E-Mail

E-Mail is now recognised as the primary method of communication to and from ships at sea and deployed units. So making sure that you have your loved ones official e-mail address before they deploy should be a priority.

There may be times when electronic communications are restricted. This could be for multiple reasons such as safety or to maintain operational security.  Remember to keep sending your messages though as they will eventually get through!

If you feel that you are not receiving your regular e-mails then make sure you check for the latest communications updates which are posted into the ship/unit forum in the Royal Navy forum. You will also find this information posted onto the Official Facebook Group of those participating ships and units.

Postal Services

Despite advances in technological communication the importance of receiving a letter or a parcel from a loved one remains an integral part in maintaining the morale of deployed personnel.

Unsure on what you can send, what is a "Bluey", will it get there in time, what's the address?

The British Forces Post Office (BFPO) will have the answers. They can be contacted via their website or by calling their enquiries team direct on 03457 69 79 78 

Need to calculate the cost of a parcel? The BFPO information Smartphone Application can help. Simply enter the size, weight and destination, it even gives final mailing deadlines for important annual dates like Christmas. 

Ever wondered where your letter or parcel is? The BFPO Track and Trace Smartphone Application can provide the answer. 

Telephone

Ships and Units have regular telephone numbers when in base ports which are available from the MoD Exchange:

Portsmouth - 02392 72 23 51

Faslane - 01436 67 43 21

Plymouth - 01752 55 37 40

Numbers for ships in alternative UK ports or abroad can also be obtained via these numbers.


Mobile Phones

"When I tell people I don't own a mobile phone and wouldn't know how to text, they react as though I have just confessed that I can't read." - Craig Brown

The mobile phone is very much the king of current communication to and from deployed ships and units.

The use of mobile phones at sea is governed by two factors; whether you can get a signal and whether its use is authorised by Command.

If communications are restricted due to safety or security reasons family and friends will, where possible, be notified via the Royal Navy forum.

If you do use a mobile, remember they are not secure so be careful what you discuss. 

Service personnel and families are strongly advised to check their phone provider's conditions of use and the associated cost of calls abroad prior to any deployment.


WelComE

Welfare Communications Everywhere (aka WelComE) provides UK Service Personnel deployed on "welfare entitled" deployments and exercises with publicly funded calls, voicemail and internet access.

For more information go to the WelComE website or call their Customer Contact Centre on 0800 433 49 93 (Mon-Fri 0600-2200 GMT)

V Boat Familygrams

FAMILYGRAMS ADVICE TO NOMINEES

Introduction

A service person will be required to nominate a family member or friend before the Familygram facility is made available. The Familygram is a one-way only means of communicating a short message from you to the submarine and cannot be replied to. The aim of the Familygram is to keep the service person updated with events at home.

They should ideally be sent either twice a week and should consist of no more than sixty words each, or once a week consisting of no more than 120 words. The words permitted are inclusive of the service persons, rank or rate, service number and name.

Familygrams are not private and should be treated along the lines of a postcard. Once they are received in Faslane they will be read by an Officer to ensure no codes or bad news are enclosed (see below). On completion, they will be typed up ready for

transmission to the submarine. Once on board they will be checked again by the Commanding Officer before distribution to the individuals. This means your message may be seen by up to half a dozen people prior to reaching its recipient on board, although confidentiality will always be maintained.

The person to whom you are sending Familygrams will have filled out a questionnaire stating how often they expect to be receiving messages, from whom, and whether any good or bad news is expected whilst they are away. You should discuss this questionnaire prior to deployment. You will receive a reminder if no Familygrams are received for a certain length of time (normally 10 days). No Familygrams will be sent if it is suspected of containing a coded message or any bad news. 

BAD NEWS 

In the unfortunate event that you need to relay bad news to the submarine, this should not be done through a Familygram.

If circumstances should arise whilst your serving person is deployed, such as a death in the family or a serious illness, you should contact The Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre (JCCC) and inform the Submarine Augmentation Watch / Support Crew. For other circumstances contact RNRMW and the Submarine Augmentation Watch / Support Crew who will be able to advise accordingly. All contact details can be found below.

NEWS AND SPORT 

News is regularly sent to the submarine by the Headquarters. They do try to send news of a local flavour. If you notice an item in your local newspaper, be it serious or amusing, then enclose it with your Familygram and they will do their best to include it on the next news signal. 

SENDING FAMILYGRAMS

Emails and conventional mail should be sent using the following format:

Subject Line: Service Number – Name and Title – Date

Message Body: Your message should be typed directly into the email body and attachments should not be used.

Example:

Subject Line:  30000003 – Bloggs A – 25/10/18

Message Body: THIS IS AN EXAMPLE OF HOW TO SET OUT A FAMILYGRAM YOU WILL NOTICE THAT THERE IS NO PUCTUATION AND YOU CANNOT SEND PICTURES THE LENGTH OF THIS MESSAGE CAN BE UP TO 120 WORDS BUT YOU MAY SEND TWO 60 WORD MESSAGES PER WEEK THIS IS SO OTHER NOMINATED PERSONS CAN GET INVOLVED TOO

Your messages can be posted or emailed to the following addresses:

Postal:

BUSINESS REPLY SERVICE 

LICENCE NO PHQ3 

MAIL OFFICE 

HMS NEPTUNE (FOR HMS ………….) 

FASLANE 

HELENSBURGH 

DUNBARTONSHIRE

G84 8HL 

Email:

HMS VENGEANCE - NAVY-HMSVENGEANCEFAMILYGRAM@mod.uk

HMS VICTORIOUS:               HMSVICT-FAMILYGRAMS@mod.gov.uk

HMS VIGILANT -  NAVY-HMSVIGILANTFAMILYGRAM@mod.gov.uk

CONTACT INFORMATION

AUGMENTATION WATCH / SUPPORT CREW 

The Augmentation Watch / Support Crew have a duty organisation providing 24 hours a day cover and can be contacted through the HMNB CLYDE Operator: 01436 674321 (Faslane – Option1 and ask for the relevant Submarine Augmentation Watch/Support Crew)

Joint Casualty & Compassionate Centre (JCCC)

JCCC is staffed 24 hours a day including weekends and bank holidays and can be contacted on: 01452 519 951.

ROYAL NAVY ROYAL MARINE WELFARE (RNRMW)

Can be contacted on T:+ 44 (0)23 9272 8777. E: navynps-peoplesptrnrmeportal@mod.gov.uk .

When unmanned a message may be left on the answer phone machine.

In an EMERGENCY the DUTY NAVAL BASE OFFICER (DNBO) (Telephone contact No 01436 674321 ext 4005) who will be able to contact the RNRMW Duty Worker on your behalf.

RNRMW can do the following: Receive and deal with urgent messages of a compassionate nature for any member of the submarine. When appropriate arrange a home visit or advise as appropriate. 

RNRMW INFORMATION SUPPORT OFFICERS (WISO) 

Offer a signposting and referral service and are available to the Service Personnel, their families and friends who are looking for information, support and resources.  

RNRMW Information Support Officers can be contact directly through the Royal Navy website or T: 01436 678029 E: navynps-peoplesptrnrmwinfo@mod,gov.uk