World News

Gun salute to Prince Philip from his beloved Royal Navy

Gun salute to Prince Philip from his beloved Royal Navy: HMS Diamond – the ‘jewel in the naval crown’ – will lead 41-round tribute to the Duke at midday that will also be carried out in cities across the UK and Gibraltar

  • HMS Diamond, 8,000-tonne destroyer dubbed ‘jewel in the naval crown, set sail from Portsmouth on Friday 
  • She is the modern successor to the destroyers that the Duke of Edinburgh served on during World War Two 
  • ‘Solemn’ 41-shot salutes will also take place in London, Belfast, Cardiff and Edinburgh as well as at Navy bases 

Royal Navy warships will lead a worldwide gun salute in honour of Prince Philip today, firing 41 shots over 40 minutes from midday as they are joined by batteries in London, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Belfast and Gibraltar. 

HMS Diamond, a 8,000-tonne destroyer dubbed ‘the jewel in the naval crown, set sail from Portsmouth on Friday with her flag at half mast and will lead gun salutes at sea. 

She is the modern successor to the destroyers the Duke of Edinburgh served on during World War Two as part of his 14-year naval career. 

‘Solemn’ 41-shot salutes will also take place in London, Belfast, Cardiff and Edinburgh as well as from Naval bases in Portsmouth, Plymouth and the Rock of Gibraltar.

HMS Montrose, a Type 23 Frigate, will fire her 4.5 inch main gun in the Gulf, where she is based. 

An artillery salute has already taken place at Parliament House in Adelaide this morning, with similar commemorations repeated across the Commonwealth.  

HMS Diamond, a 8,000-tonne destroyer dubbed ‘the jewel in the naval crown, set sail from Portsmouth on Friday. She is seen in a file photo 

She is the modern successor to the destroyers the Duke of Edinburgh served on during World War Two as part of his 14-year naval career. Pictured is Philip (right) with the Queen and Captain John Edwin Home McBeath on HMS Chequers, which the prince served on 

Officials have told the public to observe the gun salutes, which will be broadcast online and on television, from home. 

It comes after floral tributes laid by members of the public outside palaces were quickly removed last night as the nation faced an eery seven days of eerie socially distanced mourning. 

In London, the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery will ride out from their base at Napier Lines, Woolwich Barracks, onto the Parade Ground.

There will be 71 horses, 36 of them pulling six 13-pounder field guns dating from the First World War.

The same guns were also fired for Philip’s wedding to the Queen in 1947 and at her Coronation six years later in 1953.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: ‘His Royal Highness Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh was a constant supporter and ambassador of the armed forces.

‘We celebrate his life of service and offer our condolences to Her Majesty the Queen and the royal family.’

Chief of the Defence Staff, General Sir Nick Carter said: ‘His Royal Highness has been a great friend, inspiration and role model for the armed forces and he will be sorely missed.

‘The Duke of Edinburgh served among us during the Second World War, and he remained devoted to the Royal Navy and the armed forces as a whole.

‘A life well lived, His Royal Highness leaves us with a legacy of indomitable spirit, steadfastness and an unshakeable sense of duty. From all of us who serve today and who have served, thank you.’

The Honourable Artillery Company will fire a salute at the Tower of London, the 104th Regiment Royal Artillery will fire from Cardiff Castle, and the 105th Regiment Royal Artillery will fire at Hillsborough Castle, Belfast and Edinburgh Castle. 

A gun salute has already taken place at Parliament House in Adelaide this morning, with similar commemorations repeated across the Commonwealth

The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery fire a 41 Gun Royal Salute to mark Queen Elizabeth II’s 93rd birthday in Hyde Park on April 22, 2019 

It comes as First Sea Lord and Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, the most senior officer in the Royal Navy, added to the tributes to Philip.

In a statement released on Saturday morning, he said: ‘His genuine empathy, affection and engagement with the Royal Navy resonated with us all.

‘His generous spirit, his delight in all aspects of the Naval Service, and his deep understanding of our values, standards and ethos made him such a close friend to the Service for over eight decades.’

Philip joined the Royal Navy after leaving school, beginning at the Britannia Royal Naval College in Dartmouth in May 1939, and was singled out as best cadet.

During the Second World War, he served on several ships – firstly on HMS Ramillies – and saw active service against German, Italian and Japanese forces.

In March 1941, he was a searchlight control officer on the battleship HMS Valiant and was mentioned in despatches for his part in the battle of Matapan against the Italian fleet.

Shortly afterwards, he was awarded the Greek War Cross of Valour.

He rose rapidly through the ranks, earning promotion after promotion, with some believing he could have become First Sea Lord – the professional head of the Royal Navy.

But the Duke stepped down from his active role in the forces to fulfil his duty as the Queen’s consort.

In recognition of his long-standing connection with the Royal Navy, the Queen conferred the title of Lord High Admiral on the Duke to mark his 90th birthday in June 2011. 

First Sea Lord pays tribute to Royal Navy veteran Prince Philip and highlights praise for his ‘bravery and enterprise’ during WWII Battle of Cape Matapan

By Tom Pyman for MailOnline

The First Sea Lord has paid tribute to Royal Navy veteran Prince Philip, highlighting praise he received for his ‘bravery and enterprise’ during the Battle of Cape Matapan in the Second World War.

The Duke of Edinburgh was a midshipman aboard HMS Valiant off the southern coast of Greece when he earned his honourable citation.

A young naval officer, he was praised for his actions in the decisive Battle of Cape Matapan against the Italian fleet in March 1941.

Philip had been in control of the searchlights as the ship battled an Italian cruiser when he spotted an unexpected second enemy vessel nearby.

He survived unscathed amid his shattered lights as enemy cannon shell ripped into his position.

His commanding officer said: ‘Thanks to his alertness and appreciation of the situation, we were able to sink in five minutes two 8in gun Italian cruisers.’

Shortly afterwards, he was awarded the Greek War Cross of Valour.

Yesterday, the Navy’s most senior officer, Admiral Sir Tony Radakin added to the tributes to Philip.

The Duke of Edinburgh, who has died at the age of 99, joined the Royal Navy in 1939 – the year the Second World War broke out – when he was still a teenager. By 1942, he had risen to the rank of first lieutenant after bravely fighting in the Battle of Crete and the conflict at Cape Matapan. Left: Philip in 1946. Right: Philip in 1945, when he was serving on HMS Valiant

The First Sea Lord’s poignant tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh, released in a statement yesterday 

Philip’s key role in the Battle of Cape Matapan 

The Battle of Cape Matapan was a naval conflict which took place between British Empire and Axis forces on the south-western coast of the Peloponnesian Peninsula of Greece in March 1941.  

The Fleet’s brilliant commander, Admiral Andrew Cunningham, boldly decided to engage the Italian fleet at night, a tactic with which he knew the Italians were unfamiliar. 

Philip’s role was to operate Valiant’s midship searchlight which, as he recorded later, ‘picked out the enemy cruiser and lit her up as if it were broad daylight’.

Before long, one target was blazing, and he trained the light on a second, focusing on its bridge at such close quarters ‘that the light did not illuminate the whole ship’.

Broadsides were fired and, ‘when the enemy had completely vanished in clouds of smoke and steam, we ceased firing and switched the light off’.

In the fierce engagement in the dark, three Italian heavy cruisers and two destroyers were sunk and its one battleship severely damaged. 

The Italian Navy’s morale never fully recovered from this substantial defeat in the war. 

Admiral Cunningham, in mentioning Philip in despatches, praised his skill with the searchlight. 

Valiant’s captain had reported that ‘the successful and continuous illumination of the enemy greatly contributed to the devastating results achieved in the gun action’, and ‘thanks to his (Philip’s) alertness and appreciation of the situation, we were able to sink in five minutes two 8in-gun Italian cruisers’.

Philip is said to have later ‘just shrugged’ when congratulated by his mother, Alice, and told her: ‘It was as near murder as anything could be in wartime. The cruisers just burst into tremendous sheets of flame.’

The morning after the battle Philip counted 40 rafts containing survivors and noted ‘there must have been a good many empty ones as well’.

In a statement released on Saturday morning, he said: ‘His Royal Highness served the Royal Navy with distinction during wartime, mentioned in dispatches for ‘bravery and enterprise’ during the Battle of Cape Matapan. 

‘He met the then Princess Elizabeth for the first time during his training at Britannia Royal Naval College, and since her accession to the throne remained and enduring friend and supporter of the Royal Navy with a deep understanding of our ethos and values.

‘Serving as Lord High Admiral of the Fleet and Captain General Royal Marines he involved himself in every aspect of the Royal Navy, through official visits, patronage and association with naval charities and clubs. 

‘His humour and generosity of spirit generated great affection amongst the countless sailors and marines he met each year.

‘His genuine empathy, affinity and engagement with the Royal Navy resonated with us all. He will be deeply missed.’ 

The battle in the Mediterranean, south-west of Greece, took part in March 1941, when Philip was just 20 years old. 

The Fleet’s brilliant commander, Admiral Andrew Cunningham, boldly decided to engage the Italian fleet at night, a tactic with which he knew the Italians were unfamiliar. 

Philip’s role was to operate Valiant’s midship searchlight which, as he recorded later, ‘picked out the enemy cruiser and lit her up as if it were broad daylight’.

Before long, one target was blazing, and he trained the light on a second, focusing on its bridge at such close quarters ‘that the light did not illuminate the whole ship’.

Broadsides were fired and, ‘when the enemy had completely vanished in clouds of smoke and steam, we ceased firing and switched the light off’.

In the fierce engagement in the dark, three Italian heavy cruisers and two destroyers were sunk and its one battleship severely damaged. 

The Italian Navy’s morale never fully recovered from this substantial defeat in the war. 

Admiral Cunningham, in mentioning Philip in despatches, praised his skill with the searchlight. 

Valiant’s captain had reported that ‘the successful and continuous illumination of the enemy greatly contributed to the devastating results achieved in the gun action’, and ‘thanks to his (Philip’s) alertness and appreciation of the situation, we were able to sink in five minutes two 8in-gun Italian cruisers’.

Philip is said to have later ‘just shrugged’ when congratulated by his mother, Alice, and told her: ‘It was as near murder as anything could be in wartime. The cruisers just burst into tremendous sheets of flame.’

The morning after the battle Philip counted 40 rafts containing survivors and noted ‘there must have been a good many empty ones as well’.

While serving on HMS Whelp, the future Queen’s consort was even there in Tokyo Bay to witness the historic surrender of Japanese forces in September 1945. Pictured: Philip (front row, second from left) with his fellow officers on HMS Whelp

It was after leaving Gordonstoun school that Philip joined the Royal Navy. His training began at Britannia Royal Naval College, in Dartmouth, in May 1939 – three months before Britain declared war on Nazi Germany. Pictured: HMS Whelp, which Prince Philip served on

The then Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten, prior to his marriage to Princess Elizabeth, working at his desk after returning to his Royal Navy duties at the Petty Officers Training Centre in Corsham, Wiltshire, August 1st 1947

The duke later spoke of how he coped when his shipmates died or were wounded.

‘It was part of the fortunes of war,’ he said. ‘We didn’t have counsellors rushing around every time somebody let off a gun, you know asking ‘Are you all right – are you sure you don’t have a ghastly problem?’ You just got on with it.’

At the age of 21, Philip was one of the youngest officers in the Royal Navy to be made First Lieutenant and second-in-command of a ship – the destroyer escort HMS Wallace of the Rosyth Escort Force.

In July 1943, Wallace was dispatched to the Mediterranean and provided cover for the Canadian beachhead of the Allied landings in Sicily.

Philip also served as First Lieutenant on the destroyer HMS Whelp in the Pacific, where he helped to rescue two airmen in 1945.

The men’s Avenger bomber crashed into the ocean during the Allies’ Operation Meridian II against the Japanese.

The duke, who was 23 at the time, sent the battleship to the spot where the plane had gone down.

The bomber had flooded and rough seas were preventing the men from getting into their dinghy.

Philip, who first spoke publicly about the incident in 2006 for a BBC Radio 4 documentary, remarked in a typically matter-of-fact manner: ‘It was routine. If you found somebody in the sea, you go and pick them up. End of story, so to speak.’

He alerted the sick bay, arranged for hot food to be waiting for them and found new uniforms for the airmen.

The men had no idea who their rescuer actually was until they were told he kept a picture of Princess Elizabeth in his cabin.

The royal wedding took place just two years later.  

Philip (fifth from left, front row) at the Royal Navy Petty Officer’s School in Corsham, Wiltshire, in 1947. Philip distinguished himself in his service in the Second World War

While serving as First Lieutenant on HMS Whelp, Philip was present in Tokyo Bay when the Japanese signed the surrender agreement with Allied forces. Speaking in 1995, Philip said: ‘Being in Tokyo Bay with the surrender ceremony taking place on a battleship which was what? 200 yards away. You could see what was going on with a pair of binoculars’

Meanwhile, a former naval chief revealed yesterday told how Philip once suggested raids on smuggling ships in the Caribbean would only raise the prices of drugs in London.

Sir Mark Stanhope, who was First Sea Lord from 2009 to 2013, remembered the duke as an ‘extremely talented sailor’ who could have risen to the top of the Navy.

Instead, Sir Mark said the duke was ‘never shy’ in telling first sea lords where he thought they were failing.

‘I remember one particular conversation I had where I raised the success at the time of Royal Navy warships interdicting drugs smugglers in the Caribbean where the drugs captured were ultimately destined for the streets of London,’ Sir Mark told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

‘His instant response to me then was really quite challenging. He countered the then policy of such interdiction saying it simply raised the price of drugs on the streets of London and had no long lasting effect. He had a point indeed.

‘He remained pretty unconvinced I think from my arguments and with his usual wry smile said we better move on to better things. I was delighted to seek calmer seas. To this day I’m not sure whether he was winding me up or not.’  

Source: Read Full Article