GUNS thundered over the ancient capital of the North today (Monday, April 21) as the military paid a birthday tribute to the Queen.

To mark the monarch’s 88th birthday a 21-gun salute was fired in York’s Museum Gardens, one of only 12 official saluting stations in the country and the only one in the North of England.

On the stroke of noon, soldiers from 4 Regiment Royal Artillery, based at Topcliffe, near Thirsk, started blasting out 21 rounds at 15 second intervals from three 105mm light guns.

Loading article content

Before the salute began the recently-formed Royal Armoured Band marched from Duncombe Place, near York Minster, to the saluting station to entertain the gathered crows with stirring military music.

The discharge of cannon as a form of salute is almost as old as the artillery itself, although Royal Salutes are relatively modern.

The first military regulations governing the firing of Salutes were created in 1827, when the Board of Ordnance decreed that 41 guns should be used in a Royal Salute when fired from St James's Park or the Tower of London.

That was later extended to include 21-gun Royal Salutes to be fired elsewhere, and include the Birthday, Accession and Coronation of the Sovereign.

York became a saluting station in 1971 as part of he celebrations marking the city’s 1,900th anniversary.