Christmas for Royal Navy officer Liam Andrews will be a different experience this year as he spends it away from family and friends while on operations in the heat of the Gulf.
Lieutenant Andrews, 25, from Cosham, is serving on board the Royal Navy’s Hunt Class minehunter, HMS Chiddingfold – one of seven Royal Navy ships deployed to the region this Christmas.
And in true naval tradition Liam will join his fellow officers in serving Christmas dinner to the sailors on board – a switch in the day-to-day routine – while his wife, Alice, has her lunch back home with the rest of their family in Shaftesbury, thinking of him as they carve the turkey.
Addressing his family directly he said: ‘I would like to send lots of love to my wife and family at Christmas.
‘Thank you for the continued exceptional support. I am honoured to have you all in my life. Merry Christmas, I look forward to coming home soon and seeing you all.’
Liam, who attended Shaftesbury Upper School, joined the Royal Navy in 2008 and is the Operations Officer on board, and is responsible for writing the ship’s programme as well as co-ordinating the removal of mines.
This is not Liam’s first deployment as he has travelled the world during his career so far in the Royal Navy but says: ‘This operational deployment has been my best deployment so far as I am fulfilling the role of mine warfare officer and operations officer of an operational minehunter.’
Over the festive period he will be providing support to the operations in the Gulf region. The ship is usually based in Ports-mouth but will remain in the Gulf region for a three-year period.
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.