UK: HMS Diamond Marks Beginning of Queen’s Diamond Jubilee

HMS Diamond Marks Beginning of Queen's Diamond Jubilee

Royal Navy warship HMS Diamond launched the nation’s weekend of jubilee celebrations on June 1 by honouring the Queen during a spectacular entry in to Portsmouth Naval Base.

The Type 45 destroyer fired a 21-gun salute and gave three cheers to Her Majesty as the ship entered Portsmouth Harbour while four Navy helicopters – two Merlin and two Lynx – performed a flypast over the ship in a diamond formation. The Navy saluting gun overlooking the harbour entrance at Fort Blockhouse, Gosport, fired 21 times in return.

HMS Diamond was led into the harbour by two Royal Navy patrol vessels – HMS Raider and HMS Blazer.

Fleet Commander, Admiral George Zambellas, said: “It is fitting that Her Majesty’s Ship Diamond should mark Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee in this way. The Queen’s affection for and commitment to the Armed Forces have touched the lives of many servicemen and women and their families over the past 60 years and I am proud that HMS Diamond is helping to launch this special weekend of celebrations across our island nation.”

Once the ship berthed in the Naval Base the celebrations took on a more relaxed fashion with a street party for the 190 crew and guests on the ship’s flight deck.

The event included the launch of a cocktail created for the Navy by the celebrated Dukes Hotel in London’s Mayfair, called Dukes Royal Navy Jubilee.

HMS Diamond’s Commanding Officer, Commander Ian Clarke, said: “It was a real honour for HMS Diamond to salute Her Majesty on Friday, signalling the start of Diamond Jubilee celebrations this weekend. By happy coincidence, 2012 is an important year for HMS Diamond as we sail for our maiden operational deployment in a couple of weeks’ time.”

Petty Officer Dickie Davies, one of the lead organisers of the ceremonial entry, said: “Being a staunch royalist I was honoured at having a key part to play in the ship’s entry to Portsmouth. I was responsible for the training and the execution of the ceremonial drill on the upper deck. It was a proud day for all servicemen involved and being on HMS Diamond was the icing on the cake.”

Among guests at the street party – which incorporated one of the nation’s Big Jubilee Lunches staged by The Eden Project in Cornwall – were visitors from the ship’s affiliate cities of Coventry and Aberdeen.

They were among the first to sample the jubilee cocktail made and served by Dukes Hotel head barman Alessandro Palazzi. Among the ingredients are Navy rum, apple juice, lime juice and Kings Ginger liqueur.

Hotel general manager Debra Dhugga said:

We are delighted to be collaborating with the Royal Navy and HMS Diamond to celebrate Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee in this way.

“Dukes has always had a close connection with the Royal Household over the 100 years it has been trading as a hotel. We are delighted to be celebrating this very special weekend.”

Other special guests at the party included the Royal Navy & Royal Marines Charity, selling copies of a new CD by the Band of Her Majesty’s Royal marines Portsmouth entitled Diamond Jubilee. It features favourite tracks of the royal family that were performed by Royal Marines musicians on the Royal Yacht Britannia.

Cdr Clarke said the street party was a fun way of rounding off an important day for the ship.

“It was fun to bring together the ship’s company with representatives from our two affiliated cities of Aberdeen and Coventry for a street party on the flight deck – how else would we celebrate the Diamond Jubilee than with a rum-based cocktail, specially commissioned by Dukes Hotel!”


Naval Today Staff, June 4, 2012; Image: Royal Navy