Prince William

Prince William Tells Military Personnel 'Everyone Is Very Grateful'

The Duke of Cambridge used video call to speak to representatives of the Navy, Army and Royal Air Force currently deployed around the world.

The Duke of Cambridge has called servicemen and women currently serving overseas to mark Remembrance week and discuss what Remembrance means to them.

Prince William spoke to deployed representatives of the Royal Navy, the British Army and the Royal Air Force on a video call on 5 November.

"I hope that you know that we are still thinking about all of you and the important job you’re all doing, and that everyone is very grateful," the Duke of Cambridge said.

He added: "I hope that over Remembrance Sunday we can remind people just how committed and determined, and how brilliant all the people we have in the Forces are around the world."

Flight Sergeant Gemma Thomson, Leading Physical Instructor Damon Bell and Corporal Jiwan Kumar Thapa were on the call with Prince William.

Speaking to Leading Physical Instructor Damon Bell, who is deployed on HMS Montrose in the Gulf on Operation Kipion, the Duke of Cambridge joked about needing to get back into shape after lockdown.

He said: "I remember being beasted by people like you, Damon, on the [HMS] Iron Duke.

"The on-deck PT was always quite a fun afternoon. I think after a number of lockdowns I might need your PT skills to help get back into shape again."

Leading Physical Instructor Bell replied: "Always on the end of a Zoom call, Sir, whenever you’re ready!"

Prince William attended the Remembrance Sunday proceedings at the Cenotaph in London on 8 November (Picture: MOD).

William also had the chance to hear the special significance Remembrance Day holds for Flight Sergeant Gemma Thomson, from RAF Wyton in Cambridgeshire, who is serving in Qatar on Operation Shader, the US-led mission against so-called Islamic State.

She told the Duke of Cambridge her son was born on Remembrance Day in 2014.

Prince William remarked: "To be born on Remembrance Sunday is a very special birthday."

Flt Sgt Thomson said that it means Remembrance is a "very important time" for her.

"Remembrance is so much bigger than myself is something I articulate to my son when I’m making him lay a wreath on his birthday," she added.

During the call, Corporal Jiwan Kumar Thapa, of the Queen’s Gurkha Signals, who is stationed in Somalia as part of Operation Tangham to help defeat extremism and aid regional stability, described how his father and grandfather had served in Gurkha regiments for the British Army.

Prince William said: "You followed in a very proud history.

"We are very grateful for all the hard work and wonderful history that we have had with the Gurkhas. You have a fearsome reputation around the world."

About 11,000 members of the Armed Forces are currently deployed on operations around the world.

The Duchess of Cambridge, meanwhile, spoke with bereaved military families, telling them they should feel "proud" of their achievements and "the sacrifice and the bravery that they've shown".

Kate spoke to women who have mourned the loss of partners or immediate family, hearing about the support they have been given by the Royal British Legion.

Cover image: Prince William spoke to Flight Sergeant Gemma Thomson, Leading Physical Instructor Damon Bell and Corporal Jiwan Kumar Thapa ahead of Remembrance Day (Picture: Kensington Palace).