Artillery unit on baton duty

Pictured at the visit of the Captain General's Baton ceremony are Gunner McKee, Brian Adams, Harry Moore and the Battery Commander.
Pictured at the visit of the Captain General's Baton ceremony are Gunner McKee, Brian Adams, Harry Moore and the Battery Commander.

A nine-round salute has been fired by the Coleraine-based unit of the Royal Artillery at Scrabo Tower to mark the arrival in Northern Ireland of a unique baton that has circumnavigated the globe.

The baton - known as the Captain General’s Baton - is on its way to a presentation to the Queen, who is Captain-General of the Royal Artillery, to mark its 300th anniversary.

Members of the Royal Artillery Association Coleraine Branch at Scrabo Tower to mark the arrival in Northern Ireland of a unique baton that has circumnavigated the globe.

Members of the Royal Artillery Association Coleraine Branch at Scrabo Tower to mark the arrival in Northern Ireland of a unique baton that has circumnavigated the globe.

The regiment was formed in May 1716 by Royal Warrant of King George I in Woolwich.

The baton was delivered by officers and soldiers of 206 Ulster Battery, Royal Artillery from Coleraine.

The salute, known as a Feux De Joie’ or fire of joy, ’ was executed was executed last Wednesday lunchtime by the Ulster Gunners’ from three field artillery guns at the top of Scrabo Hill.

Having crossed deserts, rapids, snow caps and jungles, the baton was ceremonially welcomed “back” to Northern Ireland having been specially engraved in Belfast by a team of apprentices.

Guns in action

Guns in action

The baton was designed as a copy of a Congreve six pounder gun barrel, with a World War 1 mechanical times fuze mounted on its point - to acknowledge the Royal Artillery’s contribution to the Great War and with a World War 2 shell primer screwed into its base.

Constructed to reflect the 300 years of history and world-wide engagement of the Royal Artillery, a special compartment within it contains a loyal greeting signed by 10 Heads of Commonwealth Artilleries, including those in Gibraltar, Malta, South Africa, India, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Canada.

From Northern Ireland it goes to the Outer Hebrides eventually arriving at Larkhill in Wiltshire for a Royal Review on May 26 when the Queen will be presented with the baton at a special cermony.