Christmas for Royal Navy sailor Steven Ward will be a different affair this year as he spends it away from family and friends on operations in the heat of the Gulf.
Leading Chef Ward, 29, from Milton is serving on board the Royal Navy’s Hunt Class minehunters HMS Chiddingfold in the Gulf – one of seven Royal Navy ships deployed to the region this Christmas.
And in true naval tradition Steven will join his fellow sailors in being served Christmas dinner by the officers on board – a switch in the day-to-day routine – although he will have had to prepare and cook the feast first!
While his parents will have their lunch back home with the rest of their family in Hull, thinking of him as they carve the turkey.
Addressing his family and girlfriend directly he said: ‘Wishing everyone at home a very merry Christmas.
‘Thank you to my beautiful girlfriend Nicole for your continued love and support. See you all soon.’
Steven, who attended St Luke’s C of E School, joined the Royal Navy in July 2002 and is now the catering and galley manager on-board HMS Chiddingfold.
This is not Steven’s first deployment, as he has travelled the world during his career in the Royal Navy and says the opportunity to travel, along with the people, is one of the best bits of the job.
Over the festive period he will be based on HMS Chiddingfold providing support to the operations in the Gulf region.
The ship is usually based in Portsmouth but will remain in the Gulf region for a three-year period.
HMS Chiddingfold’s presence in the region is a demonstration of the UK’s continued commitment to enduring peace and stability across the Gulf and Indian Ocean delivering maritime security.
Minehunters are providing the capability to conduct route survey, sea-bed clearance, and mine clearance operations all over the Gulf.
The operation also aims to provide a visible naval presence in a region where stability and good relations with local nations is vital.
Much of the UK’s oil and gas, as well as other products, come from the Gulf region and as such these efforts are of vital importance to the UK’s economy and lifestyle.