WITH a loud bang, the Sexton gun announced the launch of this year’s Fort Nelson Tattoo.
The spectacular event will bring the full pomp and ceremony of the armed forces to the Victorian fort on Portsdown Hill, near Fareham, on September 8.
It is the first such event held at the fort for several years – the last one in 2008 had to be cancelled because of poor weather.
And it will be the first since its £3.5m redevelopment was completed.
After opening with explosive gun firings from the fort’s own guns there will be rousing military bands, historic re-enactments and breath-taking displays.
Profits from the day will be shared by a trio of armed forces charities, ABF The Soldiers’ Charity, The Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity and the RAF Benevolent Fund.
A highlight of the matinee performance will be an historic flypast as a C-47 Dakota transport plane takes to the skies in a Battle of Britain memorial flight.
And in the evening, the Royal Armouries will light up the darkness with a dramatic fireworks display.
Event producer Roger Sheppard said: ‘We’ve tried our best to make it a mixed programme so there’s something for everyone.
‘The work they’ve done on the museum is absolutely stunning, the new gallery is fantastic.
‘We’re excited to come into such a great venue in a great location and hopefully we can do it justice.’
Both performances will feature a stirring finale, featuring the massed bands, pipes and drums and the entire cast of the Fort Nelson Tattoo.
Acts include the Band of the Parachute Regiment, Rose and Thistle Pipe Band, HMS Sultan Volunteer Band, British Youth Corps of Drums, Solent Overlord Executive Military Collectors’ Club, Screaming Eagles Living History Group and Colonel Robert Hammond’s Regiment of Foote, Sealed Knot.
Museum director Peter Armstrong said: ‘Where better to enjoy all the might and majesty of a tattoo than Fort Nelson?
‘This incredible monument to Victorian defence has a proud tradition of staging memorable tattoos and we’re rolling out our big guns to ensure this is the most spectacular to date.’
There will be a matinee and evening performance. Tickets are on sale now and each performance lasts about two hours. Grandstand prices range from £18 per adult.
A family ticket for the picnic area, for two adults and up to three concessions, including registered disabled, plus serving members of the armed Forces, costs from £46.
For full details and more prices, visit fortnelsontattoo.co.uk or call 0113 220 1887.