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28 October 2014

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Hampshire Events

Drumhead Ceremony
Drumhead Ceremony

Trafalgar 200

The Royal Navy is holding a series of celebrations in Portsmouth this summer to mark the bicentennial of the Battle of Trafalgar and the death of Admiral Lord Nelson.

The International Fleet Review

During the celebrations Her Majesty the Queen will attend the International Fleet Review at Spithead on Tuesday, 28th June.  Ships from all over the world have already set sail to take part in the event including vessels from South Korea and Japan.

It is the largest review ever in terms of the number of countries attending and it is unlikely that the event will be repeated again for many years. The last review of its kind was celebrated during the Queen's Silver Jubilee in 1977 which saw 19 nations taking part.  This year will see 35 different countries in attendance.

HMS Illustrious
HMS Illustrious

56 Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary ships and submarines will be led by the air craft carriers HMS Illustrious and HMS Invincible. The Navy's newest ship, the Landing Platform Dock HMS Bulwark will also be on show along with a host of frigates, destroyers, mine counter measure vessels, patrol vessels and support ships.

Almost 600 ships will take part in the review altogether including modern naval fighting warships, merchant shipping and some of the world's finest tall ships.

Following the review, a sail past of up to 300 private, smaller boats will take place together with a fly past of maritime assigned aircraft.

Son et Lumière

In the evening, a light and firework spectacular illustrating a Nelson-era sea battle can be viewed from Southsea Seafront.  200 years ago Britain was fighting for its life against Napoleon's France and the navies of the two countries were on a collision course at sea.

Amerigo Vespucci
The Italian tall ship Amerigo Vespucci

The re-enactment will take you back in time and show 'Nelson' and 'Napoleon's' ships fighting for domination of the seas. The drama will unfold with the help of some amazing tall ships, state-of-the-art pyrotechnics, music and radio broadcasts.

After the ships have engaged in battle, a spectacular firework display will light up the sky before the entire International Fleet Review is floodlit to herald the end of the day's celebrations.

International Drumhead Ceremony

The events continue with the International Drumhead Ceremony near the War Memorial at Southsea Common on Wednesday 29th June.  HRH The Duke of York - the Patron of the Trafalgar Festival, and HRH Prince Michael of Kent will be guests of honour.

The ceremony dates back centuries when soldiers on the battlefield would parade on three sides of a hollow square.  On the fourth side, drummers would arrange their drums in the shape of a pyramid and drape it with regimental colours to form a church alter.

HRH Prince Andrew
HRH The Duke of York

In keeping with this, the ceremony at Southsea will have a formal Drumhead act of worship led by the Bishop of Portsmouth who will be joined by representatives of other faiths.

The ceremony provides maritime veterans with the chance to remember the fallen and catch up with old comrades but younger people have also been encouraged to get involved.

The finale will include a steam past by a Royal Navy Aircraft Carrier and a fly past of older and modern military aircraft ranging from the Spitfire to the Sea Harrier.

As well as this, a Veterans Centre next to the Drumhead Arena will be open on both 28th and 29th June and will provide facilities for veterans to trace old pals.  The Royal Marines Dixie Band will also be there to entertain people as they search.

BBC Radio Solent is the official radio station for the Trafalgar 200 celebrations throughout the year on 96.1 FM.

You can hear full coverage of the fleet review and Son et Lumiere on Tuesday 28th June,  as well as highlights of the drumhead ceremony on Wednesday 29th June. 

BBC Radio Solent also has a dedicated travel service from the centre of Portsmouth for the duration of the celebrations.  There will be reporters in the city's travel control centre with news on the park & ride schemes, public transport and the inevitable traffic jams.

The Trafalgar 200 celebrations in Hampshire will continue through to the autumn.  The list of events includes:

  • International Fleet Review, Tuesday 28th June, 1pm - 3pm
  • Son et Lumière, Tuesday 28th June, 7pm - 10.10pm
  • Drumhead Ceremony, Wednesday 29th June, 11am - 12pm
  • The International Festival of the Sea, HM Naval Base, Portsmouth - 30th June - 3rd July, 10am -10pm
  • Trafalgar Day at HMS Victory on Friday 21st October
last updated: 27/06/05
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