UK servicemen and women deployed abroad have sent messages to their families and friends wishing them a Happy Christmas.
Thousands of Armed Forces personnel are working across the globe this Christmas to help keep Britain safe at home and abroad. They are deployed in a variety of environments and on numerous operations of different natures and scale.
Currently around 1,000 people are working to fight Daesh and train the Iraqi security forces from locations in Iraq and the wider Middle East as well as from RAF Akrotiri, Cyprus. In the Gulf, HMS Ocean and other Royal Navy warships are also deployed over the festive period.
Since 1969 the UK has had a submarine on patrol for every minute of every day, providing the UK’s nuclear deterrent and this Christmas is no different.
In the South Atlantic, around 1,200 personnel are stationed in the Falkland Islands. In Afghanistan, troops from the Army and other Services are training Afghan National Security Forces.
18 ships and submarines are at sea and 4,500 sailors, marines, soldiers, airmen and airwomen are serving on operations across the globe in locations ranging from Somalia and Nigeria to Kuwait and Ukraine.
Demonstrating the versatility of UK Armed Forces earlier this month, the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment (2 Lancs) travelled to Iraq to spend six months training Iraqi Security Forces and Kurdish Security Forces. This time last year the same soldiers helped British victims of flooding over the Christmas period.
Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said:
For our Armed Forces duty never stops and we pay tribute to their unerring determination and professionalism in dealing with the threats Britain faces.
This Christmas, like any other day, our brave servicemen and women are securing our skies, patrolling the seas and hitting Daesh terrorists hard.
At Christmas, it’s particularly important to take a moment to think of those deployed on our behalf across the globe and to let them know how grateful we are for everything that they do to keep Britain safe.
Commander of the British Forces, Colonel Andrew Dennis, based in Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, had this message for everyone at home in the UK and across the globe:
Christmas greetings from all serving soldiers, sailors and airmen currently deployed on Op SHADER in the Middle East. Although far from home and away from families and friends we are celebrating Christmas with all troops from across the coalition and marking this special day in the usual style of the British Armed Forces. We wish you all a very Happy Christmas and thank you for the continued support that you have given us over the years and wish you a prosperous New Year.