THE sound of trumpets playing Auld Lang Syne resounded throughout Portsmouth Historic Dockyard as sailors bade farewell to the naval officer responsible for Lord Nelson’s flagship.
Members of The Royal Marines School of Music performed as the red and white flag of the Royal Navy’s Second Sea Lord Vice Admiral Charles Montgomery was taken down from one of HMS Victory’s masts.
The act was part of a private ceremony which saw Sir Charles step down from his duties.
Sir Charles, who is retiring from the navy after 37 years of service, was then handed the flag and new recruits at HMS Collingwood saluted and marched as he walked off the ship and left the naval base.
Sir Charles steps down from his duties with HMS Victory after two and a half years.
During the ceremony the Union Jack of the navy’s First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope was hoisted up a mast because he will now take over the running of the historic ship.
He will be helped in his duties by the navy’s new Second Sea Lord, Vice Admiral David Steel, who was unveiled prior to the ceremony.
He has moved to Portsmouth Naval Base after working in London.
This is the first time a First Sea Lord has had responsibility of HMS Victory as part of a recent reshuffle of defence duties.
Vice Admiral Steel said: ‘I’m stepping into quite a similar role because I was the deputy to the Second Sea Lord for quite some time.
‘I’ve obtained good knowledge of Portsmouth because I was naval commander here between 2005 and 2008.
‘I have a great love for this city.’
Admiral Stanhope said: ‘It is a great honour for me to hoist the flag of the First Sea Lord in HMS Victory.
‘It also reflects the increased role that the First Sea Lord now plays in the running of the Royal Navy from the headquarters in Portsmouth.’
Petty Officer Lee Gofford, 32, from Cosham, Portsmouth, added: ‘Being in charge of HMS Victory is something that a lot of officers work towards in their careers because of its history.’