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Queen Mother honoured with 41-gun salute

THE Home of the British Army honoured the late Queen Mother on Easter Monday with a 41-gun salute, which traditionally marks the death of a member of the Royal Family.

Six 105mm light guns were wheeled out on to Queen's Parade Recreation Ground, off Queen's Avenue, and fired once every minute from midday.

Some 30 soldiers from F Battery, 7 (Para) Regiment, Royal Horse Artillery, were involved in the tribute, watched by about 200 spectators.

The event was one of 11 simultaneous Army salutes held across the United Kingdom and Gibraltar.

Maj Richard Wallwork, of 7 (Para) RHA, said: "It was a very sombre occasion. Certainly among the soldiers there was a feeling that it was a very important occasion and we were privileged to be involved in it.

"The Royal Family is very special to the military, and the Queen Mother, as head of the household, has always had a special place in our hearts."

Aldershot MP Gerald Howarth was one of the guests. He described the salute as "very moving".

Elsewhere in Rushmoor, flags were lowered at Army barracks across the military town and also at the council offices in Farnborough following the Queen Mother's death on Saturday at the age of 101.

They will remain at half mast until her funeral on Tuesday.

Books of condolence have also been opened across the borough.

They can be signed at the council offices and the Kingsmead and Princes Mead shopping centres in Farnborough, and at the Princes Hall, Princes Gardens, Visitor Information Centre and Wellington Shopping Centre in Aldershot.

The books will later be collated and forwarded to Buckingham Palace.

Mr Howarth, who was in the House of Commons on Wednesday for the recall of parliament, earlier paid his tribute to the Queen Mother.

He said: "Unquestionably she was the most remarkable woman of our times, enormously admired, respected and, indeed, loved.

"She was a woman who gave a lifetime of devoted service to our country.

"She was an inspiration during the dark days and years of the Second World War and went on to forge a bond between the Crown and the people."

The Mayor of Rushmoor, Cllr Charles Choudhary, will write to the Queen on behalf of the borough, passing on the sympathy of local people.

Seven members of the Welsh Guards, stationed in Aldershot, will be taking part in the funeral procession on Tuesday. The Queen Mother was the guards' colonel-in-chief.

Members of 101 Logistic Brigade from Aldershot will act as drivers in London on the day, rehearsals for which are being held at the Guards' Depot at Pirbright.

The late Queen Mother is pictured with Irish Guards at Pirbright on St Patrick's Day.


Charlotte Neal
Chief Reporter (Aldershot)
Joshua Smith
Farnborough Reporter
Jon Couch
Sport Editor
Stephen Lloyd
Fleet & Yateley Reporter
Ros Collins
Junior News & Mail
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