ROYAL Navy sailors celebrated the 65th anniversary of the Queen’s accession to the throne with a bang today – 21 of them to be precise
The Senior Service blasted a 21-gun salute from Portsmouth to mark the monarch’s record-breaking milestone.
The Queen made history by becoming the first British royal to reach the sapphire jubilee after her 65-year reign.
She acceded to the throne following the death of her father, George VI, on February 6, 1952.
Manning the guns at South Railway Jetty, overlooking the entrance to Portsmouth Harbour, was a specialist team led by Warrant Officer 1 Lee Hendricks.
Together with six of his staff, they fired off the 21-gun salute to the delight of members of the public who had gathered on the deck of HMS Warrior in the nearby Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.
‘This was my first time firing the guns for a Royal Salute,’ said Able Seaman Gunner Carl Murray, from HMS Collingwood’s close range section.
‘It’s a very proud moment for me to be part of this historic occasion and I will remember it for a long time to come.’
The custom of Royal 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 last salute to take place in Portsmouth was to mark the Queen’s 64th anniversary of coming to power.
Gun salutes were also fired in London.