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Families and veterans / families

Deployment Cycle

Help at hand during deployment

Dealing with deployment

Deployments are an opportunity for our personnel to see the world and experience new things, but they can also be emotionally demanding for everyone from immediate family to close friends. 

Deployments can make family life challenging, but there is support available - both from the rest of the Service community and a range of Royal Navy initiatives. Here, you can learn about the different stages of deployment and get practical advice on dealing with each one. 

Man and woman with back to camera watching HMS Montrose sail away

Deployments are generally announced 8-12 months in advance. Using this time to prepare both emotionally and practically is really important. At this stage, it’s a good idea to build a strong support network of peers and colleagues, either through the Royal Navy Forum or at your local Royal Navy Community Centre.

What can I expect? 

It’s common to feel that you have plenty of time to prepare, but the earlier you start, the better. At this stage it’s important to recognise that feelings of anger, resentment and underlying tension can begin to surface, but don’t worry, this is perfectly normal. 

Who is affected? 

Partners, spouses and children all feel the effects of a deployment, but coping can be made easier if you communicate openly and honestly. Our Family & People Support is also here to offer support and guidance.

How can I prepare?

If you have children, it’s vital that you open dialogue in advance, so you can reassure them that the parent leaving will also be coming back. You can also use the When a Special Person Goes Away Workbook to involve them in the process.

RN FPS can provide you with a Deployment Information Pack and a Children's Memory Box Pack to support you during deployment.

Storybook Waves is another way you can maintain a connection with your child. This service allows you to record a bedtime story for them to listen to while you’re deployed.

The Experience of Parental Absence Guide produced by the Naval Families Federation details the experience of parental absence and separation, providing some strategies to help families thrive. 

You should also start considering the practical aspects of being away, from contacting service providers to locating important household documents and managing renewal dates.

Further help and support during deployment

Local Support Office

All of the contacts, addresses, telephone numbers and opening times of the Royal Navy’s local support offices that you can get in touch with for support, events and activities.
Find your local support office

Keeping in touch

Deployments are exciting opportunities for our personnel to travel and experience new things – but they can also put strain on life at home. That’s why we actively encourage regular communication with loved ones, both to maintain a healthy relationship and to boost morale.

See how to keep in touch

Support for children

Deployments can be a difficult time not only for serving personnel, but for the families they leave behind. That's why the Royal Navy has made a special commitment to helping service personnel's children maintain their physical and emotional wellbeing during times of separation.
Find out about support for children


Discover what compassionate support is available to you if a family member is serving in the Royal Navy the the unique challenges it brings and learn about the support system that is in place for service families.
Find out about support

Join the Forum

Stay informed, involved and in touch — and get support from our organisations and charities.

We’ll help you understand and navigate this unique way of life in a safe and secure environment.

Register for the royal navy forum