With all the razzamatazz expected of the host nation, HMS Argyll arrived in Baltimore to join Americans in a week-long commemorative event celebrating the 200th birthday of the US National Anthem.
As Argyll entered the harbour sailing under Key Bridge there was an impressive 21 gun salute between the ship and Fort McHenry, honouring the work of Francis Scott Key who witnessed the bombardment of Fort McHenry by the Royal Navy in 1814. He turned his impressions into a poem which was subsequently set to music to and was to become the US National Anthem.
Those events in 1814 have prompted the Star Spangled Spectacular – seven days of firework displays, concerts, air shows, tall ships and three dozen warships from the host nation plus its many friends and allies around the world with HMS Argyll representing the UK.
As well as the gun salute, the frigate was serenaded alongside by the 1st Battalion Scots Guards Pipes and Drums – the oldest infantry battalion in the British Army – to the sound of cheers from crowd that had gathered to welcome the ship to their city.
During their time in Baltimore, which is just 30 miles from the US capital, Argyll’s sailors will play an integral part in several commemorative events including ceremonies at Fort McHenry and a service to honour the victims of the 9/11 attack in 2001.
The Plymouth based Type 23 frigate will also host VIPs and members of the general public aboard to show what the Royal Navy is capable of doing worldwide.
Leading Seaman David Laird said; “I’m excited about the opportunity of celebrating 200 years of the US National Anthem with the Americans and there are some amazing events that I will be part of.
“I am also looking forward to seeing the sights of Baltimore after our time at sea on Atlantic Patrol.”
The Spectacular is one of a series of events held in the USA to mark the bicentenary of the War of 1812 between Britain and the United States, with the Royal Navy providing representation at many of the anniversary events.
In the case of celebrations in Baltimore, they honour the work of Francis Scott Key who witnessed the bombardment of Fort McHenry by the Royal Navy in the Chesapeake Bay and turned his impressions into the poem The Defence of Fort McHenry.