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Telephone Calls

Cartoon Telephone : Vector, set various phones, mobile and desktop, isolated on whiteWhen they phone your every word between you is treasured no matter what you talk about. (unless they call at the childrens bathtime of course in which case you barely hear a word they say).


You do always wish the calls could last longer but unfortunately that is not always possible. You have to accept and learn to make the most of what you get. You will find ways to pack in all the things you want to say in a short space of time that you have been itching to tell them.


It’s such a rush to hear their voice - not forgetting the mad race to the phone in the hope it is them at the other end. Calls do give you both such a boost. It completely transforms your day just to know they are safe and well. Difficult to describe to someone who hasn’t been through it too.


Concentrate on all the happy things and try not to talk about anything too negative. An easy thing to say and not always to do but you need to feel your morale boosted just as they need it too. It’s a big spoonful of sugar to sweeten up every call. If there are any hiccups or problems then never dwell upon them too much. You don’t want to ruin or waste your call.


If you keep a note by your phone of important things that you must mention helps a lot. You don’t want to be kicking yourself afterwards saying you should have said this that or the other.


Sometimes, the connection gets cut off. Don’t worry about it, it doesn’t mean that something is wrong. There are loads of simple explanations as to why it might happen. They will call back when they can.


Everyone in theatre (deployed) will get 30 minutes free phone calls per week and that is some help but you are bound to want more than that. You can top up their card so you aren’t so limited.


Look up Paradigm Forces to help you with your communications. There is a family services page where it gives you all the information for topping up phone cards.


WelComE telephone and Internet

The WelComE (Welfare Communications Everywhere) service is provided by Paradigm as part of the Skynet 5 PFI contract with the MoD. Paradigm has provided millions of hours of welfare telephone calls since Op Telic began and provides Internet and email services that are free for use to entitled UK military personnel deployed on operations overseas.


Family and friends can leave free voicemail messages and top-up the Paradigm account cards of entitled UK military personnel currently serving on operational duty overseas. Please ensure that you use the correct phone numbers provided.


Top-up service

Paradigm will need the following information from you:

Their name and rank and service number

Their 9-digit Paradigm account card number

Your own debit/credit card details

Free voicemail service (UK)

You will need to:

Dial 0800 051 0737 (freephone number when calling from a UK landline only)

At voice prompt, enter the 9-digit Paradigm account card number of the person to whom you wish to leave a message

Leave your message and hang up

Messages can last up to 2 minutes

A maximum of 10 messages can be saved per account

Voicemails can be saved for a maximum of 60 days only

Free message retrieval service for in-theatre contact

Network extras may apply, Please contact your telephone provider for details.

For further details, please contact:

The WelComE Customer Contact Centre

Opening hours: (UK) Mon – Fri 0600hrs to 2200hrs

Telephone: 01438 282121




Ship/Unit - Base Port Numbers

Ships and Units have regular telephone numbers when in base ports which are available from the Ministry of Defence Telephone Exchange on:


023 9272 2351 - Portsmouth

01436 674321 - Faslane

01752 553740 - Plymouth


Please note that the MOD Exchange can only connect you to the permanent ship's telephone numbers held on record. This is no guarantee there will be a unit on the end of the line. So if you find yourself hanging on the line for some time it is likely the ship has not arrived in port yet!!


Ship/Unit - Non-Base Port Numbers

In a UK (other than Naval Base) or a foreign port, ships have 24 hours to register their telephone numbers with Fleet Operations. Naval bases/establishments can provide details of the numbers. During working hours Help Desk can also obtain these numbers. Remember some countries outside the UK have very poor phone systems, lines are not always connected for brief visits (e.g. re-fuelling) and sometimes ships are unable to go alongside so no phones can be connected.


Mobile Phones

At sea in coastal waters and on some phone contracts it is often possible to use your mobile telephone to phone and text your loved one. This is permitted by ships' COs although the use of phone cameras is usually not allowed. However, there will be times when the use of mobile phones is forbidden due to safety or security reasons so do not be anxious if you are unable to get through. Service personnel and families are advised to check out their phone provider's conditions of use and the associated cost of calls abroad. There have been occasions where personnel have incurred considerable debt due to mobile phone usage.