Earlier today I was one of the many,waiting for HMS Diamond to kick off the Jubilee weekend. I joined the crowds all along the “hot walls” although I was stood on the beach. They may be called the “hot walls” but the weather had other ideas, being rather overcast. Nevertheless, there were quite a few folks down to watch and listen to HMS Diamond give and receive the salute. Meridian TV had their cameras on the Round Tower and Sky TV had their helicopter hovering over the harbour entrance. At some point I could hear bagpipes but never once did I see the source.
At this time Diamond was stationary, way over towards the Isle of Wight, while ferries and yachts hustled in and out of the harbour before all shipping movements were stopped. These two patrol craft came out to meet and escort Diamond in.
A number of tugs came out of the harbour, moved along parallel to the shore before turning about and coming to rest just off shore from where I was standing. These modern tugs can virtually turn on the spot and for a few minutes they pirouetted, performing a maritime ballet.
Eventually, the moment we had all been waiting for arrived. HMS Diamond made her way towards the harbour. The two patrol craft providing an escort. Two of the tugs also lined up, ready to salute HMS Diamond who had started her salute. In this photo you can just see the smoke created as she fired a broadside. I was rather hoping she was going to fire the 4.5″ gun on the bows but you can’t have everything.
Diamonds salute was answered by several shots fired by the folks at HMS Dolphin (Fort Blockhouse). That gun makes one hell of a bang and you can feel the shock wave as it hits you on its way across the water then again as it bounces off the “hot walls”. Once again the only visible indication is the smoke created by the firing.
As Diamond closed on the harbour entrance the tugs provided a salute of their own by creating water cascades.
As she was entering the narrows between the Round Tower and HMS Dolphin, a flight of helicopters in “diamond” formation overflew HMS Diamond along with an RAF Typhoon.
And finally the crew of HMS Diamond gave a rousing cheer easily heard by the watching crowds.
The end of the spectacle but a fitting start to the Queens Jubilee weekend.