Scottish troops send their loved ones messages for Christmas

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Servicemen and women deployed abroad have sent Christmas messages to their families and friends.

Thousands of UK Armed Forces personnel, many of them based in Scotland are working this Christmas to help keep Britain safe at home and around the globe.

A piper of the Scots Dragoon Guards playing his instrument in Cyprus. Picture TSPL

A piper of the Scots Dragoon Guards playing his instrument in Cyprus. Picture TSPL

Over 100 soldiers from the 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland (2 SCOTS) are currently deployed to Iraq where they are undertaking a training and mentoring role to counter Daesh terrorists.

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They left for the task from their base at Glencorse Barracks in Penicuik, near Edinburgh, earlier this month to join more than 600 British soldiers in the country in non-combat roles, helping to train Iraqi forces.

Over the last three years UK soldiers have helped train over 58,000 Iraqi Security Forces.

Meanwhile, the Fife-based Scots Dragoon Guards are playing a key role as part of the UN Peacekeeping force in Cyprus. Also in the Gulf, two Clyde-based Minehunter ships are serving over the festive period.

2018 marks a busy year for Scottish units. As of January, four of the seven Battalions of the Royal Regiment of Scotland, as well as the Scots Dragoon Guards and the 19 Regiment Royal Artillery (The Scottish Gunners), will be deployed on operations overseas where they will not only be developing the defensive capabilities of UK allies but also playing a critical part in protecting the country.

In total around 5,000 UK sailors, marines, soldiers, airmen and airwomen are serving on operations across the globe, from Somalia and South Sudan to Kuwait and Ukraine.

Troops based in Scotland will be busy at home as well as abroad and, as ever, the Squadrons of the UK’s Quick Reaction Alert will be on duty at RAF Lossiemouth, many of them ready in their green flight suits waiting for the call to scramble.

Secretary of State for Scotland David Mundell said: “I pay a huge tribute to the brave Servicemen and women from across Scotland who are away from their families over the festive period - and throughout the year - to keep us safe. I offer a heartfelt ‘thank you’, commend their professionalism and wish them a very happy and safe Christmas and New Year.”

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Commanding Officer, The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, Lt Colonel Dominic Coombes said: “The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards is currently deployed on Operation TOSCA as part of the United Kingdom’s commitment to the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus.

“Christmas will always be a bittersweet time for those deployed and their families back at home, but while we miss our loved ones in Scotland and elsewhere, we will come together as a Regimental family to make the most of an opportunity to enjoy Christmas as a collective. At the same time, we’ll redouble our efforts in our operational role as we go into the New Year and the latter stage of our tour before looking forward to returning home in time for Easter.”