Warships Join 'All The Bells'

Portsmouth Naval Base resounded to the sound of bells this morning (July 27th) as part of celebrations heralding the start of the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Bells on two warships alongside in the base - HMS Illustrious and HMS Edinburgh - plus ones on HMS Victory and at the entrance to Nelson Gate were rung for three minutes from 8.12am.

The event was part of the Cultural Olympiad project 'All the Bells' involving as many bells ringing simultaneously across the country on the first day of the Games, exactly 12 hours before the opening ceremony.

The ceremony of All the Bells echoes a long British tradition of ringing bells to celebrate historic events. Two previous examples were the Queen's coronation in 1953 and the end of the second world war.

Captain Martin Connell, HMS Illustrious' Commanding Officer, said:

"I am very pleased that HMS Illustrious has been able to play a part in marking the start of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

"All of us on board, along with the rest of the nation, have been looking forward to welcoming this great sporting event to Britain.

"I am sure that the next few weeks will produce many memorable moments of sporting history."

Commander Tim Ash, Base Executive Officer, added:

"The Naval Base was delighted to take part in such a momentous occasion.

"The sound was tremendous and I felt it was an excellent way of bringing together communities on the opening day of the Games."