Town could be given Royal honour

AN Essex town could be given the go-ahead to fire Royal Gun Salutes - becoming one of a handful of locations nationally to hold the honour.The Ministry of Defence is looking to transfer the Aldershot saluting station to Colchester and has asked for borough council permission before seeking approval from the Queen.

AN Essex town could be given the go-ahead to fire Royal Gun Salutes - becoming one of a handful of locations nationally to hold the honour.

The Ministry of Defence is looking to transfer the Aldershot saluting station to Colchester and has asked for borough council permission before seeking approval from the Queen.

Saluting stations fire Royal Gun Salutes on specific occasions, such as the birthdays of the Queen and senior members of her family, and major state events, for example Royal weddings and funerals.

If agreed by the council and the Queen, 7 PARA Royal Horse Artillery, which is part of 16 Air Assault Brigade, will become the designated saluting unit for the town and will take on the responsibility for firing the guns using blank ammunition.


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Adrian Pritchard, chief executive of Colchester Borough Council, has called on the cabinet - the decision-making body at the authority - to back plans to put the town forward as a saluting station for Her Majesty's approval.

Leader of the council John Jowers said the choice of Colchester as a prospective saluting station was a “real honour”.

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He said: “I am very proud, it is a real honour. We are a premier military town and this is really good news and it would bring us recognition. I think most people in the town will really welcome this.”

Where the field guns would be positioned in the town is still to be determined. It can only be decided once the proposal is given Royal approval, but it is thought the location of the guns would be chosen by John Jowers, leader of the council, and the Garrison Commander Tony Barton.

In his report to the council's cabinet, Mr Pritchard said while the blank ammunition used by the guns did not pose a health and safety risk to the public, consideration would need to be given to the noise impact of the guns on anybody living or working nearby.

Mr Jowers said he believed the guns would be based within the garrison complex adding: “It is one of those things we would have to think about.”

Outside of London, which boasts a number of saluting stations, military saluting stations are also based in Edinburgh Castle, Cardiff and Hillsborough Castle in Northern Ireland.

The number of rounds fired in a Royal Salute depends on the occasion but the basic salute is 21.

laurence.cawleyl@eadt.co.uk

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