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At the time the bridge was Europe’s longest suspension bridge and it linked Edinburgh to Perth across the River Forth cutting more than an hour off the journey and opening up Fife to business in the central belt and England.

On the 4th September 1964 day tens of thousands of spectators of whom I was one, turned up to watch the royal cavalcade slowly cross the 3,300ft (1,005m) central span of the bridge.

All three armed services were involved in the ceremony. Soldiers of Lowland regiments from the south linked up symbolically with a Highland brigade. Twenty-five Royal Navy ships fired a salute of guns and after a brief opening speech from the Queen there was an RAF fly-past.

Afterwards the Queen returned across the Forth by ferry, marking the final trip in the 800-year-old service. At its peak, the ferry service was running 40,000 trips a year, carrying 1.5m people.

I flew over the bridge, and the parallel and much older rail bridge, a couple of days ago on my way back from Madeira. It is still a splendid sight though it’s changed a bit from the days when I used to fly over it in Chipmunks from RAF Turnhouse when it was still being built.

Lots of renovation and paint seem to have been expended on the bridge which was listed as a heritage building in 2002 and has certainly added value to Scottish business.

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