Navy ship joins French carrier for Christmas

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HMS Cumberland will be working on Christmas Day supporting the French aircraft carrier Charles De Gaulle in the Arabian Gulf, honouring the new agreement between the UK and France.

The nuclear-powered French warship is providing fast jet air-support to combat troops fighting in Afghanistan and the Type 22 frigate has taken time out from her maritime security patrols in the Gulf to work with her over Christmas.

There will be little opportunity for the ship's company to relax and enjoy the festivities on Saturday, although, in traditional fashion, roast turkey and all the trimmings will be served to the sailors by the ship's captain and officers.

Captain Steve Dainton said: 'While we will have little time off over Christmas, it is important the occasion is marked.

'The Royal Naval tradition is for officers to serve Christmas dinner. We will also be putting on a carol concert and I have no doubt Santa will make an appearance on the big day - we've been tracking his sleigh on radar for the last day or so.'