Further Moments in the Life of HMS Vanguard
Diary of Events for 1953
Our port of call for the actual Coronation was Southend-on-Sea  and we made our way there on 28th May and arrived the following day.   The weather was not kind to us but none  will ever forget that week - the lucky ones who were on street lining duty or those  who stayed on board.   Television made the Coronation Day for those on board.   It was a very wonderful and moving day.  During our stay at Southend the Lord Mayor of the City of London and the City Fathers together with a large number of guests  paid us a visit aboard the Thames pleasure ship 'Royal Sovereign'.   During his visit he presented the ship with a piece of silver plate.  After looking round the ship his party left and gave the Vanguard three very hearty cheers.

The Lord Mayor of the City of London arrives for a visit.
We said goodbye to Southend on 5th June and arrived at Weymouth the following day.   The time in Weymouth was spent in rehearsing for the manning and cheering ship and for the final preparations for the Royal Review at Spithead. There was a general feeling of great but suppressed excitement.   Very early in the morning of 9th June we sailed from Weymouth to arrive later that day at Spithead proudly to take up our position at the head of the combined fleets.   HMS Vanguard, flagship of Sir George Creasy, Commander-in-Chief Home Fleet, was in command of the Review Fleet, and headed Line 'F'.   Approximately 325 ships from 22 different countries  attended the Review.

A pleasing interlude was the entertaining of relatives and friends on board to see the ship as prepared for her Queen.  The great day itself was magnificent and the ship looked splendid.    At 3.0 pm on 15th June The Royal yacht, HMS Surprise  preceded by the Trinity House yacht Patricia, left the South Railway Jetty at Portsmouth for Spithead, with Her Majesty the Queen aboard to review the Fleet.   As Surprise passed through the lines of warships, Her Majesty, who was accompanied by His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh, took the salute from a glass-enclosed saluting platform .   Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother and other members of the Royal family were also embarked in Surprise.
At 5.35 pm, after  the Queen had completed her inspection, there was a Fly-past by the Fleet- Air-Arm in which Australian and Canadian squadrons took part.  A total of some 300 aircraft passed over the great gathering of warships at a height of a few hundred feet.   At 6.30 pm the Queen held a reception on board Surprise.  In the evening the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh dined aboard Vanguard with Admiral Sir George Creasey, and it was from  the bridge  at 10.30 pm, that the Queen gave the signal, by pressing a single gold morse key, at which the mighty array of ships was illuminated.   Immediately , all ships of frigate size and above, and other ships specially nominated, were illuminated in outline; and submarines and other craft were lit by lines of light and stood out, etched in silver against the dark sky and sea.   At 10 40 pm the lights went out and the firework display began.   Red, white and blue effects were arranged in honour of the Queen and the spectacle of cascades and plumes of  brilliant coloured lights continued until 10.55 pm.   The final salvo consisted of over 2500 rockets discharged simultaneously and was superbly effective.   At midnight the illumination of the Fleet ended and darkness fell on the anchorage which during the day had been the scene of so much activity, with the cheering of the ships' companies echoing across the sunlit waters of Spithead as the Royal Yacht passed by.

Homepage  /  Contents  / My Service History  /  Birth of a Battleship  /  Diary of Events for 1952  /  Death of a Battleship 

A Day on HMS Vanguard  /  Sectional Drawing  /  Photographs of HMS Dryad  /  Photographs of Oslo 1952  /  Bluenose Certifcate

Poem - My Vanguard  /  The Flagdeck  /    A Sailor's Prayer  /  HMS Vanguard Veterans' Association
Illuminations and fireworks
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