EXPLOSIVE gunfire will ring out tomorrow in celebration of 61 years of the Queen’s accession.
The anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s accession to the throne will be marked with a 21-gun salute from a 19th century portable gun at Fort Blockhouse in Haslar Road, Gosport.
Positioned at the entrance to Portsmouth Harbour, the gun will be heard for miles around in both Gosport and Portsmouth.
It will be fired at midday by four specialist gunnery instructors from HMS Collingwood in Fareham.
And the ships alongside Portsmouth Naval Base will be dressed with flags across their lengths.
Commander David Hilton, base services manager at Portsmouth Naval Base, said: ‘It is tradition for the Royal Navy to mark important anniversaries of the Royal Family in this way.
‘Also in keeping with tradition, the ships alongside in the Naval Base will be “dressed overall” with colourful flags stretching the entire length of the ship.’
Queen Elizabeth II acceded to the throne on February 6 1952 after King George VI died in his sleep at Sandringham Palace. The then princess was on a tour in Kenya when the news of her father’s death reached her.
Aged 25 she was proclaimed as Queen and Head of the Commonwealth and Defender of the Faith.
Following the death of the preceding monarch, the accession is automatic and does not need a ceremony but is proclaimed throughout England and further afield.
Although the accession was in February 1952, the Coronation ceremony was not until June 1953.
The gun salute at Fort Blockhouse comes after a year that saw the Diamond Jubilee celebrated across the country and beyond, marking 60 years of the Queen’s reign in Great Britain and its dominions.
Navy gun salutes date back to when ships in foreign ports would fire their guns to discharge them to show that were then empty and their visit was a peaceful one.
The gun at Fort Blockhouse has been used for firing salutes since the Royal Navy acquired it in 1957. The guns were also fired last year.