COVID-19: Chief of Defence People’s letter to families

The Chief of Defence People, Lieutenant General James Swift OBE, has written to service families to provide reassurance during the COVID-19 outbreak and outline the support available during these uncertain times.

The full letter
Annexe B
Annexe C

More COVID-19 information for military families can be found on our dedicated web page.



    My son is presently on tour overseas and I’d due to fly home end of April beginning of May. He is stationed over 200 mile from his home he has been told camp has shut down at this present time. Will he be allowed to travel home?

    Susan and Julie,

    Thank you for your comments. We have asked the army about protection for service personnel and they have informed us that they are taking all necessary measures to protect service personnel and minimise the risk of exposure to COVID-19.

    Unless army personnel are working in key posts that are critical to maintain operational capability, they will be encouraged to work from home and follow health protection measures as outlined by the Government. For those that have to travel to work, Government advice is being followed and all appropriate measures have been put in place to reduce the risk of exposure.

    For those personnel in units who have been warned off to contribute to the nations response to COVID-19, and to minimise the impact on the army through exposure, all personnel have been sent to their home locations. They will be recalled by their chain of command as and when units are activated.

    If activated, personnel will be afforded the most appropriate level of personal protection to minimise the risk of exposure dependent upon the role they will undertake.

    My partner is in the army. We’ve been together for a year and he would normally come and spend a whole weekend with me in my house. Now he’s about to come back from a two week deployment and wanted to see me before he will get deployed again to help with Covid-19. My question is, are we allowed to meet or him to come to my house as we normally do before?

    Hi there, thank you for your question. Please take a look at the Gov.UK website at for information about social distancing. Government advice is that people should not be socialising apart from within the household. Therefore, if people don’t live together, they shouldn’t be meeting.

    I just wanted to see if it was safe for soldiers to still return home as normal, camp closed down & mostly everyone sent home. He’s a medic so only doing emergency calls, medication etc, so he’s not in contact with many people. Although we follow the GOV guidelines, what is the army’s opinion on this? If it’s safe for as long they don’t show symptoms and not working with a group of people? I think yous should be advising from your views allowing soldiers to come home to there children.

    Hi Kim, thank you for your comment. Please do take a look at the reply we posted yesterday for the army’s response about protection for service personnel.

    Doesn’t quite answer the question.
    My husband obviously lives within the household (not pad) home at weekends. So if he’s leaving to go to work & coming home it’s a little conflicted. He’s either safe to come home after going to work or he isn’t ! And also yous claim yous follow the guidelines from the government when we both know the army make it up as they please. My exact reason for asking. Medic centres are closed on camp but my husband is still taken calls. Everyone’s been sent home so that’s NOT ESSENTIAL. So he should be home. So yous DONT follow guidelines.

    Hi Kim, many thanks for your comment, however, we are an independent charity and not part of the army so we’re sorry we can’t help further, but please ask your soldier to address any issues or concerns with his chain of command.

    Dear Sir
    Whilst I welcome this document advising service families of support in these uncertain times, I would like to question the lack of advice for people like myself as a serving single parent. I rely on an au pair to support my childcare needs and she much like most au pairs has decided to return to her home country. My eldest son is able to attend school in normal school hours but I have no wrap around care for him. My youngest son is the only child at his nursery with a key worker parent and as such it is not viable for them to open just for him. I want to fulfill my role, I want to be out with my Regiment but I am unable to due to my personal circumstances. Please provide advice and guidance for those serving in a similar situation.

    Many thanks for posting your query, we advise you speak to your chain of command in the first instance.

    I’m not ashamed to admit that I am scared. My husbands continuing with his military duties. He is our family’s only weak link to the outside world when everything else is shut down. I don’t have the confidence that others are abiding by the social distancing that he works with. After reading about medical staff contacting the virus in PPE, how at risk is my husband without?

    Will our guys and girls be given the same protection as they can’t take time off my husband is in the army.

Share a thought

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top

What our families say about AFF

“AFF - just a thank you for all that you do!!”

“What an awesome organisation”

“Thank you so much Army Families Federation!”

Find out more
12,563enquiries received in 2018
3,284responses to our Big Survey 2018
33,342 unique website views during April
100%positive feedback at our Foreign & Commonwealth events in 2018