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The Queen"s Diamond Jubilee in Torquay

In 2012 Britain will celebrate something truly unique in the modern world.
The weekend of 1st June will be the Country's opportunity to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.
No other country can boast a head of state who has been in place for sixty years.
All the more remarkable is the fact that this head of state has never been elected and remains as popular now as she ever has been.
Indeed, he later years as monarch are likely to be her most popular ever.
Not only will the weekend of the 1st June serve as an opportunity to celebrate her 60 years on the throne it also allows all communities in the United Kingdom the opportunity to reflect upon their personal experiences with the monarch and previous visits made by the Queen.
Torquay has obviously had its fair share of royal visits since 1952 but perhaps the most remarkable was the visit made by the Queen at the end of July 1969.
For it was on this occasion that the Queen presented new colours to the Western Fleet.
At that time the Royal Navy was split into Western and Eastern Fleets.
Whilst the eastern Fleet was generally deployed in the Pacific region, the larger Western Fleet was responsible for patrolling the North and South Atlantic, the Mediterranean as well as home waters.
The Western Fleet totalled 140 vessels at the time of which about 1/3 were gathered at Torquay that summer.
It must have been an incredible sight to have seen nearly forty warships including aircraft carriers and nuclear submarines at anchor just a short distance from shore.
In the evening the ships were floodlit so the spectacle was equally breathtaking at night.
By far the best vantage point would have been from Daddyhole Plain or from the cliffs around the Imperial Hotel.
The ships of the Fleet arrived in the Bay on the 26th July.
Throughout the afternoon and evening of Sunday 27th July about 20 vessels were open to the public.
Then on Monday 28th July the Royal Family aboard the Royal yacht Britannia conducted a whole series of visits to individual ships as Britannia sailed through the ships at anchor.
On Tuesday after a flypast, the Royal Yacht Britannia led the fleet out to sea before eventually returning to Torquay where the Queen came ashore.
The whole event must have been spectacular and is one that none of us are likely to see again.
For a start, a concentration of such a large number of naval vessels would provide too much of a risk in these days on International terrorism.
The thought that twenty of these vessels would throw open their doors to the public is even more inconceivable today.
Furthermore the entire Royal Navy Fleet has shrunk to such an extent that such a gathering of ships would now be impossible.
However, for those with a little imagination standing atop Daddyhole Plain it is possible to imagine the fleet arranged before you in the Bay.
In this Diamond Jubilee year there are plenty of other attractions and Torquay hotels that can draw visitors.
On the Jubilee Weekend itself there is a full programme of municipal events.
Individual businesses are also being encouraged to fly flags and get out the bunting.


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