Guns on deck for birthday salute

PUBLISHED : Friday, 21 April, 1995, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 21 April, 1995, 12:00am

IF Chief Petty Officer John Goldsmith wasn't a gunner he would not be here - something he will remind himself 20 times at noon today.

As HMS Tamar's gunnery instructor, CPO Goldsmith will be in charge of the 21-gun salute for the Queen's official birthday. For the first time in decades the salvos will come from a warship in Victoria Harbour because construction work means Stonecutters cannot be used.

CPO Goldsmith fired his first salute 33 years ago and he will be saying the same words between each gun-blast at his final salute today before he retires as he did then: 'If I wasn't a gunner I wouldn't be here'.

'It's something we say which takes the required five seconds between each firing,' said CPO Goldsmith. 'But we'll also have a stopwatch.'