News story

British forces celebrate Diamond Jubilee in Afghanistan

Being thousands of miles from home hasn't stopped British forces celebrating the Queen's Diamond Jubilee in Afghanistan.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The distance and difficult conditions haven’t stopped them, and there’s just the same amount of enthusiasm and pageantry as if they were back in the UK.

As well as all the celebrations being important in their own right, it was also important to show everyone back home that, in and amongst the hard work being done in Afghanistan, there was still time to relax and celebrate, even if it was just for an hour.

Events included over 300 troops gathering in an ‘E II R’ formation, which was no mean feat, getting sailors, soldiers and airmen from across the central hub of the mission in Helmand together to show their appreciation for Her Majesty, their Commander-in-Chief.

Obtaining a record of the event was also a challenge, with a ‘cherry picker’ crane, as well as four photographers and videographers, being drafted in to make sure the formation was captured in all its glory.

Across Helmand, activity has been mirroring the celebrations back in the UK, with a ‘Big Jubilee Lunch’ being organised at Camp Bastion, and street parties taking place across Camp Bastion and at Forward Operating Base Shawqat in the Nad ‘Ali district.

The Band of the Corps of Royal Engineers entertained troops with renditions of ‘Rule Britannia’ and ‘The British Grenadiers’, among other pieces, as they had their ‘Big Lunch’ under Union Flag bunting, with red, white and blue tablecloths.

In Nad ‘Ali, egg-and-spoon races, tugs of war and sack races were among the entertainment for the soldiers taking a short bit of time out of working life in Afghanistan.

The UK Medical Group in Camp Bastion ran a fete, with a barbecue, while senior officers getting put in makeshift stocks and soaked with wet sponges, a tombola, sack races, and face-painting were among the other things going on during the celebrations.

However the Jubilee was marked in Helmand province, the recurring theme for all in Afghanistan was the sense of camaraderie and enjoying the opportunity to celebrate together.

Published 6 June 2012