Illustrious salutes the Omani Royal Yacht

HMS Illustrious has marked her arrival in Muscat, Oman, by firing a 21 gun salute for the Sultan of Oman’s Royal Yacht Al Said.

A Gun Salute is a naval tradition dating from the 16th century, whereby a cannon or firearm is fired as part of a military honour.

Originally a warship would fire its cannons out to sea in order to expel all ammunition, indicating it was disarmed and therefore lacked any hostile intent.

As naval customs evolved, 21 guns came to be fired for Heads of State, with the number decreasing with the rank of the recipient of the honour.

In the keeping of these traditions, the Gunners party took the lead with LS(AWW)  Barry Mann and LS(AWW) Daniel Renton taking charge of Number 1 and Number 2 gun respectively with WO1(MEM) Ian Browne and AB(WS) Lazlo Rush as loaders.

LS(AWW)  Andy Cumbers and AB(WS) Pete Driscoll were ready to step into the breech if required on Number 3 standby Gun.

“As senior Gunner on board, it was my responsibility to ensure that there were five seconds between each round taking one minute 40 seconds in total,”

Warrant Officer 1(AWW) Neil ‘Butch’ Cassidy said.

The Sultanate of Oman returned the salute from the firing battery at Fort Sirat Al Gharbiyah on behalf of the Royal Yacht.

HMS Illustrious is in Muscat for a short visit following completion of exercise Omani Cougar and CTF151 counter-piracy tasking.

HMS Illustrious is currently deployed on Cougar 13, the annual deployment of the UK Armed Forces Maritime Response Force Task Group commanded by Commodore Paddy McAlpine OBE ADC Royal Navy.

The Cougar 13 deployment also includes operations in the Mediterranean, Red Sea, the Gulf, and Horn of Africa.

It involves exercising with partner nations, and demonstrates the UK Armed Forces’ capacity to project an effective maritime component anywhere in the world.

The RFTG is the United Kingdom’s high readiness maritime force, comprising ships, submarines, aircraft and a landing force of Royal Marines, at short notice to act in response to any contingency tasking if required.

As senior Gunner on board, it was my responsibility to ensure that there were five seconds between each round taking one minute 40 seconds in total.

Warrant Officer 1 Neil Cassidy