HMS Queen Elizabeth returned home to Portsmouth after her maiden operational deployment which took the nation’s flagship to the Indo-Pacific and back. (Picture: MOD) 

Families

Homecoming: what all military families have in common

Watch a Royal Navy video that perfectly encapsulates the emotions surrounding long deployment.

HMS Queen Elizabeth returned home to Portsmouth after her maiden operational deployment which took the nation’s flagship to the Indo-Pacific and back. (Picture: MOD) 

The Royal Navy has released a ‘Homecoming’ short film to mark the return of sailors who have been deployed on HMS Queen Elizabeth for seven months.  

The video encapsulates the emotions that families experience while living on ‘other ends of the world’.

The short film is narrated by Rachel Smyth, a military spouse who along with her two children is waiting for her husband to come back from deployment on the nation's flagship.

Rachel says that even though she and her partner are miles apart they are “going through the same motions.”

To help the children cope with the separation Mrs Smyth has two clocks hanging next to each other that show different times.

One clock shows “what the time is currently at home” while the other is set to the time zone of where the children’s father is deployed.

“As Daddy goes through the time zones, we amend the other clock

“So, whenever they need to know what time it is wherever Daddy is they can just look at the clock.”

Mr Smyth has been on five deployments during the 14 years that he has been Rachel.

Rachel shares the feeling of many military spouses that being apart “never gets any easier.”

She has picked up “little tricks of the trade” such as hanging up two clocks, that help the family feel connected and help them deal with the situation.

“We are very much a strong family unit and the time apart, it's really really hard, but it makes every single second that he is home that bit more special.”

The Smyths are immensely proud to be a Royal Navy family.

"The children are so proud. They don’t stop talking about it. Everyone knows that Daddy is in the Navy.”

The video perfectly summarises the anticipation that many military families experience leading up to a reunion at the end of a long deployment.

“The children and myself are so excited, the kids are singing their daddy is coming home, constantly talking about the plans.

“What are we going to do, what is the day going to look like?

“Every morning when they wake up and the littlest says “how many days is it now? How many have we got to go?”

HMS Queen Elizabeth returns to Portsmouth after completing global mission. (Picture: UK MOD © Crown copyright 2021)

The video ends with beautifully cinematic shots of HMS Queen Elizabeth returning to Portsmouth following her maiden voyage.

Friends and family eagerly greeted the crew with flags, banners, and hugs at the ready.

As the family embrace at the end of the jetty, the joy of the reunion on screen is palpable.

HMS Queen Elizabeth, the largest and most powerful vessel in the Royal Navy’s arsenal, has led the UK’s Carrier Strike Group for the past seven months.

The flagship’s entire company of 700 can be served a meal within 90 minutes – 45 minutes when at action station. Luckily, after being away at sea for 28 weeks the crew are home in time for Christmas.