CROWDS gathered across Portsmouth Harbour yesterday in celebration of the Queen’s 90th birthday, writes David George.
With festivities taking place up and down the country, Portsmouth marked the event in typical fashion, with the Royal Navy’s 21-gun salute from Fort Blockhouse in Gosport.
The task of firing the 19th century portable gun fell to four specialist gunnery instructors from HMS Collingwood at Fareham.
Commanding officer at HMS Collingwood Captain Andy Jordan said it was a proud day for his team.
‘HMS Collingwood was delighted to be able to provide the personnel for both the preparation and firing of the saluting guns as part of the celebrations for Her Majesty’s 90th birthday,’ he said.
People gathered on yachts, ferries and the Spinnaker Tower to catch a glimpse of the spectacle.
Great plumes of white smoke erupted as the salute blasted at noon.
The custom dates back to the early days of sail when ships visiting foreign ports would discharge their cannon before entering, proving they were empty and that the visit was peaceful.
Elsewhere in the city, the navy decked its ships in the naval base with flags to mark the monarch’s birthday, while in the evening, Southsea’s D-Day Museum hosted a coffee event for visitors aged 90.