AS families across the region look forward to spending Christmas with loved ones, for our armed forces in Afghanistan it will be another risk-filled day.
While we prepare to spend the festive period with friends and family, soldiers posted overseas will see little respite.
So today, The Journal is printing messages from the front line. A video of the messages is also on our website, for their nearest and dearest to watch.
Among them is Lance Corporal Sean Hall of the 1st battalion, Coldstream Guards. L/Cpl Hall, from County Durham, is based at Camp Souter.
He said: “I would like to say a very merry Christmas to my wife and two children.
“Also a very special Christmas message to my friends and family who are in Murton, County Durham.
“I hope to see you in the New Year.”
Also out in Afghanistan is Lance Corporal Chris Urwin, who is serving with the military working dogs unit in the 102 Regiment Veterinary Corps at Camp Bastion.
Sending a message with Leo the dog, L/Cpl Urwin, from Prudhoe, Northumberland, said: “I’d like to say a big hello to my family and friends.
“I hope you have a good Christmas and New Year. I’ll see you all soon and I love you all.”
Lance Corporal Michael McGhin, from County Durham, is serving with the 1st Battalion of the Coldstream Guards at Camp Souter.
He said: “I’d like to give a big merry Christmas and a happy New Year to my daughter, my family and my friends back in County Durham. I’ll see you in the New Year and have a drink on me.”
Lance Corporal Andrew Featherstone, of Durham, is with the 29 Regiment, Royal Logistic Corps.
He is serving with the British Forces Post Office. He said: “I’m here in Afghanistan sorting out the Christmas post. I’d like to give a message to my mam, dad and little brother Kelvin up in County Durham.
“Just to say I’m missing you all and hopefully I’ll be back soon.”
Also out in the trouble-stricken country is craftsman David Bramley, of the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers. The Newcastle craftsman, who is based at Camp Bastion, said: “I’d just like to say hello to my mother and father in Newcastle and Yorkshire.
“Have a good Christmas and I’ll see you all soon.”
To see a video of these messages, visit www.journallive.co.uk