Friday, November 15, 2013

Royal Salute

Commander Kelly + Royal Horse Artillery
Photo Courtesy: Tim Lyons
London offers many unique sights, sounds and experiences.  Where else can you find a troop of Royal Horse Artillery to celebrate life's special moments?  The King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery may have moved out of Saint John's Wood last year and are headquartered now in Woolwich, but they remain very active in celebrating special events such as the Queen's birthday with a whiff of grapeshot.  Yesterday (November 14th, 2013) some friends and I attended the Royal Salute to the Prince of Wales' birthday.  Forty-one shots were discharged -- twenty-one for the birthday and twenty for the Royal Park (Hyde Park) that was the setting.

Hyde Park November 14, 2013
Photo Courtesy: Tim Lyons
Women are not allowed into the British cavalry but they are welcome in the Horse artillery.  As a consequence, about 40 percent of the artillerymen are women.  See earlier post Women in Combat here...

Hyde Park, London
Photo Courtesy: Tim Lyons

The 13 pound breech-loading canons that they use were fired in anger during the First World War and perhaps even in the Second.  They still can make a deafening roar.  Several nearby car alarms went off during yesterday's salute!

Prince of Wales Birthday 2013
Photo Courtesy: Tim Lyons
From the Napoleonic wars through World War II artillery has been responsible for more combat deaths than any other class of weapon.  Napoleon learned the craft of war as an artilleryman and first distinguished himself by directing the guns at the siege of Toulon.  Nietzsche called himself a "swaggering old artillery man".  Ian Fleming's father (Valentine) was killed by artillery while serving on the Western front in World War I.  Harry Truman served in "Battery B" in the American Expeditionary Force in the Great War.

Royal Salute, Photo courtesy Will Heim
Royal salutes are held at least seven times per year.  They are held in Hyde Park and in Green Park.  They are open to the public and entirely free.  You can find details and the upcoming schedule here...  Plan your visit!

Artillery on the move
Photo Courtesy: Will Heim

You can now purchase Commander Kelly's 
first book, America Invades or on

1 comment:

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