Wiltshire

Firepower display for Gunners' 300th anniversary

21-gun salute by Royal Artillery Image copyright PA
Image caption The Gunners fired weapons both old and new during a 21-gun salute

Soldiers have put on a huge display of military firepower as the Queen joined the Royal Regiment of Artillery to mark its 300th anniversary.

Guns both old and new fired a 21-gun salute during the display on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire.

The celebrations culminated with a "feu de joie" - a cascade of volleys - by six AS90 self-propelled guns.

The Gunners were formed by a royal warrant three centuries ago, on 26 May 1716.

Image copyright PA
Image caption The Queen is the Captain General of the Royal Regiment of Artillery
Image copyright PA
Image caption The celebrations on Salisbury Plain were the culmination of a number of displays and events across the country

The Queen, who is the regiment's Captain General, paid tribute to the troops: "In all the theatres of war and in peacekeeping and humanitarian missions throughout the world, you have served with great distinction, especially so in the recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"It has indeed been a demanding period for Gunners of all ranks and for your families who have so closely supported you. You should be rightly proud of your achievements."

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Image caption Guns were first used by the English in the 14th century, but it was hundreds of years before a permanent artillery force was formed

The first two permanent companies of Royal Artillery were formed 300 years ago by a Royal Warrant in the reign of George I.

The companies were based at Woolwich, alongside the guns, powder and shot located in the Royal Arsenal.

Image copyright PA

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