Volunteers sought for Guernsey 21-gun salute to Queen

21-gun salute being fired at Castle Cornet in Guernsey
Image caption The battery annually fires a 21-gun salute to celebrate the Queen's official birthday in June

People born in Guernsey the year the Queen acceded to the throne are being asked to help fire a 21-gun salute for her Diamond Jubilee.

The Castle Cornet Saluting Battery has launched the recruiting drive ahead of the salute, due to be fired on 5 June.

Battery Commander Marco Ciotti said: "We'd like to hear from local men and women born in 1952 who are willing and able to join us on this rare occasion."

The castle is one of only about 10 saluting stations outside London.

"This is only the second time in the nation's history that the sovereign is celebrating a Diamond Jubilee, so we want this to be a royal salute to remember," Mr Ciotti said.

"If we have a good response we'll draw the final names during Liberation week and will include as many as we can on the gun line."

The saluting battery consists of seven guns, which each fire three times, and annually fires a 21-gun salute on the Queen's official birthday.

Last royalist stronghold

Keith Pike, Battery Sgt Major, said: "Each gun crew will be led by an ex-serviceman or servicewoman, who's familiar with the firing drills, but we'd also like to include at least one member of the public on each gun.

"Volunteers will receive a full briefing plus a vital piece of equipment: a set of ear plugs."

To be eligible, people must have been born in 1952, be currently resident in the Bailiwick, be able to march onto the gun line and be available to attend a training session in early June.

Those wishing to apply need to supply their full name, date of birth, home address, telephone number and up to 20 words explaining why they would like to fire the salute to the battery's sponsor, Cannon Asset Management, or 01481 726141.

Castle Cornet, at the entrance of St Peter Port Harbour, has a unique royal pedigree as it was the last royalist stronghold to surrender in the English Civil War.

When fighting broke out in 1642, Peter Osborne, the Governor of Guernsey, and the garrison of the castle remained loyal to the Crown while the island declared for the Parliamentarians.

The royal standard was lowered from the castle's keep on 19 December 1651 when the royalist forces surrendered.

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