Where to go and what to see when you're in the Cape

Dec 11

Beneath grey skies and with a hint of rain in the air members of the Hout Bay and Llandudno Heritage Trust welcomed the royal naval vessel, the HMS Clyde, into Hout Bay with a rolling salvo of six cannon fired from the historic East Fort site on Chapman’s Peak.

A small crowd braved the cold winds to witness the ceremony which began with a practice firing of the large 1752 cannon as a salute to the Republic of South Africa.  Then, as the HMS Clyde was spotted through the mists on the horizon, everyone moved down to the lower firing area to welcome her majesty’s ship into Hout Bay.

The gunners, dressed in the smart blue and red uniforms of the French Pondicherry Regiment, gave the salute from six eighteen pounder cannon (circa1755) as the smallish grey cruiser sailed ceremoniously past the fort.  Two honorary gunners were the “Consul” of the Republic of Hout Bay and a member of the National Parks Department.

The ceremonial sail past celebrated South Africa’s “historic maritime links with the United Kingdom and the rich cultural heritage that we share.”  In memory of the Falklands War, the ceremony began with Rod Steward’s famous song, “We are sailing ...” which was played when the British warships set sail during the Falklands conflict.

The HMS Clyde has been refitted in the Simonstown Naval shipyards and will now return for duty to the Falkland Islands.  As a triumphant send-off, the Radeksky March by Johann Strauss was played while the crowd clapped enthusiastically.

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