NORTH-EAST Army Reserve soldiers swapped rocket launchers for light guns to fire a 21-gun royal salute for the Queen’s birthday.

The Geordie Gunners from 101 Regiment Royal Artillery based in Blyth, Newcastle, Gateshead, South Shields and Leeds fired the royal salute over the River Ouse from York’s Museum Gardens in a traditional military ceremony.

York is the only saluting station in England north of London, offering residents the chance to enjoy the military spectacle of the 305mm Light Guns being fired at midday.

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Gunner David Scott, 19, a uniformed services student at Tyne Metropolitan College in Wallsend was one of those who took part. He joined the Army Reserve a year ago.

“The royal salute has been an amazing experience and one that will stick in my memory,” he said.

“I was the Number five in the gun crew passing the shells to be loaded.

“This is a complete change from working with the multiple launch rocket system which our regiment fired only recently.”

Crowds were entertained by The Yorkshire Regiment Band which marched through the city to the gardens.

Each Royal Salute consists of 21 rounds being fired at 10-second intervals.