A Fleet Review is a gathering of the Royal Navy's ship for some special occasion, typically to celebrate a coronation, or other important anniversary.
Such reviews may also take place when the Royal Navy considers it necessary to impress foreign visitors. Fleet Reviews generally take place at Spithead, on the Solent, but have been held at other venues, including the Firth of Clyde. The term Fleet Review generally refer to such gatherings when held within the Commonwealth, and have also been referred to as Fleet Visits.
Historically, they are said to have taken place as far back as the 15th century, when the reigning monarch, or their viceroy, would observe their fleet.
These gathering are also organised by the United States, in which case they are referred to as Naval Reviews.
Fleet Reviews in Scotland
Only two Fleet Reviews have taken place in Scotland during the reign of Queen Elizabeth II. The first took place at Invergordon, between May 27 and 28, 1957. The second, which has been described as a partial review), took place at the Tail of the Bank in the Firth of Clyde, between August 7 and 11, 1965.
During a review, it was standard practice to take members of the public out to the ships during the day, and show these groups around the vessels during the day. In the evening, more formal events, such as cocktail parties, were held on board for officers and their guests, while the crews would attend dances organised onshore.
At night, floodlights would illuminate the ships.
2002 marked the occasion of the Queen's sixtieth birthday, an opportunity which would normally have triggered a Fleet Review. However, there was no review, on grounds of cost.
It is now considered highly unlikely that such an event will ever take place in Scotland again, simply because of the cost.
The chances of any further Fleet Reviews have been further reduced by ongoing reviews and reductions in UK defence spending as whole, and the diminishing size of the Royal Navy.
The US Navy 6th Fleet carried out a fleet visit to the Tail of the Bank towards the end of the 1950s.
The exact date of this event is unknown, so any further details would be appreciated.
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