Around 1.700 of Royal Navy personnel are away from home and on duty over Christmas, said the Royal Navy today, December 25.
From the Gulf and the fight against Daesh to the frozen Antarctic, 18 warships, Royal Fleet Auxiliary ships, Fleet Air Arm squadrons, submarines and Royal Marines units are deployed or on duty as 2015 draws to a close.
One in every 17 sailors and Royal Marines is on duty over the festive period – and not just aboard, for the search and rescuers of 771 Naval Air Squadron in Culdrose and HMS Gannet in Prestwick stand ready to respond to emergencies until they are formally stood down at 9 am on New Year’s Day when civilians take over.
East of Suez: More than 1,000 personnel: minehunters Middleton, Chiddingfold, Shoreham and Penzance, plus their support ship RFA Cardigan Bay; on maritime security patrol: frigate HMS St Albans, plus 43 Commando Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines, Bagger Sea Kings of 849 NAS and the Merlin helicopters of 820 NAS; HMS Defender is supporting the Charles de Gaulle, while RFA Fort Victoria is supporting Defender; A Trafalgar-class Fleet submarine will be on duty; and overseeing operations, the staff in the UK Maritime Component Command HQ in Bahrain.
In the South Atlantic, HMS Clyde and tanker RFA Gold Rover are providing support and reassurance to British citizens.
In Antarctica, HMS Protector is conducting regular surveying.
In the Mediterranean, the Gibraltar Squadron (Sabre and Scimitar) are protecting the Rock and its waters and Enterprise is conducting Operation Sophia. HMS Scott is surveying.
In the UK: personnel are on duty or at short notice to react: search and rescue fliers of 771 Naval Air Squadron in Culdrose and HMS Gannet in Prestwick are on-call 24/7, while the Fleet Ready Escort stands ready to respond to events, as does an RFA tanker as well as bomb disposal teams in Plymouth, Portsmouth and Faslane; in addition, RN medics are working shifts in NHS hospitals around the UK and staff at the Northwood Maritime Operations Centre.
In the submarine service, one of four strategic deterrent Vanguard-class boats is conducting a mission the Silent Service has performed around the clock for more than 40 years.