NOT A BLOODY WARSHIP IN SIGHT!,  unless,  like the coffers which nod through the building and supply of R.N. vessels, the pens of the  journalist reporting this event ran dry or were empty?

Yesterday, Monday the 4th  September 2017, Her Majesty accompanied by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, officially cut the tape which opened the new Firth of Forth Road Bridge at Queensferry close to Rosyth. There was no R.N., presence although we are told that umpteen small craft travelled in the Firth toing and froing backwards and forwards under this magnificent engineering feat.

Fifty three years earlier to the date in 1964,  Her Majesty and the Duke opened the first Forth Road Bridge to much acclaim and ceremony attended by no fewer than twenty five vessels of an assortment belonging to the Royal Navy, which by comparison is a staggering fact suggesting either a decline in our beloved navy [speaking as a 'Vet of course] or perhaps worst still, the demoting of our royals in pageantry terms which Her Majesty must see but doesn't comment about.  You know things like the end of Britannia tied up at Leith just 10.3 miles by direct road route over to the east of South Queensferry: the end of magnificent Spithead Fleet Reviews when the Queen had to ride in a bloody barge on old Father Thames on what could be said in terms of years, to be her most important Jubilee, her diamond,  instead of being cheered by her loving and faithful royal sailors as is customary in this fair land of ours for our much loved monarch's.

We had so many ships in the water way back in 1964 that two of them collided during the dispersal after the opening ceremony, and now in 2017, not bloody one, this despite all the recent hype in that chunk of water of the other Queen Elizabeth, yes, to date at least, the lame-duck one, the floating airfield without an aircraft in sight save for the occasional foreign one!

Bah humbug to all this malevolent crap that old ex sailors are a grumpy bunch - surely,  all can see that we have a good cause to be grumpy.  At least they [swivel-chair admirals and their  tied-at-the-hip civil servants, sorry accountants] could wait until we are either well tucked-up in our final bunks or have gone up in a puff of smoke, before they start wrecking all that we worked hard for,  and for  little reward except for our on-going fierce pride at what was - long ago!

As for the Scots, I say good on yer willie, but remember that your bridge's got there because of the English [money and engineering skills] and not because of the Scots largely short on those necessary assets?

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Back to 1964 which I well remember the many manks and moans about cuts, poor pay and poor conditions of service: does Service life every change?

I was in Canada serving a two year commission in HM S/M Auriga in the 6th submarine squadron based on HMS Ambrose at Halifax Nova Scotia. Nova Scotia you will recall means 'New Scotland' and was largely populated in the 19th century [particularly] by Scots emigrating between 1841 and 1931 when over two million Scots settled in North America and Australia. Halifax and the town of Dartmouth are two largish populated areas which straddle the waterway leading up to Bedford Basin,  joined together by a huge road bridge called the Angus L McDonald Bridge: implicit in the names Angus & McDonald are a Scottish connection! Anyway, in 1964 on  September 4th  [although being many hours behind the UK, not the actual time]  when  the Forth Road Bridge was due to be opened, an ex pat Scottish contingent gathered at their 'Scottish bridge' to go through the motions of sending a congratulation to the Scottish people for their new road bridge. Beneath the Angus L McDonald bridge was a slightly busy naval scene [Halifax' naval base and dockyard] with my stalwart vessel alongside the wall  berthed behind a handful of RCN frigates.  Later on we read of a much busier 'naval scene' which was enacted below the Forth bridge by the twenty five RN vessels mentioned in this Times cutting below. Note the traditional 21-gun Royal Salute for Her Majesty fired by eight of those twenty five vessels, and the rockets fired from the Forth rail bridge. Note also that the 2017 opening had a performance of the magnificent Red Arrows, whereas the adverse weather put the mockers on an RAF fly-past at the 1964 opening. Ignore the mentioned picture which is much too grainy to be of any value to my readers.

Latter on there was the proverbial and inevitable court martial down in Portsmouth and this very small cutting tells one of that event.

Since nobody was hurt and the damage was slight, I say, bring it on! Collisions notwithstanding, please please remember the age old traditions of the Senior Service and its privileged role with the monarch. When the Queen is out and about near to salt water, then the navy shouldn't be far away, and the more there are, the better we will like it - and so too would the great United Kingdom public!