Prime Minister David Cameron handwrote a Christmas message to all patrol bases in Helmand, praising the troops for their "service" in Afghanistan and thanking them for making the country "prouder than ever." He said:
To you all. As a country we are always immensely proud of our armed forces, but this year you have made us prouder than ever.
The professionalism and valour you have shown in Afghanistan has been remarkable and we can see real progress, with the successful handover to Afghan forces well under way.
We should remember at this time especially all those who have been wounded or paid the ultimate price - and our prayers go out to their families.
British forces have also served successfully all around the world including tackling the pirate and terrorist threats off the Horn of Africa. Our forces performed magnificently at the Olympic and Paralympic Games - putting a smiling face on the greatest show on Earth (and winning medals too).
Your work has kept us safe for another year - and made us proud of what you do. Wherever you are this Christmas: thank you for your service.
You are the BEST.
More top news
Some Scottish social media users were left confused when Facebook offered them a Romanian flag, not a Saltire, to mark St Andrew's Day.
Ex-detectives Michael Stokes and Stephen Phillips were jailed for two years for stealing money they thought belonged to a drug dealer.
The calendar famous for its pin-up style has taken a dramatic turn - eschewing supermodels for 13 women of "outstanding accomplishment".