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The TA & Reservists

Having a family member deployed as a Reservist or in the TA is just as demanding as being part of a family with a regular serviceperson.  Sometimes it’s even harder because as a family you are perhaps not as used to the separation that is the day to day business of a Regular.


You won’t live on camp and have the support of other families going through the same emotional rollercoaster as you.  Quite often your friends will know that you have a partner / husband / child deployed as part of the a reserve force but they won’t have a clue exactly what they are doing. If someone asked you what they did for a living – would you say Truck Driver or would you say Forces?


Most people naively think that TA soldiers just train alongside the regular Forces in the UK and have no idea that they are out on the frontline. That is really hard to deal with.  From the moment you know they are deploying you have just the same feelings as everyone else. As a parent or a partner you still have that hideous scared feeling in the pit of your stomach that doesn’t go away until they are back home safe. You still sit by the news channel half hoping to see a glimpse of them, half dreading what is coming next. You are in the horrible club, so a big welcome.


Whatever happens, don’t be scared to tap into the huge resources of the regular Forces. The British Armed Forces relies heavily on the courage and diligence of the Reservists. They are considered no less a member of the Forces Family and as such, they are entitled to the same welfare support.


The Families Federations work hard to support all families so use them if you need support. Pick up the phone or send an email if you want more information, ask as much as you like. People will be genuinely happy to help you.


Use the Chat Room and Forums available and feel part of the community of people sharing your worries.


The Territorial Army is made up of volunteers but with around 35,000 members makes up almost a quarter of the manpower available to the Army. During periods of conflict like Afghanistan now for example, the TA can account for 10% of the people deployed.


The TA is the largest of all the Reserve Forces, the others being the Royal Naval Reserve (RNR) who has approximately 3,250 men and women who train in peacetime then support in war. The Royal Marines Reserve (RMR) who will have passed through the same Commando Course as regular Royal Marines and the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (RAFVR).


Covering the United Kingdom, the TA is divided into three types of unit; National, Regional and Sponsored.  


When a member of the Regular Armed Forces leaves the service, he or she remains liable to be recalled when needed, and this group of ex-Regular personnel is known as the Regular Reserve.  Around 420 Regular Reservists were called-up for service in Iraq in 2003, and around 90 are serving today in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Balkans. The length of time people remain in the Regular Reserve depends on a number of factors, such as the length of their Regular service, age and sex.


If you want some more information, then take a look at the following websites

The Supporting Britain’s Reservists and Employers campaign – SaBRE :-


The Army Families Federation


The RAF Reserves website:-


RAF Community Support website