Iraq, Afghanistan - Christmas on the front line
Today, somewhere in Iraq or Afghanistan, at least one Christmas dinner is likely to be held. It will be a curious mixture of khaki camouflage and silly hats, bits of tinsel and no-nonsense weaponry.
British forces on operational duties have to celebrate Christmas when they can, and for some, that will not be on Christmas Day. Even for those who do not have to go on patrol or guard duty, or form part of the rapid-reaction force, which is on standby to deal with emergencies, tomorrow will not be a day of leisure.
This morning, troops will be able to hear a special Christmas message from the Queen, in which she tells them: "Your courage and loyalty are not lightly taken... and I know that yours is a job which often calls for great personal risk. This year men and women from across the armed forces have lost their lives in action in both Iraq and Afghanistan."