The Queen's Jubilee Anniversaries after Her Silver Jubilee. However although note that the full programme for the 1953 Coronation Fleet Review can be found at this URL Bits and Pieces Volume II or at the bottom of this page in the link DIAMOND_JUBILEE_AND_THE_ROYAL_NAVY.

A very special and in high demand Queen's Silver Jubilee Celebration OPERATION ORDER?

Note the dimensions and the size of this op order which for the top picture is 12" top to bottom and 9" left to right.  For the bottom picture it is 2" in depth, and pretty heavy to lug about.  513 copies were issued. The weight of a copy is just over 4lbs. That is 2052 lbs in total = 931 kilo's or 0.9 of an imperial ton. Because of the sheer numbers issued it can hardly be classed as a collector item, but it is known that what have survived are now in Museums, and very few indeed are in private hands as my copy is. Many were issued to visiting nation's warships and lots to the mercantile fleet vessels. Upon issuing from a lone central point, each receiving authority's name was underlined in Part Zulu so that an accurate issue could take place with nobody missed out and no authority getting more copies than allocated. Mine is heavily underlined as FOF2. In the introduction and guidance notes signed by Admiral H C LEACH the C-in-C at article 12 is states under Orders  'These orders are for official use only.  They are given to non-service authorities to assist them in planning their participation in the Review and are not for publication. There are no instructions as to how they should be returned or destroyed at the end of the review, and there are no security markings.  My guess is that copies were retained to assist planners in the preparation of future Anniversary Naval Reviews [Golden and hopefully Diamond] and that nobody could have guessed that the Silver Jubilee would the first and last Review afforded to Her Majesty.  This coupled with the taking away of a Royal Yacht must have hurt her Majesty in a great way, but as always she was plucky and gracious enough not to show it. I suppose for the navy and their C-in-C her reign could be compared to the saying, coined for the weather quote March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb unqote equating to everybody rushed to 1977 for her Silver celebrations  but come her Diamond Jubilee nobody wanted to know and she was left to her own devices - shameful - BLOODY SHAMEFUL!

Whilst not a well defined collectors piece because it is hardly scarce, it is nevertheless very special and history, especially naval history, will HONOUR 'this' book for all time to come and the reason I say that follows.

How can a monarch of Queen Elizabeth II's superlative calibre, the longest serving in our long and proud history, who has served us with great dignity, love and given continuous moral guidance through thick and thin, loved admired respected by countless millions in the UK and around the world, but denied the anniversaries which we all corporately and personally celebrate, each and every one, but pointedly those of silver, gold and diamond, and by her own Parliament, the same Parliament who brokered a deal to give the city of Edinburgh a special tourist attraction denying Her Majesty of the use of HER Royal Yacht Britannia, will see just one traditional British Naval Review in the whole of the 60 plus year reign. It is a travesty, and this book [operations order] manifestly records that occasion and we will see no more for our precious Queen!

If you have a copy, hold onto it, for in time to come it will command a healthy price tag.

Think on first to  this penned pathetic poem - so what?

All the "Son et Lumiere Fireworks" ashore which are a great bore

Cannot possibly  compete with the pageants of Yore,

When the Monarch’s naval services all right and proper

Ready aye ready to deliver a whopper.

To REALLY show our love and respects to our Lady Sovereign monarch

Which civilians, but with good grace, can only do with the low esteem of a basking shark,

To match the panache of the Royal Navy, who do it routinely well

Yet on this occasion are debarred from doing so because of a political quell,

Of reducing our navy to numbers so low, shortages of an embarrassing score

Resulting in an a total loss of  our ceremonial duties  at the Golden anniversary and more.  


Profuse apologies for the poem!

 We, my family and I, and my thousands of peers colleagues and friends in the 1977's witnessed  a Jubilee celebration of unimaginable swank and pageantry, regrettably in "modern times" as a one- off, ergo, it was never again repeated, period.  As such, the Queens Golden Jubilee and Diamond Jubilee were as for naught for the navy or for the country at large: all ceremonial State pageantry was from the Golden anniversary onwards devoid totally of a naval presence, save that the Diamond anniversary was a so-called [and my wife and I scrambled  for a Thames side seat to witness H.M., doing of all things] a Thames 'sail-by' from Battersea Bridge to east of Tower Bridge.  Not only had H.M., been denied her personal Royal Yacht Britannia as her personal base under a anti-royal Labour Party front bench, but she had been denied the pageantry of naval ceremony favouring the Royal Family above all others.

In that 'Thames sail by' any body with a boat [of any description, sail, powered, rowing] got in on the act spoiling, literally the splendour and majesty of the occasion. It appeared to most of us as a social free-for-all.

The Monarch's Jubilee's  were a great favorite with the British public, and untold thousands were  expecting a repeat of the Silver Jubilee naval celebrations off Portsmouth.  It wasn't to be, and both the Golden and the Diamond celebration were delivered without even a semblance  of  a naval influence or involvement!

The Golden Jubilee in fairness was a splendid affair but almost devoid of any contingent from the armed forces: it was a 90% civilianised sponsored and involved attraction but very well organised and choreographed. Like so many others we had pushed the boat out and had booked a two night stay in a hotel just outside the perimeter wall of Buckingham Palace quite close to the entrance to the Royal Mews.  It was a beautiful warm and sunny day and most people were suitably dressed and in celebration mood. It began with a set piece on Horse Guards Parade and then a drive down the Mall to the Palace, and as the float's passed, increasingly they were followed by ever more important vehicles  [for a one-off example only, an open top Rolls Royce carrying holders of the Victorian Cross] followed by Her Majesty and accompanying royal entourage. Most of the displays [floats] exited either via  Constitution Hill or Birdcage Walk finally witnessing the Royal party gain access into the Palace. Then came the traditional balcony wave which gave us a glimpse, for the first and last time of anything military, of a Household divisional band playing the National Anthem and I believe a version of the song 'Congratulations'.  It was pleasant but most of us on these precious occasions look for and enjoy pageantry and not a commercial carnival. That was followed by a truly spectacular fly past involving waves of military aircraft, Chinook and lots of other types of helicopters, but best of all a very low flying Concord escorted by the RAF Red Arrows.  The day finished with an invited audience of media figures, VIP's and show business stars attending a Royal reception in the Palace gardens to which we were not privy. 

 Ten years after being present in central London, in the Mall quite near to Queen Victoria's Memorial for the Golden Jubilee anniversary, we witnessed the Diamond Jubilee anniversary which in appalling dull and down pour weather was essentially a 'sail-by [as it was billed] of a barge loaned by a rich entrepreneur to the Port of London authority responsible for river traffic on the Thames, which was decked-out as the central royal barge.  It would sail from Battersea Bridge landing stage to a landing stage  just further east than Tower Bridge at St Catherine's Dock and there Her Majesty and other Royals would disembark and travel back to the Palace by road. It was a great disappointment because of the weather and the Queen stayed well inside out of view whilst Prince Philip did try his best to avoid the downpours to deliver hefty waves to those on both banks which so the news said later played host to scores of thousands of expectant people.  We were on the south bank near to Festive Hall which fortunately had opened its toilet facilities otherwise I don't know how we would have managed. There, fortuitously, we found a good viewing position with decent seats and shortly afterwards this couple arrived and bagged the remaining seats. Very soon we learned that he was a squadron leader in the RAF and that he and his wife had vouched to save seats for fellow officers and their wives/partners. We soon gelled and found them to be good fun, a laugh, which helped to ward off the rain with by now everything utterly wet through and miserable.  Knowing the timing of the 'sail-by' and that as soon as the Queens barge had passed our position nothing would happen on the south bank, so what next? Our hotel was in central London.  Then I had a bright idea. When in the navy I had often stayed in the UJC at Waterloo, and whilst in business post navy, working in London, I had sometimes had a cause to stay overnight, and better to pay £100 [whatever] for B&B than to pay outlandishly ridiculous prices in town north of the river in a hotel: so I kept up my subscription now as a civilian ex navy.  

Suddenly I remembered my UJC Life Membership after 50 years of paying an annual fee, for most of those a humble and insignificant sum, but now no more fees due for the rest of my life. Part of that Membership was to be allowed to  use the club with invited guests. Then I remembered that my wallet was locked in my bedroom safe in my central London bedroom.  Commissioned officers/ex officers are not allowed membership or weren't at that time. Brainwave, I temporarily left the group and hotfooted it to the end of Waterloo Bridge and the club and told the doorkeeper where my card was and that I was a life member.  As quick as a pursued hare he had left seeking authority and a few minutes later beckoned me into a side entrance leading to the office suite. There I was quizzed at length and my answers pleased them for I was given carte blanche to collect my friends and to enjoy the clubs facilities with pleasure.

As I got back to the Festival Hall environs the group still there, were debating what to do next including getting off home which was RAF Benson in Oxfordshire.  What about a nice drink to warm the cockles hoping to salvage something from the miserable and yes, in pageantry terms, a most disappointing day. Hesitant at first but the men soon got around to agreeing, but wondered about where to go? Don't worry about that we will use my club.  With eye brow's still raised we walked the short distance to Waterloo East station to be greeted with "Good afternoon again Sir and if I can assist don't hesitate to ask me to do so". Well, I think the six of them were taken aback [three crabfat officers and ladies] and so was my wife Beryl, but we soon got down to a few serious drinks, each of us digging deep as our round came around. Fortunately none of us were to drive, Beryl and I to tube it to our hotel and the fly-boys to train it to deepest darkest Oxfordshire. It was a smashing end to an iffy day, and after sharing a bottle of wine with my dear wife and an excellent dinner,  I turned in feeling good about 'my club' but oh so sorry for the way the Queen was made to celebrate her Diamond Jubilee. I would add here for those of you who are historically skeptics and class conscious, that the UJC today [and at the time of the Diamond Jubilee in 2012] is a very well appointed and a good quality London hotel offering services which in full commercial terms would command at the very least a 30 to 40% additional premium in other parts of central London, having an outstanding set of public services, and much of the City of Westminster in easy walking distance of the Club.

Back in 1909 see the navy used the Thames for a Fleet Review a spectacular beyond belief and never again attempted, and during its assembly only the the whole length of the Thames from well east of Greenwich to the Houses of Parliament was out of bounds for shipping - the same was true when the Fleet sailed. The vessels would have caused a great deal of turbulence churning up the river with deep draughts and thrashing giant propellers. In 2012, 106 years later the Thames was shut from Battersea Bridge down to just east of Tower Bridge passing under twelve bridges and its full width was used for a water carnival with the Queen in the middle of the river and all heading east in full carnival mood stopping and disbanding having passed under Tower Bridge, all churning up the river as they progressed along, in all, in excess of 1000 crafts/vessels. I don't think it struck the same chord as did the navy in 1909 and the weather didn't help the carnival to be a joyous affair, this on top of not one glimmer of pageantry to be seen?  

One of the comments regularly voiced was that at the Silver Jubilee the medal celebrating it was rationed and each ship/establishment got very few, leaving the final decision to who had been selected to each commanding officer. It was the result of a Government edict and not by a Royal Command. However, come the Golden and then Diamond Jubilee's every serving member of the armed forces fittingly received a medal and rightly so.

This file, amongst other things tells one about the arrangement for Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee DIAMOND_JUBILEE_AND_THE_ROYAL_NAVY at the end of which you will be able to view the 1953 Coronation Fleet Review the largest fleet spectacular ever.

Click here for the URL of the Silver Jubilee and read Story Line No19.