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Army/RAF wives please talk to me

(17 Posts)
Pedestriana Fri 13-Nov-15 14:52:41

Before I get going I should like to point out that ideally this would be in 'creative writing', but if I only put it there, I might not be able to get input from those who may have had similar experiences.

I'm writing a novel. For a part of the story, a character is married to (she believes) an Army/RAF type. I've yet to confirm which. He was in the TA, so I'm guessing natural progression would be to the Army.

Near the beginning of their marriage, he tells her he has to be deployed to the Gulf.

Essential to the story are the following factors:

I need him to move her away from family and friends, but not to military base; they need to be renting.
I need to understand what might happen at a pre-deployment briefing.
I need to understand how a pre-deployment briefing would take place; letter inviting you? telephone call? ID check to to in?

I'm struggling to find this information online other than the fact that it is not essential to live on base, but is recommended in most cases.

If anyone can point me in the direction of any information that is pertinent to the time period, I'd be very happy. I'm aware I'll probably need a good five or six hours research in the library as a bare minimum, but being aware of exactly where to look, would be very helpful.

KeepPloddingOn Tue 17-Nov-15 21:41:54

I can't answer all of your questions,but from my experience of visiting an army barracks.

Yes to requiring photo I'D
And you would need to be escorted throughout your visit (ie by her husband).
Not allowed to be on barracks between 11pm and 7am, ie overnight, (?) Without special permission from senior officers and that takes a few days to organise.

TheFairyCaravan Tue 17-Nov-15 21:47:41

Not allowed to be on barracks between 11pm and 7am, ie overnight, (?) Without special permission from senior officers and that takes a few days to organise.

Since when? I know lots of soldiers, including DS1, who've had overnight guests and haven't had to get permission.

You don't always need photo ID. I've never needed it to get a dependent's pass, however when other family members have visited they have in order to get a temporary pass.

Iguessyourestuckwithme Tue 17-Nov-15 21:50:07

I was a nanny to a soldier who was deployed to Afghanistan.

Yes you could be renting due to lack of space on camp, if they're dating/not married then they wouldnt be housed.

I went to a predeployment briefing with the family I nannies for. There was a short video on screen telling us about afghan then the oc spoke to us and told us what he could about what the soldier would be doing (an overview) he talked about support from home / r and r / keeping in touch. He spoke about the support this back home.

We had a letter home, boss brought it home and told us about it and also the welfare team did a letter box drop,

We didn't have to take ID as although it was on camp it was a "family day" we also didn't need I'd to get onto the patch where the marriquaters were. For main things we would need I'd to get onto camp.

exLtEveDallas Tue 17-Nov-15 21:51:37

Plenty of army marriages don't end up in married quarters. And most MQs aren't within the wire of a base.

Any soldier can live off camp (with permission if single, but no permission needed if married)

Wives can get 'dependants ID' or if they don't have that then a passport/photo driving licence is enough to get through the gate, as long as there is a sponsor (ie the soldier)

Invite for pre deployment brief is likely to come direct from the soldier (he'd know about it from Part One Orders - written every day and all soldiers have to read them). Otherwise the families office would probably put out a letter/flyer on behalf of the CO inviting them to come in.

If it's a UK based unit then most wives/girlfriends etc know each other from piss ups, functions, families days, mess do's. They might even have a wives club where they all get together.

Nicknamegrief Tue 17-Nov-15 21:52:01

You need ID for the barracks but as a 'dependent' you do not need to be escorted around the barracks and you can be there at anytime! Pretty much anyone can get on most barracks with photo ID and the right reason to visit!!!!!
Not many married quarters are on actual barracks but most are quite close. If there aren't any married quarters then you can have a 'hiring' which is a private rental administered through the army. That can be as far away as 50miles from the duty station.
Which Gulf war are you referring too?
Pre deployment briefings are held when there is time to hold them and normally you are invited my letter. However when things become emergent you can have as little as a few hours notice that they are off.
There are Naval and RAF reservists as well as army ones, but they are not entitled to military housing.

Pedestriana Wed 18-Nov-15 20:35:04

Thankyou all!

Photo ID info is really useful, as is the info on the pre-deployment brief. In the story so far, he says he was "in the gulf" for a lot of 1990. However, I'm not sure he's on active - wondering if he could legitimately be there as a mechanic or other personnel.

Please excuse my ignorance in terminology used here. What I mean, and have badly explained is that he is not a solider/marine/pilot but someone who is undertaking other duties.

Tiggeryoubastard Wed 18-Nov-15 20:42:14

I've relied on your other thread. At that time there was no ID in England for dependants, though once on camp you weren't escorted. In Germany and Cyprus you did have ID. Not escorted round camp. Sometimes the supermarkets (Naafi) were on the camp. You could have guests overnight, and you didn't have to live in quarters. Maybe he could be there as a Naafi employee?

Pedestriana Wed 18-Nov-15 22:56:08

I shall investigate that avenue, Tigger. Your input is much appreciated.

KeepPloddingOn Wed 18-Nov-15 23:13:36

Mechanics and engineers are soldiers too, as are the chefs etc. I believe as they have all been through basic training. All have regular fitness/weapons etc training. In fact they are all 'soldiers first' which basically means that if you get told to go 'fight' you go fight. All have to do some basic soldiering such as guard duty etc.

So - crudely speaking you have infantry which are your classic 'foot soldiers '
Cavalry or tank regiments which are your tank and armoured vehicle soldiers.

Then you have your tradesmen which range from Dr's, mechanics, military police, transport and logistics, signals and communications, chefs, clergy. All will serve time on operations. But the tradesmen will primarily be there to provide support in their specific trade, but are still qualified and capable soldiers - not 100% sure that's true for all trades but most.

So - of the 3 family members I know in the army - they are all part of the REME Corp (royal electrical and mechanical engineers).
One is an engineer - primary role is weapons support but he is still a soldier.
One is a vehicle mechanic. Primary role is to repair vehicles either back at Base Camp or 'on the battlefield'. She is still a soldier.
One was an aircraft mechanic. Primary role to repair helicopters. She is still a soldier.

I'm not sure there are any other roles in the army which aren't soldiers (or officers).
The army does have some civvie contractors - particularly in the UK. Less so on tour I suspect but I know there are roles as DP retires next year and was looking at going out to Afghanistan as 3rd line support working for a security company supplying services to the Army (including mechanics). But these are not employees of the Army.

If you want to investigate potential roles further have a look at the army careers service. My understanding comes from my relatives that are REME which is a small part of the overall army.

KeepPloddingOn Wed 18-Nov-15 23:36:53

Just checked and I think that pretty much all roles apart from army medic and chaplain are soldiers or officers.

Even nurses and chefs are trained soldiers and have the associated ranks and expectations put on them.

Nicknamegrief Wed 18-Nov-15 23:42:31

Army Medics are soldiers too and go through basic training.

Chaplains, Drs, Dentists, Vets etc while officers all do a 'baby' Sandhurst.

Tiggeryoubastard Thu 19-Nov-15 00:10:57

Yes, that's correct. 'Soldier first'.

KeepPloddingOn Thu 19-Nov-15 00:32:55

Yup. And DP hates it.

He loves his trade and that is definitely his primary role but the whole idea of 'soldier first, trade second' really winds him up sometimes. He knows that's what he has signed up for but he was in a shit posting a couple of years back which really took it to extremes.

Iguessyourestuckwithme Thu 19-Nov-15 13:48:38

Yep army medic definitely a soldier and can see front line action.

Pedestriana Fri 20-Nov-15 17:49:25

Thanks again all. Lots of very useful information here. Much appreciated. smile

TrojanWhore Fri 20-Nov-15 17:55:08

The 'baby Sandhurst' is called the Vicars and Tarts course. I think the proper name is Professionally Qualified Officers course (included the lawyers too). I think the posties do that one too - might that be a role for your protagonist?

Medics are not trained to be combatants (not allowed by Geneva Convention) but are trained to fight (they may defend their patients etc, and have to be able to survive on the battlefield). The only ones who don't fight at all are the Padres.

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