Christmas for Royal Navy officer Philippa Little will be a different experience this year as she spends it away from family and friends while on operations in the heat of the Gulf.
Lieutenant Little, 21, from Gosport is serving in the United Kingdom Maritime Component Command (UKMCC) in the Middle East and is one of around 1,500 Royal Navy personnel deployed to the region this Christmas.
Philippa will be working a normal day in the sweltering heat of the Gulf while her family have their lunch back home in Gosport, thinking of her as they carve the turkey.
Addressing her family directly she said: ‘Merry Christmas to all of my family and friends.
‘This is my second of three Christmases in the Royal Navy where I have been deployed so my message to family is simply that I miss and love them lots.
‘Don’t worry though as I have lots of Christmas decorations to make the place homely!’
Philippa attended Peter Symonds College in Winchester.
She joined the Royal Navy in November 2012 and is now the headquarters co-ordinator for UKMCC.
This is not Philippa’s first deployment away from home over Christmas.
She was deployed on HMS Westminster to the Gulf and Indian Ocean before and visited some incredible places.
The UKMCC is responsible for Royal Navy warships, aircraft and personnel deployed in the Middle East maritime theatre.
Based in Bahrain, the UKMCC consists of a Royal Navy Commodore, supported by a staff of around 60.
They fulfil a range of roles spanning operations, logistics and intelligence, together with providing specialist advice in legal, media, medical and diplomatic affairs.
The continual presence of a senior naval officer in the region demonstrates the UK’s long-term commitment to regional nations and enables the UK to work more closely with allies.