Christmas comes early for Innsworth soldiers
CHRISTMAS came early to soldiers in Innsworth as they celebrated with long-standing festive traditions.
Troops at the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps (ARRC) who are based at Imjin Barracks celebrated their Christmas Day last week.
The soldiers' Christmas Day is a traditional event in the British military calendar that sees the troops being served food and drink by their Officers. The soldiers also take part in sports competitions and a carol service.
Major Tim James from the ARRC, said that it was "an opportunity for the Officers and Warrant Officers to say thank you to the soldiers for their efforts throughout the year. It is a traditionally light-hearted day that gives the soldiers an opportunity to relax whilst also presenting a chance for them to enjoy themselves, often at the Officers' expense."
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The day started with the serving of 'Gunfire' at 6.45am by the Officers and Warrant Officers of the ARRC Group. Gunfire is tea laced with rum and has been handed out to troops on Christmas Day for generations.
Once the soldiers had finished their tea, it was down to the sports pitches for the football, rugby and hockey competitions against the Officers and Warrant Officers.
The Mayor of Tewkesbury attended the carol service and the Tewkesbury Town Band provided the music before a traditional Christmas dinner was served.
Major James added: "This year had been particularly busy with a significant number of these soldiers having served in Afghanistan. The 200 soldiers from Imjin Barracks who will spend this Christmas either in Kabul or Helmand Province will also be taking part in their own Christmas Day activities."