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Carols by Candlelight as Army celebrates Christmas in Chelsea 

The British Army's Advent calendar would not be complete without the annual Army Carol Service at The Royal Hospital Chelsea.

The traditional service of lessons and carols in the British Army's parish church, the glorious 1691 Wren Chapel in the heart of the Royal Hospital, is hosted by the Army Benevolent Fund, The Soldiers’ Charity.

The Deputy Chief of the General Staff, Lieutenant General Sharon Nesmith, led soldiers drawn from across the United Kingdom, representing the full range of ranks and diversity in today’s Army, in reading the lessons.

This year has seen the British Army deployed on operations across the globe, training allied armies in the UK and overseas, supporting NATO and the UN, helping to prevent future conflicts and promoting prosperity. Throughout 2023, our soldiers have been ever vigilant, always ready and steadfast in their commitment to the defence of the United Kingdom.

Persistently engaged around the world, in 2023 our soldiers have been involved in 90 different tasks in over 30 different countries. They have worked with partner nations to prevent future conflicts and supported the fight against poaching of endangered species in Africa.

They have helped preserve our precious planet with conservation work and tree planting in Central America and Kenya and used their specialist skills to provide assistance whenever natural disasters struck.

I’m delighted and honoured to have been chosen to take part in this special Christmas service in support of the ABF and reading the third lesson. I’d like to wish everyone a very happy Christmas!” Sergeant Yeboah Asuamah,
Defence School of Logistics and Administration

Guests arriving at the Army carol service were greeted by a piper from the Scots Guards and troopers from the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment.

A Fanfare Team from the Band of the Welsh Guards performed in the chapel, lit only by candles for the opening carol, and the choir was from the Royal Hospital Chelsea.

Readers of the lessons included Garrison Sergeant Major London District Andrew Stokes who had played such a significant role this year in organising the Army’s involvement in the Coronation of Their Majesties The King and Queen. He runs the London Marathon annually to raise money for the ABF.

Other soldiers taking part came from The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, Coldstream Guards, The Queen’s Royal Hussars, The Royal Engineers, The Royal Signals, The Royal Corps of Army Music, and The Royal Logistic Corps (RLC).

Sergeant Yeboah Asuamah, RLC, from the Defence School of Logistics and Administration Worthy Down where he is involved in mentoring and training the next generation of military logistics specialists, said: “I’m delighted and honoured to have been chosen to take part in this special Christmas service in support of the ABF and reading the third lesson. I’d like to wish everyone a very happy Christmas!”

Following the service guests were invited to the Great Hall for traditional mince pies with the Chelsea Pensioners in their scarlet coats. 

Army Benevolent Fund, The Soldiers’ Charity was founded in 1944 and is the Army’s national charity, helping thousands of soldiers, former soldiers and their families each year.