We are an SEND military family and both my young children have complex medical needs. This is a picture of my son walking in to one of his many hospital procedures holding the hand of his father who is a serving officer in the British Army. Being a military family, it is not always guaranteed that my husband can be there in person. However, this photo of them both walking calmly together, in step, holding hands is a reminder of how crucial his physical presence can be.
Back in Dartmouth with my wonderful daughters, and wife who took the picture, which is where my career as an officer in the Royal Navy began in earnest back in 1994 at Britannia Royal Navy College.
The day my husband deployed on his second tour of Afghanistan.
The day my husband returned from his second tour of Afghanistan.
This is me - a serving Officer - with Ruby my Daughter,and Daisy the Dachshund which completes the Hines Family.
This photograph was taken when my daughter was around 5 months. We lived in Catterick at the time. The photo just reminds me of how little she was and how seeing those boots just reminds us always of our life in the Forces. She is now 12 years old.
This image represents a huge proportion of our sons's life, and also my life before we had him. The waiting for our soldier to return from deployments or exercises, putting life on hold until they return. And also the excitement of having our soldier home again, the planning of what we will do when Daddy comes home, and the joy of on our Son's face when he picks Daddy out of the sea of green uniforms, priceless.
This was my Brother’s graduation parade with me and my father. We were already in the service. My father has since left. However, me and my brother are still proudly service today.
This is 26 day old Ava nestled sweetly on her mummy and daddy’s military cap and beret.
It can be challenging all the change that comes each time Bill’s job moves him on. However, as a family we really enjoy exploring new areas, meeting new people, and the time together is precious, outside of deployment.
As our two children have complex medical needs, we are trying to shield as far as is possible. This picture was taken during our daughter’s ‘virtual’ home baptism. Just us, her brother Harry, the visiting (socially distant) priest and many of her cuddly toys in the congregation. A very special experience and one hell of a story to tell when she grows older!
2020 was a particularly difficult for many people; for us as a family it was particularly challenging with a diagnosis of breast cancer in March 2020. This meant diagnosis, surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy during the lockdown with no family or childcare support available. The military community and ethos of individuals coming together to support one another in difficult times is what got us through this tough year. Constant offers of help with shopping, dog walking, making meals, anything anyone could do to help alleviate our situation. This photo is from May 10th 2020. My birthday and I had undergone a mastectomy and had just started chemotherapy. My neighbours came together to make me an afternoon tea and to stand outside and sing happy birthday. It was unexpected, emotional and just what we needed. The military community comes into its own in times of crisis and difficulty. I am humbled and privileged to be a part of it.
Even once a parent leaves the armed forces, it is still very much a part of our lives.
My husband Dan is a Flight Lieutenant in the RAF and was posted to Qatar for four months in January 2020. We had a very difficult time when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. I was working from home while looking after my five year old daughter and two year old twin sons, who were already missing Daddy but at least had routine, family, friends, school - plenty of things to keep them busy and a great support network to lean on. And now they had all of that taken away from them - as did I! It was a really challenging time for us all. Dan’s four month tour slowly extended to five months as quarantine time for his replacement had to be factored in, and then of course the general military delays. As much as we had struggled over here, Dan had really found it tough out there. From March to July everybody on his military base out in Qatar had been practising social distancing. He rang me one evening in June and - for somebody who I have never really seen get emotional - he cried. He just wanted to see us. To give us all a hug. It was heartbreaking on both ends. The day eventually came when he arrived home and I think in this first picture I took as two of our three children jumped into his arms you can see those months of loneliness and desperation physically evaporating from his body as he finally hugs his babies again.
My life as a military child with both my mother and father having served in the UKAF has inspired my life as a staff nurse, with both undergraduate and postgraduate dissertations focussing on the armed forces and now I’m completing a PhD in the area.
These little boys watched both there’s fathers at a parade in Ely Cambridgeshire. Sgt major & Commanding officer of D company (Cambridgeshire) of the 1st battalion the Royal Anglian Regiment. They both waited so Patiently to get this photo. A day they will both remember forever.
Her daddy deployed for 7 months to Afghanistan on her first birthday, just as the UK entered its first Covid lockdown. She became a pro at video calls at the age of 1!
This is our Granddaughter and after generations of family members who have served & who are still serving a message that no matter how long ago we must always be thankful.
Taken during my chemo regime- my daughter(RAMC) pure rock.
This image to me reflects some of the difficulties of Service life; this was me (the serving soldier) reunited with my siblings at our grandfather's funeral on 10 / 3 / 21. I was serving overseas in Germany and had to negotiate travelling whilst the COVID pandemic was starting to take hold as well as trying to work around a career course I was attending.
Joyful times in sombre occasions; my daughter Eloise (then aged: 3) and I at the final British Forces Germany Remembrance Day Parade in 2018.
Typical for many service children, spending their birthdays away from either mum or dad. We were lucky that daddy managed a video call on our daughter’s first birthday.
A very cold, wet day, spent on the Round Tower in Portsmouth waving Daddy home from a deployment just in time for Christmas.
Our children heading confidently into airport departures returning to boarding school after a holiday at home.
This is just one of the many happy times we enjoyed in the Wardroom at HMS Drake. We made many friends there, including the doctors and dentists and always joked about clerical /medical connections! We were always invited to the Junior Doctors' Reading Group in the Bar Below and the banter over supper. We also enjoyed leading everyone singing Auld Lang Syne at Burns Night.