Irish Guards bandsmen stand by Royal Hospital Chelsea Christmas Tree

Where Are Military Personnel Deployed This Christmas?

A total of 11,000 servicemen and women will be deployed overseas this festive season.

Irish Guards bandsmen stand by Royal Hospital Chelsea Christmas Tree

Christmas is all about spending time with loved ones.

However, every year members of the military sacrifice their festive period in order to protect their country.

This year, 11,000 sailors, soldiers, airmen and Royal Marines will be deployed on operations over the festive period.

They are deployed in multiple continents on 35 operations in 30 countries across the globe, from Somalia to South Sudan, from Ukraine to Estonia.

    While families at home celebrate Christmas, troops will be working around the clock in many time zones to keep the nation safe and protect the UK’s interests.

    In total 14 naval vessels will be at sea over Christmas.

    Nearly 1,300 men and women will be working across eight Royal Navy ships.

    These include landing ship RFA Mounts Bay, which is protecting UK Overseas Territories in the Caribbean, and survey ship HMS Enterprise, which is taking a break from the Pacific to visit South Korea.

    HMS Forth, having taken over duties in the South Atlantic from HMS Clyde in November, will be spending her first Christmas as the Falkland Islands' Protection Vessel. 

    She will be joined by HMS Scott, mapping the waters of the South Atlantic and heading to Antarctica in the new year.

    The Type 45 destroyer HMS Defender and Type 23 Frigate HMS Montrose are in the Gulf.

    Minehunters HMS Ledbury, HMS Blyth, HMS Shoreham, HMS Brocklesby and RFAs Cardigan Bay and Wave Knight will be protecting and ensuring free trade in the Gulf and the Indian Ocean.

    Since 1969, the UK has also had a submarine on patrol for every minute of every day, providing the UK’s nuclear deterrent and this Christmas is no different, as 150 men and women will be abroad the Vanguard-class submarine.

    The serving personnel on board the submarine will be submerged on Christmas day, cut off from the world and working six-hour shifts.

    The Armed Forces will also be busy at home.

    The Squadrons of the UK’s Quick Reaction Alert will be on duty at RAF Lossiemouth and RAF Coningsby, many of them ready in their green flight suits waiting for the call to scramble and protect UK airspace.

    Also on duty at home will be troops of the Household Division, keeping guard outside royal residences in London and Windsor.

    Blues and Royals Lance Corporals by Royal Hospital Chelsea Christmas Tree
    Two Blues and Royals soldiers at Royal Hospital Chelsea (Picture: MOD).

    Currently, around 1,000 people are working to fight Daesh and train the local security forces from locations in Iraq and the wider Middle East as well as from RAF Akrotiri, Cyprus.

    Almost 1,000 Army personnel are in Afghanistan training British allies.

    In the South Atlantic, more than 1,000 personnel are stationed in the Falkland Islands.

    Christmas graffiti in Camp Bastion
    Christmas graffiti in Camp Bastion in 2013 (Picture: MOD).

    In Europe, 150 UK personnel of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards are deployed in Poland and around 850 British personnel of the Queen's Royal Hussars are deployed in Estonia on NATO's enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) deployment.

    Troops will also be in peacekeeping missions in Somalia and South Sudan.

    In Mali,RAF Chinook helicopters from RAF Odiham are supported by around 90 British troops to support French counter-terrorism operations.

    Cover image: Irish Guards in the grounds of Royal Hospital Chelsea (Picture: MOD).