Gun salute marks 60 years of the Queen on the throne

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A 21-GUN salute was fired today to mark the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation.

The saluting gun at Fort Blockhouse, in Gosport – at the entrance to Portsmouth Harbour – was fired at midday by four specialist gunnery instructors from HMS Collingwood in Fareham.

CELEBRATION The saluting gun at Fort Blockhouse

CELEBRATION The saluting gun at Fort Blockhouse

Although the coronation took place on June 2, 1953, this year’s anniversary fell on a Sunday, so the firing has been delayed 24 hours.

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.’

There will be similar gun salutes on June 10 to mark the Duke of Edinburgh’s birthday, and June 15 for the Queen’s official birthday.

The custom of navy gun salutes dates back to the early days of sail when ships visiting foreign ports would discharge their guns before entering, proving they were empty and that the visit was peaceful.

The portable 19th century gun at Fort Blockhouse has been firing salutes since it was acquired by the navy in 1957.