Reversed arms

The tradition of reversing and resting on arms – that is, leaning on a weapon held upside down – has been a mark of respect or mourning for centuries, said to have originated with the ancient Greeks. Descriptions of sixteenth-century military funerals provide the earliest documented instances of carrying arms reversed in more recent times. Although Australian soldiers still rest on arms as a mark of respect for the dead, the short Steyr rifle, the present Australian service rifle, is difficult to carry reversed.

Catafalque party in the Tomb of the Unknown Australian Soldier

Personnel from the Australian Federation Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Australian Soldier during the ceremony marking the dedication of soil to the new Flanders Memorial Garden, 3 April 2017.