HMS Protector's crew tucking into their Christmas meal during a trip to the Antarctic in 2013. Pictured left to right: LSTD Chapman, PO(AWW) McDonald, PO(CS) Spencer, LPT Smith, 1Lt Varty, CH Naun, Captain Hatcher (CO), AB(SEA) Scott, Sgt Smith, LS(AWW) Kendall, LCPL Brunning, LSD Chudley, LSTD Dickson. *** Local Caption *** L-R: LSTD Chapman, PO(AWW) McDonald, PO(CS) Spencer, LPT Smith, 1Lt Varty, CH Naun, Captain Hatcher (CO), AB(SEA) Scott, Sgt Smith, LS(AWW) Kendall, LCPL Brunning, LSD Chudley, LSTD Dickson.

12 of the best photos of the Royal Navy celebrating Christmas

FROM Christmas meals on the ice sheets of the Antarctic to riding a sleigh with Santa – the Royal Navy knows how to mark festivities over Yuletide.

By Tom Cotterill
Monday, 21st December 2020, 3:13 pm

But with this year’s occasion marred by the coronavirus pandemic, The News is taking looking back to some of the best winter moments marked by sailors at home and abroad.

And top of the list is the crew from HMS Protector who celebrated Christmas in style in 2013.

Sailors from the former Portsmouth-based icebreaker had been on a mission in the Antarctic.

Taking advantage of blissful sunshine, the ship’s company hit the ice to sit down for a festive lunch, complete with mulled wine, mince pies – and a turkey.

The crew even played a few games of football to mark the special day.

Captain Rhett Hatcher, Protector’s commanding officer at the time, said: ‘Spending Christmas in the coldest place on earth comes with challenges but is a unique privilege.’

In 2015, shoppers in Portsmouth’s Gunwharf Quays were treated to a festive carol performance by the Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines Portsmouth.

The world-class musicians surprised visitors as they performed the popular Carol of the Bells in a specially-choreographed.

Visitors broke into applause on completion of the rousing performance by the 47 Portsmouth-based musicians, which was filmed as part of a festive video for naval families.

Corps Drum Major, WO2 Buster Brown, who choreographed the set, said: ‘We all really enjoyed the performance and had a brilliant response from Gunwharf shoppers. It’s a great feeling when you get such a positive response from the public.’

In Gosport, sailors from HMS Sultan ensured they were in Santa’s good books – as they supported a charity fundraiser.

A team from the naval base dressed up in festive dress to drum up cash for the Gosportarians.

You can subscribe here for unlimited access to Portsmouth news online - as well as fewer adverts, access to our digital edition and mobile app.

Page 1 of 3