Army officers serve up special festive tonic for troops on tour in Afghanistan

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Troops on tour in Afghanistan will celebrate Christmas with cups of tea in bed and a traditional dinner served up by senior officers.

Soldiers from The Royal Scots Borderers, 1st Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Scotland, (1 Scots), will be given the treat as part of an Army tradition for special occasions.

At Main Operating Base Price in Helmand Province, privates and corporals will wake up on Christmas morning with tea and coffee served by sergeants, warrant officers and other senior ranks.

The same practice will be carried out during dinner on Christmas Day at the battalion’s main base at Camp Tombstone, where roast turkey and Brussels sprouts will be on the menu.

Activities have been planned for the troops at both camps, including carol services, a festive-themed quiz, football and volleyball competitions,

Captain Alistair Cuthbertson, 44, originally from Barrhead, said soldiers and officers will do their best to make the most of the festive period, despite being about 4,500 miles away from their families in the UK. “It is difficult for people to be away from their families while on operations, especially at this time of year,” he said. “We will strive to give them the most festive time we can.”

Trees have been decorated around both Tombstone and Price, and soldiers have hung festive tinsel and signs in their group tents. Presents and cards from home have been arriving in droves through Camp Bastion, with over 130 tonnes of mail being brought into the military base for UK troops over the last week.

Welfare staff have arranged for gifts to be sent to forward operating bases to make sure all of the soldiers have something to open on Christmas morning.

Captain Gary Wallace, 42, from Perth, said: “Being over here during the Christmas period, obviously we’d rather be home with our family and friends.

“However, we’re out here doing a job and it’s that time of year that we need to be out here doing it.”

The 1 Scots battalion are on a six-month tour of Afghanistan working with soldiers from the Afghan National Army in a mentoring and advisory role, in a bid to prepare them for the handover of responsibility for their country’s security.