Are the UK Armed Forces on duty over Christmas?

Are the UK Armed Forces on duty over Christmas?

The UK Armed Forces work 24/7, 365 days a year across the globe to keep our nation safe and the festive period is no exception

Our sailors, soldiers and aviators are currently deployed overseas, tackling terrorism, preserving peace and ensuring the safety of the UK.

Since March 2020, the men and women from across the UK Armed Forces have been working tirelessly alongside our NHS in the fight against COVID-19. But despite us all living through a pandemic, we are deployed on more operations than ever, with 6,100 sailors, soldiers, aviators and Royal Marines deployed over the festive period.

HMS Tamar ships company took the opportunity to celebrate Christmas Day early.
HMS Tamar ship’s company took the opportunity to celebrate Christmas Day early.

This year they are deployed across multiple continents including on 22 operations in 30 countries across the globe, including in multinational efforts to control COVID-19.

This includes providing support to Overseas Territories in the Caribbean and in the Falkland Islands, as well as providing protection to international shipping lanes in the Gulf.

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.

British troops from Estonia during Christmas.
British troops from Estonia during Christmas.

In Europe, 650 British personnel are deployed in the Baltic States offering reassurance to our Allies as part of NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence (EFP).

Around 100 men and women will be in Ukraine providing training to Ukrainian Forces.

Gdsm Davies, Cassidy-Ballard, Phillips open presents donated by children from The Forest School, North Yorkshire, Erbil International Airport while on Op SHADER.
Gdsm Davies, Cassidy-Ballard, Phillips open presents donated by children from The Forest School, North Yorkshire, Erbil International Airport while on Op SHADER.

220 personnel will also be working to support the UN peacekeeping force in Cyprus, which prevents the recurrence of fighting in the region.

Personnel from all three Services will also be working from RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus, Iraq and across the wider Middle East as part of the fight against Daesh.

British personnel deployed to Mali in support of the UN Peacekeeping mission celebrate Christmas.
British personnel deployed to Mali in support of the UN Peacekeeping mission celebrate Christmas.

British Forces will also be deployed on peacekeeping and counter-terror missions across Africa this Christmas.

In Mali, more than 400 UK Armed Forces personnel are on two operations. RAF Chinook helicopters from RAF Odiham in Hampshire are working alongside their French counterparts on counter-terrorism operations. The Long Range Reconnaissance Group are supporting the UN peacekeeping mission to help promote peace and counter instability.

British Soldiers deployed to Somalia during Christmas.
British soldiers deployed to Somalia during Christmas.

In Somalia, there are 65 British Service personnel deployed to support peacekeeping and training missions with Somali Forces.

An RAF Voyager aircraft sits in the harsh winter weather at Mount Pleasant Complex, Falkland Islands while personnel work to
A RAF Voyager aircraft sits in the harsh winter weather at Mount Pleasant Complex, Falkland Islands while personnel work to ensure the snow is cleared.

In Gibraltar, around 411 military personnel from all three Services, including 230 personnel from the Royal Gibraltar Regiment, are based there to provide support to the British Overseas Territory.

In the South Atlantic, around 860 personnel from the Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Air Force are stationed in the Falkland Islands.

RAF Typhoon moves to intercept a Russian military aircraft heading towards British air space off the coast of north-west Scotland.

Also on duty at home over 1,100 military personnel are alongside our NHS supporting the government’s response to COVID-19.

The UK’s Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) from the Royal Air Force as always will be ready to protect our skies, while the Royal Navy protect the UK’s water from above and below the waves.

A Grenadier Guards Staff Sergeant holding a Pace Stick instructs his men in the next activity of the day.
A Grenadier Guards Colour Sergeant holding a pace stick instructs his men in the next activity of the day.

Soldiers from the Coldstream Guards. the Grenadier Guards and the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment will guard Buckingham Palace, St James’s Palace, the Tower of London and Windsor Castle over Christmas and the New Year.

Find out where else the UK Armed Forces are deployed here👇

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Stories from the Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen of the UK Armed Forces around the globe.

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