Colchester allowed to give royal salute

COLCHESTER is to be the only place in East Anglia - and the only town in the country - allowed to officially honour the Queen's birthday with a 21-gun salute.

COLCHESTER is to be the only place in East Anglia - and the only town in the country - allowed to officially honour the Queen's birthday with a 21-gun salute.

The privilege comes after the Garrison town was chosen to be one of the UK's royal saluting stations, which allows artillery based there to fire a 21-gun salute to mark official royal occasions.

There are only ten other such stations in the UK and they are all in major cities, including London, Edinburgh and York.

The first Colchester royal salute will be on the Queen's 80th birthday on April 21 when a battery of six guns from 7th Parachute Regiment, Royal Horse Artillery, will fire at noon from Abbey Field.


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The guns used will be 105 mm light guns, which have seen action on operations such as Iraq in 2003.

Colonel Tony Barton, the Garrison Commander said: “This is a tremendous honour for the Garrison and the people of Colchester.

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“All the other saluting stations are cities, and the conferring of saluting station status on Colchester acknowledges the growth in prestige of the town with its' unique and valued military community.”

Several dignitaries have been invited to attend, including Lord Petre, the Lord Lieutenant of Essex, as the Queen's representative in the county, and the band of the parachute regiment will also perform.

Colchester has been given the honour as the previous saluting station of Aldershot no longer has artillery stationed there.

Colchester Borough Council gave its endorsement to the Army's proposal to move the saluting station to the town last year.

However, the final decision was down to the Queen, and it has now been granted the status.

Brigadier Ed Butler, Commander of 16 Air Assault Brigade, said: “It is a great privilege and honour for 16 Air Assault Brigade and Colchester Garrison to be given the status of a Royal Saluting Station.

“This will be a very special day for Colchester town, the Garrison and 16 Air Assault Brigade - more poignant as members of the brigade and a battery from 7 Para RHA will already be deployed in Afghanistan.”

james.hore@eadt.co.uk

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