No rest for the Navy at Christmas

Soldiers and Christmas tree
Taunton's 40 Commando Marines in the Christmas spirit Photo: Royal Navy

While most of us are serving up the turkey, Navy personnel are serving the country, even on Christmas Day. 40 Commando Royal Marines, based in Taunton, are out in Afghanistan, and if the photo is anything to go by, they are doing their best to create a Christmas spirit in the desert.

Meanwhile, elements of 6 Naval Air Squadrons, plus 17 warships, survey boats, submarines and Royal Fleet Auxiliaries, some from the South West, will be on patrol in the Middle East and elsewhere - one is even on surveying duties in Antarctica. The ships stocked up with all the important Christmas kit before leaving the UK: crackers, cards, presents, decorations and frozen turkeys.

Mail bags being loaded on board
HMS Northumberland picks up its last mail delivery before Christmas Credit: Royal Navy

The British Forces Post Office has been busy, delivering cards and parcels all over the world. HMS Northumberland, based in Plymouth, picked up 180 sacks of mail during her 3-day visit to Muscat in Oman at the start of the month. It was her final collection of post before Christmas - she's now patrolling the Indian Ocean. And one particularly important packet for 40 Commando Marines was a DVD of their children's nativity play. It was performed by the children and filmed especially for their fathers to watch today.