I am sure all members of the Royal Regiment of Artillery, serving and retired, and all members of our sister artillery regiments in Commonwealth countries, will join me in congratulating Her Majesty The Queen, our Captain General, on the occasion of Her 94th birthday today. We wish Her and also His Royal Highness, The Duke of Edinburgh continuing good health as they isolate at Windsor Castle. Normally we would be proud to mark our Captain General’s birthday with gun salutes at a number of locations but Covid-19 means that is neither appropriate nor possible. However, we plan to share footage of previous salutes held on 21st April as a mark of respect to Her Majesty.
These gun salutes are certainly not the only events that we have been forced to cancel or delay as a result of the pandemic. The Royal Artillery Association Assembly, due to be held in Blackpool in mid May, has been provisionally rescheduled for October. I very much hope it will be able to occur, not least because firstly this is the centenary of the formation of both the Royal Artillery Association and the Royal Horse Artillery Association and secondly that these two important organisations have decided to merge in recognition of the fact that we are all Gunners. The Blackpool gathering will be the first ever combined Assembly. Please remember that the Association is there to support you and your family, particularly now with the pressures of the lockdown; if you know of a serving or retired member of our Regiment, or their dependants, who need help, do use our Regimental networks.
Other events that have been disrupted include recruit training, all training at Larkhill, the events to mark the centenary of the Royal School of Artillery in July, memorial services to celebrate the lives of distinguished former members of the Royal Artillery, sports meetings, dinners and much more. However, the serving regiments remain busy and, in a number of areas, are providing support to the NHS and related organisations; I congratulate them, as always, for their professionalism and commitment as they go about their business, never seeking the limelight but still doing a first class job.
Most importantly, I wish you and all your families continuing good health and wellbeing during these unprecedented and most challenging times. As Gunners we need to continue to look out for one another; please do that, especially where you know of hardship, for the Regiment can and would like to help.
Lieutenant General Sir Andrew Gregory KBE CB
Master Gunner St James’s Park