceased’s life.)

“Particularly we, his/her fellow members of the RAAF Association, remember his/her time with us in service of his/her country and in the RAAF Association.” (here follows a summary of the deceased’s service, decorations etc. and of his/her Association membership).

“(…………………..) has now gone before us to join the great company of his/her and our service comrades who have passed before us. For that company, of which (………………) is now one, we say:
Hallowed in Christ be the memory of brave men and women who have died for the freedom of the World. They shall stand before the Throne, an exceeding great array. And in the vast throng shall be found our own well-beloved.

They went with songs to the battle,
They were young, straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow,

They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.”

All present will then say: “We will remember them”.

The Officiating Officer should continue

“The service of (………………..)’s life is over and the hour has come to rest. We place this poppy in

remembrance and observe a minutes silence in his/her memory”.

After all ex-service personnel have placed poppies the Officiating Officer will ask those present to stand at attention with bowed heads for one minute, concluding with the words

“Lest we Forget”.

If a bugler is present, the Last Post will then be played and at the conclusion, the Association Party will file past the grave. It is envisaged that the bugler will be used only at the special request of the relatives.

The Association Party will wear Association badges, medals and appropriate clothing.
Same service for Burial & Cremation.

RAAF Ensign

Most Queensland Division branches have a RAAF Ensign specifically for use in burial services of former RAAF members. Where a Division member is not a former member of the RAAF, an Australian National flag may be used to drape the coffin. Please contact the relevant Branch Secretary for details.

Song of the Australian Flying Corps

Sourced from the National Library Archives – Digital Collection

Oh, We are the boys of the Flying Corps, Australia’s land we defend.
Our planes fly over land and sea, and the war we’ll fight to the end.

We’ve got good planes and pilots too, who chase the Taube through the blue.

The planes that fly across the sky to defend our country and King.
are built as true as man can do in engine, chassis or wing.

But though they often win unharmed they sometimes tumble beneath
the foe: so

We’ll be there to keep in repair our fine British aeroplanes too.
We’ll be there to do our share and patch and mend and blow.
Over the land and over the sea,
bombing the Boche and watching him flee,
Hey! Archibald shoot a bit higher you!
Fritz have a banana?
Send up your Taubes to Tommy and me.
Come along, Cooee!

The Ode

This compelling verse, which became the Ode of Remembrance in common usage across the Commonwealth, has been used in association with commemoration services since 1921:

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.

( Audience responds) We will remember them.


RAAFA Burial Service PDF

RAAFA Burial Service PDF, this PDF document is provided for members that may be tasked with an official position and require some guidance.

Click on this link for the document PDF:  raafa_burial-service.pdf