Royal Navy Join Battle of Atlantic Commemorative Ceremony (UK)

Royal Navy Join Battle of Atlantic Commemorative Ceremony (UK)

Around 250 sailors provided an additional spectacle to the traditional pomp and ceremony of the Constables Dues at the Tower of London.

Three Royal Navy ships remain in London in support of the wider Battle of Atlantic 70th Anniversary commemorative events in the capital, and Her Majesty’s Ships Illustrious, Edinburgh and Blyth mustered around 250 members of their Ship’s Company’s to parade at what is a long-standing custom when the Navy visits alongside.

The Royal Marines Band Plymouth was on hand for additional colour and musical fanfare and proved a big hit with the many hundreds of guests and visitors to the Castle for the Ceremony of the Dues.

This event can be traced back to the 14th century and is related to the Crown’s authority over the City of London.

During the Middle Ages, successive Kings believed it was their right to extract tolls from vessels on the Thames. On the King’s behalf, the Const able of the Tower of London was empowered to demand these tolls as a perquisite of his office.

Past offerings have included barrels of rum, or oysters, mussels and cockles; this year, the Tower’s Constable, General Lord Richard Dannatt, was presented with three barrels of wine, one from each vessel.

The ancient ritual began when Captain Martin Connell of HMS Illustrious led the sailors to the Tower’s West Gate, where they were challenged for entry to the Tower by the Yeoman Gaoler armed with his infamous axe.

The captain and his shore party – which included the commanding officer of HMS Edinburgh, Commander Nick Borbonne, and the commanding officer of HMS Blyth, Lt Cdr Nick Davey – then marched through the Tower of London to Tower Green, accompanied by Yeoman Warders (commonly known as ‘Beefeaters’) in red and gold State Dress and a Corps of Drums, to deliver the barrels of wine (representing the ‘Dues’) to the Tower’s Constable, Lord General Richard Dannatt.


Press Release, May 15, 2013