To mark the 60th anniversary of the accession of Queen Victoria a grand Naval Review was held at Spithead. Where on June 26th 1897, was gathered the greatest armada the world had ever seen. No fewer than 165 ships flying the White Ensign were present. There were battleships of the Majestic and Royal Sovereign Class, the Cruisers Terrible and Powerful, Blake and Blenheim, the old Ironclads Devastation and Thunderer, many light cruisers, gunboats, 27 and 30 knot destroyers and at one end of the line 6 sailing brigs, the last remnants of the age of masts and yards. The entire fleet was manned by over 38,000 officers and men.
It was on this occasion that Turbinia after permission had been obtained, was to steam up and down the lines and astonish everyone by her performance. Along with the Queen was the Prince of Wales and Prince Henry of Prussia, the Kaiser's brother were also present. Charles Parsons had once written, "If you believe in a principle, never damage it with a poor impression. You must go all the way." Just as the review began, as Prince Edward appeared, and the bands struck up the national anthem, Turbinia dashed out from her position and into the passing review.
The sudden, dramatic, appearance and sped past the line of ships made spectators shouted aloud in amazement. The authorities became alarmed and sent out a picket boat to stop Turbinia but, as she was going so much faster, the wash she created nearly sank the pursuing navy vessel. Before any further disciplinary action could be taken, however, Prince Henry of Prussia sent Parsons his congratulations and asked for a return. Turbinia had triumphed!
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