For military families | Cruse Bereavement Care

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Death is always hard to cope with but different groups of people will have different needs. Military life is different from life in 'civvy street' and Cruse understands that that those who have lost a loved one whilst they were serving in the Armed Forces may have particular issues and experiences that can complicate the grieving process.

Bereavement support can be accessed through your local Cruse branches, or by calling our helpline.

Supporting the military family

Cruse can provide support directly to the family and partners of Service personnel through our National Helpline and network of local services.  We also work with the Welfare Teams of all three services to deliver bereavement awareness training as part of our Supporting the Military Family project.  For more information see our Supporting the Military Family project page or contact the Project Manager Gary Martin. Tel: 0208 939 9551. Email:

To help those serving and their families Cruse has been working with Welfare Teams from all three services to deliver Bereavement Awareness training.

Read about how children and young people may grieve and what is available to help those in military families.

We offer a number of leaflets and DVDs for adults and children covering aspects of bereavement in the military family. 

A guide to what happens, and what support the bereaved can expect from the Armed Forces and others, following a death in Service.

We outline the processes which happen to notify families when someone in the services dies.

The Visiting Officer (VO) should provide support and guidance and will normally be the person who delivers the effects to the executor or to the authorised family member.

Many serving personnel live in their own homes, but for those who live in service accommodation there are often concerns about when they have to move.

Information on arranging military funerals including MOD policy and help with costs for private funerals.

Condolence letters and letters of sympathy for those such as missing believed killed can be a great source of comfort. 

Not all deaths require an inquest or a service inquiry (formerly a Board of Inquiry) and each case may be different.

Some information on financial matters and benefits following a death in service, and what happens if there is no will.

All mobilising service personnel become regular service personnel at the point of mobilisation and are entitled to all the benefits that regular personnel are entitled to.

The Veterans Welfare Service (VWS) exists to enhance the quality of life for veterans and beneficiaries of SPVA (Service Personnel and Veterans Agency) pensions and compensation schemes.

Many families place great importance on the recognition given to a life lost in the services. However there can also be disappointment when some people do not get medals or the recognition their family feel they should have.

Some information for young people from others who have been in the same situation.

Some links and information on additional sources of support.

The Services aim to provide the same level of service to all bereaved families including those who come from a foreign or commonwealth countries.

You don’t have to deal with the media alone – there is help available so do ask for it.

A quick list of the acronyms you will encounter on these pages, what they stand for and what they mean. 

Repatriation is the process of bringing back the body of a Service Person who has died to their home or place of origin.