Army

2 Rifles Enjoy Christmas Festivities Before Kabul Deployment

Go-kart races and Christmas lunch were enjoyed by the soldiers at Thiepval Barracks in County Antrim.

Troops from the County Antrim-based 2 Rifles have celebrated Christmas ahead of their deployment to Afghanistan in Spring 2020.

The soldiers will fly to the capital, Kabul, to become the latest battalion to join Operation Toral, and help to improve the capabilities of the Afghan government's armed forces.

As part of the festivities, there were makeshift go-kart races at Thiepval Barracks in Lisburn, and officers served Christmas lunch to the lower ranks.

For Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Sam Cates, the emphasis on relaxation and spending time with loved ones is important ahead of a busy year.

"We'll be enjoying the Christmas break with our families and then straight back on the horse so to speak.

Enjoying Christmas lunch (Picture: PA).

"We start off in January with more training; some company level training, more range packages and on the vehicles, and then we go to our rehearsal exercise in February before deploying later in the spring."

In preparation for its Middle East deployment, the battalion undertook intensive training in the challenging climate and rugged terrain of Kenya in March.

Cover image: Soldiers of 2 Rifles enjoy improvised sleigh races at Thiepval Barracks in Co Antrim (Picture: PA).