IT isn't often that Army top brass are upstaged from the lower ranks. But it happened yesterday to the outgoing Governor of Edinburgh Castle, Major-General Jonathan Hall, when the show was more or less stolen by an 88-year-old veteran soldier.

Major-General Hall, the General Officer Commanding the Army in Scotland, is leaving to become Lieutenant-Governor of the Royal Hospital, Chelsea. In keeping with long-standing tradition, he was allowed the honour of firing the One O'Clock Gun under the guidance of Staff Sergeant Tom McKay, familiarly known as Tam the Gun.

By sheer coincidence, and shortly before the countdown to the ceremony, Edinburgh-born Chelsea Pensioner George Murray, in the capital for a reunion of 51st Division veterans, arrived on the scene - his first visit to the castle since he delivered milk there 77 years ago as an 11-year-old.

In his scarlet Chelsea Pensioner's tunic, he was instantly enlisted and, with the connivance of the Major-General himself, was recruited to stand alongside him and Staff Sgt McKay for the firing of the time signal gun.

As gun-shy reporters and watching tourists jumped at the blast, retired Colour Sgt Major Murray, who served in Europe and the Far East during the Second World War and was over 22 years in the Army, flinched not a bit.

Mr Murray, who keeps fit at regular ballroom dancing sessions, said afterwards: ''When I go back down south, I'll certainly have something to tell the boys. I lived in Holyrood Road, not far from here, as a youngster and I used to deliver milk to the castle. I never ever thought then that I'd be up here doing this today.''

Major-General Hall, who has served all over the world and has spent two-and-a-half years in Scotland, said that his time at the castle had been ''challenging, fulfilling and thoroughly enjoyable''.

He was towed from the castle in an open-topped Second World War artillery tractor to the sound of the pipes.

His successor as GOC and Castle Governor is Major-General Mark Strudwick, former Director of Infantry at Warminster, Wiltshire, who takes over on Monday.