British Prime Minister Theresa May and defense secretary Michael Fallon sent messages Saturday to members of Britain’s armed services deployed abroad on Christmas Day.
Currently around 1,000 military people are working to fight Islamic State and train Iraqi security forces in Iraq and the wider Middle East, as well as from RAF Akrotiri, Cyprus.
Around 1,200 personnel are stationed in the Falkland Islands while in Afghanistan, troops from the army and other services are training Afghan National Security Forces.
Currently 18 ships and submarines are at sea, with 4,500 people serving on operations across the globe in locations ranging from Somalia and Nigeria to Kuwait and Ukraine.
Defense Secretary Fallon said: “For our armed forces duty never stops….At Christmas, it’s particularly important to take a moment to think of those deployed on our behalf across the globe and to let them know how grateful we are for everything that they do to keep Britain safe.”
In her message Prime Minister May said: “Over this holiday period, there will be around 5,000 members of our armed forces deployed on operations, in the desert, at sea, even under the sea operating our continuous nuclear deterrent. While even those who are able to be here in the UK will, in many cases, be on standby to deal with domestic incidents like the flood relief that so many of helped with during the Christmas last year.”
In a separate festive message to the British population, May called on Britain to “unite and move forward” after the Brexit vote.
In her first Christmas message as prime minister, May said: “As we leave the European Union we must seize a historic opportunity to forge a bold new role for ourselves in the world and to unite our country as we move forward into the future.” Enditem