A nine-round salute has been fired by the Ulster-based unit of the Royal Artillery at Scrabo Tower to mark the arrival in Northern Ireland of a unique baton that has circumnavigated the globe.
The baton – known as the Captain General’s Baton – is on its way to a presentation to the Queen, who is Captain-General of the Royal Artillery, to mark its 300th Anniversary.
The regiment was formed in May 1716 by Royal Warrant of King George I in Woolwich.
The salute, known as a ‘Feux De Joie’ or ‘fire of joy,’ was executed on Tuesday by ‘the Ulster Gunners’ from three field artillery guns at the top of Scrabo Hill at 1pm.
Having crossed deserts, rapids, snow caps and jungles, the baton was ceremonially welcomed “back” to Northern Ireland on Tuesday morning having been specially engraved in Belfast by a team of apprentices.
Constructed to reflect the 300 years of history and world-wide engagement of the Royal Artillery, a special compartment within it contains a loyal greeting signed by 10 Heads of Commonwealth Artilleries, including those in Gibraltar, Malta, South Africa, India, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Canada.
From Northern Ireland it goes to the Outer Hebrides eventually arriving at Larkhill in Wiltshire for presentation to the Queen at a Royal Review.