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Christmas has come early for the crew of a Royal Navy ship.

The ice patrol ship, originally called Polar Bear, is in the British Antarctic Territory to carry out survey and patrol operations and will be at sea on Christmas Day. So her crew has had Christmas a few days early.

They celebrated their special day by playing football and then enjoying a traditional roast turkey dinner. It is now the height of summer in Antarctica, but still bitterly cold.

Commanding Officer, Captain Rhett Hatcher, said: "Spending Christmas in the coldest place on Earth comes with challenges but is a unique privilege."


HMS Protector entered service with the Royal Navy in 2011.

At 660,000 square miles (about the same size as Burma), the British Antarctic Territory is by far the largest of Britain's 14 Overseas Territories (the remnants of the Empire), being around 140 times bigger than the next largest, the Falklands. However, it is the second least populated of the British Overseas Territories, with a winter population of just 50 people (only the Pitcairn Islands - pop. 48 - have a smaller population).

Christmas comes early for Royal Navy ship HMS Protector

22 December 2013
BBC News


The crew enjoyed Christmas dinner on ice

The crew of the Royal Navy ship HMS Protector has celebrated Christmas early on the ice of Antarctica.

The ship is currently in the area to carry out survey and patrol operations and will be at sea on 25 December.

The crew marked their special day by playing football and then enjoying a roast turkey dinner.

Commanding Officer, Captain Rhett Hatcher, said: "Spending Christmas in the coldest place on Earth comes with challenges but is a unique privilege."


HMS Protector left Portsmouth in October

He added: "With 21 hours of daylight we need to remind ourselves to take a break from operations, but when we do so we know that despite being a very long way from our families and friends at home, we are proud to be on patrol for the Royal Navy and in the best possible company over Christmas."


This football match managed to go ahead despite the icy conditions

HMS Protector, a 5,000-tonne ice patrol ship, reached Britain's Antarctic Peninsula via Cape Verde, Rio de Janeiro and South Georgia.

During its posting, it is conducting research on behalf of the UK Hydrographic Office and also providing logistical support to the British Antarctic Survey organisation.

The British Antarctic Territory is the UK's largest overseas territory.


The same size as Burma, the British Antarctic Territory is by some distance the largest of Britain's 14 Overseas Territories. However it has a winter population of just 50 people, and a summer population of just 400


BBC News - Christmas comes early for Royal Navy ship HMS Protector
Last edited by Blackleaf; Dec 22nd, 2013 at 01:57 PM..