Life after the Navy 1- Move from man in uniform to man at M&S

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Kim RichardsonKim Richardson

Kim met Mike in 1981. During their engagement, Mike was serving on HMS Coventry when it sank during the Falklands War.  They married in 1983 and have two children.  During his career, Mike served in a number of ships and shore establishments including two years in Naples, accompanied by the family.  Mike retired from the Royal Navy in 2006 as a Commander and Kim has witnessed his transition to civilian life. 

Since 2004 Kim has been Chairperson of the Naval Families Federation (NFF).  The NFF is an independent organisation that provides practical advice and support to naval families on issues that affect them such as housing.  It also gives naval families a voice.  Kim regularly meets the Second Sea Lord in his role as the Principal Personnel Officer for the Royal Navy and represents family issues at ministerial meetings in the Ministry of Defence. 

Kim comments on some of the changes since her husband left the Navy.

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Extract Text (Duration 2.03)

The bit that I didn't like was the change from uniform into a suit, because I had been used to him arriving home in uniform and I like a naval uniform, and all of a sudden he's in, you know, ‘man at Marks and Spencer's', and the biggest decision of the morning is what tie goes with what shirt, and for me that was probably the leveller I suppose, that actually that aspect of our life has gone. And we do have contact with the service now through my job and there's several things that I've been invited to where my husband now comes along as ‘husband of', and that's been quite nice actually, that's sort of the tables turning a bit. But still we go to, you know, evening events and things and he's not in uniform, he's in dinner jacket or whatever, and so that for me has been one of the aspects of him leaving.

But on the up-side, if he's doing a particularly busy part of the job I've had flowers delivered from his boss to acknowledge the fact that he's not at home very much, and I've been and done things and seen things that I didn't when he was in the service. So he's happy, he has never looked back, he feels it was the right decision at the right time and what he's doing now he's thoroughly enjoying. So I suppose the approach I have always adopted right from when we first got married was ‘so long as you're happy in what you're doing we will fit in with you, we will follow you and, you know, do whatever it takes to enable you to carry on and do your job,' and I don't see that as being any different now he's left the service and he's in Civvy Street, it's still the same.

Effect on son's relationship with father

3.00 mins - mp3 File

Advantages of partner being in the Navy

1.28 mins - mp3 File

"You've got to prepare for it"

1.32 mins - mp3 File

Adapting to civilian life

1.14 mins - mp3 File

Naval pension

0.48 mins - mp3 File

Move from uniform to man at M&S

2.03 mins - mp3 File