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Cannon Tribute for Queen's 86th Birthday

Archbishop Inspects the Troops

Thursday 19th April 2012

Her Majesty The Queen’s 86th birthday will be celebrated in York this Saturday (21 April 2012) with a bang. Members of the public are invited to gather in Museum Gardens to watch three 105 mm light field guns be fired on the stroke of noon by soldiers from 101 (Northumbrian) Regiment Royal Artillery (Volunteers), in Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee year.

Brigadier Greville Bibby CBE, Commander of 15 (North East) Brigade and York Garrison, will accompany the Inspecting Officer, the Archbishop of York, as he inspects the saluting troop who is based at Napier Armoury in Gateshead.

The Salute consists of the firing of 21 rounds from three guns at 15-second intervals. The light field guns were brought into service for Royal Salutes in 2008 and have also been used in service in the Falklands and Afghanistan. Speaking ahead of the birthday celebrations, the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu said:

“It’s fantastic that York is hosting this 21 Gun Royal Salute for Her Majesty the Queen to mark her birthday.  I’m looking forward to joining the 101 Regiment for this Royal Salute as the Inspecting Officer. May Almighty God continue to save, defend and plenteously shower His gifts of love on our gracious Sovereign. Happy Birthday to Her Majesty The Queen!”

The royal gun salutes will be fired around the country on Saturday. York is one of 12 saluting stations, and is the only one in England between London and Edinburgh.

  • Her Majesty The Queen's actual birthday is 21 April and is celebrated in private. However, her official birthday is 12 June. The tradition of two birthdays began with King Edward VII, born in November, who decided to celebrate a second birthday in June.
  • The discharge of cannon as a form of salute is almost as old as the artillery itself although Royal Salutes are relatively modern. The first military regulations governing the firing of Salutes were made in 1827 when the Board of Ordnance ordered that 41 guns was the correct Royal Salute when fired from St James's Park or the Tower of London. Later this was extended to include twenty-one gun Royal Salutes to be fired elsewhere and include the Birthday, Accession and Coronation of the Sovereign.
  • The right of a saluting station was granted to York to commemorate the 1900th anniversary of the City in 1971.
  • Music will be played throughout the event by the Yorkshire Regiment Band.


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