21-gun salute takes place at Fort Charlotte

A 21-gun solute has been held at Fort Charlotte in Lerwick.

The event has been staged by the 105 Royal Artillery Regiment.

It comes just a week after celebrations were held to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

The Queen’s representative in Shetland, Lord Lieutenant Bobby Hunter, was present.

Isles MP Alistair Carmichael and his Holyrood colleague Beatrice Wishart MSP were also in attendance, as well as elected members and officials of Shetland Islands Council.

Three 105mm calibre guns fired 21 rounds at noon. A display was also on show in the drill hall.

Known as a feu de joie – which translates from French as “fire of joy” – the event is a form of formal gun fire, consisting of a celebratory gun salute.

Soldiers fire the guns into the air sequentially in rapid succession.

The army says it is used in rare landmark occasions of “national rejoicing”.

Organisers say the salute had originally been earmarked to take place in 2020 before the pandemic struck.

As well as helping mark the Queen’s jubilee, the event is regarded as a way of engaging with the community, in the hope more people will consider joining the army reserves.

Visiting the isles from his Edinburgh base is commanding officer of the 105th, Huw Gilbert.

“It was originally planned to take place in 2020, but obviously that didn’t happen,” said Lt Col Gilbert.

“It’s by and large a coincidence that it happens to be the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, and so close to the celebrations last week.

“I think it’s a good thing we’ve been able to link the two things together.”

He said the “primary purpose” of the event was community engagement, which could help the armed forces reach out to new recruits.

“The army recruits from the community, and it can only recruit effectively if the community understands what the armed forces are about,” he added.

Forming part of the 105 Regiment is the 212 (Highland) Battery, which has troops in Lerwick as well as elsewhere.

The 105 Regiment is tasked with firing regal gun salutes. Among the high-profile events it has had involvement with was the funeral of the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip.

However, Mr Gilbert – who works by day as a mountaineering instructor – said the war in Ukraine had shown armed forces must be prepared for war.

“We do need an army to act as a deterrent to would-be aggressors,” he said.

Ear protectors and camera phones at the ready. Dignitaries watch the proceedings at Fort Charlotte. Photo: Sylvia Taylor
A band played music during the event. Photo: Sylvia Taylor


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