Thousands of armed forces personnel were working across the globe on Christmas to help keep Britain safe, so people at home can enjoy the festive season. The armed forces are on duty 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, and Christmas is no exception.
This year, around 6,400 sailors, marines, soldiers, airmen and airwomen will be deployed on operations. From Somalia and Ukraine to efforts to protect British people against coronavirus and threats here in the United Kingdom, the armed forces were deployed across all corners of the globe taking part in 39 operations across 46 different countries.
Eleven Royal Navy vessels will be deployed overseas this Christmas, while others will be held at high-readiness ready to respond when required. HMS Medway will be providing support to overseas territories in the Caribbean, while HMS Forth was in the Falkland Islands.
HMS Montrose, HMS Shoreham, HMS Brocklesby, HMS Chiddingfold and HMS Penzance also joined RFA Cardigan Bay in the Gulf providing protection to international shipping lanes in the Straits of Hormuz.
In Europe, around 150 soldiers from the Queen’s Dragoon Guards and Royal Yeomanry Reservists were deployed in Poland and more than 800 British personnel from 5 Rifles were deployed in Estonia, both operations providing support to allies as part of NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence (EFP).
Around 100 soldiers from 3 Rifles and 4 Scots were also in Ukraine providing training to Ukrainian Forces and 260 personnel will be working to support the UN peacekeeping mission in Cyprus, which prevents the recurrence of fighting in the region.