Saturday, June 4th 2005 - 21:00 UTC

Majestic Royal Navy display in Faslane

An unprecedented weekend of Royal Navy display will be taking place over the weekend in the river Clyde, Scotland.

Thousands of service personnel, scores of aircraft, dozens of ships and submarines are gathering on the Clyde for three major events ? the start of international maritime exercise Neptune Warrior, the Red Arrows appearing in front of 20,000 people at HM Naval Base Clyde's annual Faslane Fair and Glasgow's commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar.

From today ships and aircraft from 14 nations are gathering on the river for Exercise Neptune Warrior, which takes place off the West Coast of Scotland until 16 June. Arguably the highest profile visiting ship will be Type 22 Frigate HMS Cumberland, which will act as the RN flagship over the weekend alongside four Danish, three German and one Australian ship all in Govan's King George V dock.

Some 16 visiting ships will be using facilities of HM Naval Base Clyde at Faslane, with a further five German vessels in Glasgow's Yorkhill Quay.

This Saturday around 20,000 people will gather on Helensburgh Pier for the annual Faslane Fair, which this year is raising funds for Macmillan Cancer Relief's Lomond and Clyde Carers' Scheme. Festivities begin at 11.30hrs ahead of the famous RAF Red Arrows taking to the skies over Helensburgh at 12.30hrs.

Other naval attractions throughout the day include the Type 23 Frigate HMS Westminster open to visitors, the Royal Navy's Black Cat Lynx Helicopter Display team, a Navy Sea King search and rescue demonstration by a crew from HMS Gannet at Prestwick, boat tours of the HM Naval Base Clyde site and combat displays by the Royal Marines.

On Sunday the Royal Navy's most senior officer the First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Alan West will join the Glasgow's Lord Provost Liz Cameron to mark the 200th anniversary of the Royal Navy's victory at the Battle of Trafalgar at a service at Glasgow Cathedral followed by a wreath laying ceremony at the Nelson Monument on Glasgow Green. This will include tree plantings as part of Trafalgar Woods project and a march past by the Royal Marine Band Scotland.

This event is the first to mark Scotland's significant contribution to the Battle of Trafalgar - five of Nelson's 27 captains of the Fleet were Scottish. In addition, Scotland's industry contributed via timber products, Baxter's of Dundee made Victory's sails, iron cannons from Falkirk and, most importantly, crew members ? almost 30% of the crew hailed from Scottish towns and fishing villages. Nelson's doctor and the woman who embalmed his body when he died were Scottish. In addition, children as young as 10 were members of the 18,000 strong crew during the battle, the youngest being a cabin boy from Leith.

In Scotland 30,000 trees are being planted as part of the Trafalgar Woods project, through the direct involvement of up to 1,000 children and hundreds of interested individuals. By planting trees with young people at Trafalgar Woods across Scotland, connections to the events of the past will be made through practical action, breathing new life into its landscape. The Woodland Trust Scotland is working towards six separate Trafalgar woods: three will be named after the fleet of 27 ships; two will be named after the Frigates; and one will be a community woodland for the people of Dundee to commemorate their maritime heritage.

Rear Admiral Nick Harris, Flag Officer Scotland, Northern England and Northern Ireland, said, "As home to one of three Naval Bases in the UK, the Clyde continues to play a tremendously important role in the past, present and future of the Royal Navy.

"Over the course of this weekend three events thousands of people across Glasgow and the wider Clyde area will have the opportunity to have a taste of the incredibly important role of the Royal Navy in the life of this country. From the traditions of the Trafalgar celebrations, to playing a major role in our local communities, to further developing our capabilities with other forces on the land, sea and air, the Royal Navy remains a safeguard for UK interests worldwide. (RN).-

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