Where are the UK military deployed this Christmas?

Each year members of the military sacrifice a festive period spent with loved ones in order to protect the country.

This Christmas Day, 6,300 sailors, marines, soldiers and aviators will be deployed around the world, serving on 33 operations in 28 countries.

Here is a look at some of the locations where British military personnel are deployed on the 25th.


Estonia and Poland – more than 1,035 soldiers from the British Army are part of a multinational battlegroup that makes up NATO's enhanced Forward Presence (eFP), which is being led by The King's Royal Hussars.

Somalia – 73 British Army personnel are currently deployed to support the Somali National Army in promoting long-term stability and security for the benefit of the Somali people. 

Aircrew of 1310 Flt on Op NEWCOME pose Christmas photo Chinook helicopter in Mali 120920 CREDIT MOD
Aircrew of 1310 Flt on Op NEWCOMBE posing for a Christmas photo in front of a Chinook helicopter in Mali (Picture: MOD).

Cyprus – the British Army is continuing to aid the UN Peacekeeping force, which prevents the recurrence of fighting in the region.

Gibraltar – 500 military personnel from all three services, including 225 personnel from the Royal Gibraltar Regiment are providing defence and security to the British Overseas Territory.

Falkland Islands – up to 1,700 civilian and military personnel from all three services are stationed here, where, 40 years on from the Falklands conflict, they continue to uphold security and deter military aggression (this includes RAF personnel of the Quick Reaction Alert and the crew of HMS Forth).

At sea

Gulf – HMS Lancaster, the Royal Navy Type-23 frigate, is deployed to the region to protect peace and stability and ensure the safe shipping of oil and trade.

Middle East – mine counter-measures forces from across the Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary are deployed with their crews working to protect shipping lanes and operations in the Gulf.  

Antarctic – HMS Protector, the Royal Navy's ice patrol ship, is deployed to Antarctica and the Southern Hemisphere to support British and international scientists studying the Antarctic and its climate. 

North Atlantic – HMS Scott is conducting survey operations.

Royal Navy personnel on HMS Albion having Christmas dinner 120220 CREDIT MOD
Royal Navy personnel on HMS Albion putting up Christmas decorations (Picture: MOD).

Indo-Asia Pacific – HMS Tamar and HMS Spey are providing maritime security and building relationships with both historic and recent partners in the region. 

The UK's continuous at sea deterrence, for the last 53 years unbroken, has involved at least one nuclear-armed ballistic missile submarine, supported by staff at HMNB Clyde, patrolling the seas undetected at all times, ready to respond to the most extreme threats to the UK, and this Christmas is no different.

At home 

- The King's Guard at Buckingham Palace and St. James’ Palace will be provided by soldiers from Nijmegen Company, Grenadier Guards.

- The Tower of London and Windsor Castle are to be guarded by The Scots Guards.

- RAF aviators of the UK's Quick Reaction Alert aircraft will be held on standby at RAF Lossiemouth and RAF Coningsby, to escort or intercept unidentified aircraft entering the UK's airspace.

- HMS Somerset, HMS Portland, HMS Severn, HMS Mersey, HMS Hurworth, HMS Enterprise, HMS Penzance and RFA Tiderace will remain at very high readiness to protect UK security at sea.

- Military bases and defence sites will continue to be guarded

- Logistical and welfare support maintained for personnel deployed overseas.

- Soldiers will remain on standby to help with any upcoming winter resilience operations.  

In addition, Prime Minister Ruishi Sunak has said "many" Armed Forces personnel will miss some of their Christmas to cover public service strikes over the festive season.

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