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Prince William jokes about 'getting back into shape' during tribute to armed forces

The Duke of Cambridge spoke with deployed military personnel

Emily Nash

The Duke of Cambridge has paid tribute to servicemen and women deployed overseas, telling them the nation is "grateful" for their sacrifices.

Prince William spoke to military personnel currently serving in Somalia, Qatar and The Gulf in a video call to mark Remembrance week

He told them: "I hope that you know that we are still thinking about all of you and the important job you're all doing, and that everyone is very grateful. 

"I hope that over Remembrance Sunday we can remind people just how committed and determined, and how brilliant all the people we have in the Forces are around the world."

READ: Kate Middleton sympathises with military families during touching video call

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WATCH: Prince William pays tribute to deployed military personnel

The Duke was reminded how he had taken part in a £40million drugs bust in the Caribbean while serving as a helicopter pilot on board HMS Iron Duke in 2008. 

Leading Physical Instructor Damon Bell was speaking from on board the HMS Montrose, which seized more than 450kg of methamphetamine from smugglers in the Straits of Hormuz last month.

"Only half of what you got on Iron Duke but still nonetheless very good," he told William.

"I wasn't going to bring that up but I'm glad that's still being talked about," joked the royal.

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William on board HMS Iron Duke in 2008

Recalling his time at sea, William added: "I remember being beasted by people like you Damon on the Iron Duke. The on-deck PT was always quite a fun afternoon. I think after a number of lockdowns I might need your PT skills to help get back into shape again."

Damon replied: "Always on the end of a Zoom call sir, whenever you're ready."

Flight Sergeant and mum of two Gemma Thomson, from RAF Wyton, who is deployed in Qatar, told William how her eldest son was born six years ago on Remembrance Day.

"Remembrance is so much bigger than myself is something I articulate to my son when I’m making him lay a wreath on his birthday," she said.

William replied: "Got to get the balance of having a party and laying a wreath; one quite solemn one quite chaotic."

MORE: Prince William and Kate Middleton among royals to make touching update to social media accounts

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The Duke spoke with deployed military personnel during the video call

When Gemma described how much cake her son eats, the heir to the throne replied: "Then the sugar kicks in and it's all chaos after that."

Gemma said: "Oh you know."

The Duke, father to Prince George, seven, Princess Charlotte, five, and two-year-old Prince Louis, nodded, smiled and said: "Yeah I know."

RELATED: The royal family reunite for moving Remembrance Sunday service

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William attended the Remembrance Sunday service last week

Also on the call was Corporal Jiwan Kumar Thapa of the Queen’s Gurkha Signals, who has spent three months on Operation Tangham training local military forces against Al-Shabaab extremists in Somalia.

Told how his father and grandfather had served in Gurkha regiments for the British Army, William said: "You followed in a very proud history. We are very grateful for all the hard work and wonderful history that we have had with the Gurkhas. You have a fearsome reputation around the world."

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More than 11,000 members of British Armed Forces personnel are currently deployed around the globe. 

"People don't necessarily realise how committed and scattered the British army forces are around the world,” said the Duke,

"It is interesting at Remembrance to have that time to reflect on all the roles that you guys are playing and British forces are committed to."

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