Home moving This moving business….

This moving business….

by Clare Mansell
This moving business….
Removal Lorry

Now that the chaos has passed, I thought I’d do a post explaining a few things about how a military move works…

First of all, in the British Army you generally move to a new job every two years, but people do often leave posts early on promotion, or if a position is axed.

Most forces families spend an entire career moving around locations within Germany and the UK, we are the exception. Our next house will be our 5th home in 4 countries in less than 4 years of marriage – even by military standards that’s a lot!

We do get a degree of choice about where we go, but the ‘posting preference form’ serving personnel fill in is also known as the “dream sheet” because it’s rare to actually get one of your top job choices. Our last three postings have all been near the bottom of the list, and as such have been a complete surprise!

When we move we are given a shipping allowance based on the size of our family and the place we are posted to. Inside mainland Europe, the allowance is about 80 cubic metres 67 cubic metres, which is a house full of possessions. Further afield like Canada or Cyprus it is much less, currently just 10.6 cubic metres for the two of us. When they collected our removals on Friday we were 4.5 cubic metres over our allowance, and we will be charged for that…

Regardless of the location you are posted to the military gives you the option of having your quarter furnished. Naively when I first took on a house (as a single civilian working for BFBS) I agreed to take it furnished not realising how bad the furniture would be. 5 years later I am very familiar with the MODs nylon covered sofas, 1970s plywood dressers and rock hard beds and so we recklessly use up part of our allowance (2 cubic metres!) moving a bed around the world with us!

Unlike a move within the UK, when you are posted between countries it takes time for your possessions to reach their destination, during this time you live with a couple of suitcases of belongings and a thing called a Get You In/Out Kit, which contains basic kitchen equipment and bedding.

And finally nothing comes from free… There’s an odd myth that persists that military quarters are free to live in, not only are they not free, but when we are based overseas we have to pay a sum in lieu of UK council tax on top of our rent! Rent on houses is scaled according to their condition, a house like the one we are currently in, with no central heating and kitchen and bathrooms which haven’t been updated for 50 years, are cheaper than more modern houses.

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7 comments

Sonya March 13, 2011 - 2:34 pm

Thanks for posting this. It’s very interesting. I hope that things go well. I know waiting for my things would be hard. lol I’m always ready to tackle a new place head on. I am sure it is exciting to be somewhere different every now and then but I think it would be tiring at some point b/c you would probably be longing for roots. Anyone one can admire you for doing what you do in support of your country! And that is just awesome right there!!!

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Susanna March 13, 2011 - 2:48 pm

Very illuminating – I can only admire the fortitude of those who have to learn to cope with life on those terms.

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Anonymous March 13, 2011 - 4:38 pm

Been there! It’s pants! Am very glad we won’t have to do an army move ever again! Look forward to seeing you in the UK soon. Ruth xx

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Gill Cron March 13, 2011 - 4:49 pm

I *think* the moving allowance depends on head of house rank too..Our assessor last week told me our move to BFG with 2 kids in tow gives us a 67 cubic metres to play with.
As I said, a very slight inaccuracy…athough 13 cubic metres is a h…eck of a lot of crafting supplies 😉

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Little Island In The Med March 13, 2011 - 4:49 pm

I actually think my 80 cubic metres bit is probably wrong, 67 sounds very familiar and that’s the size of an ISO container….

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Emma March 14, 2011 - 4:44 am

Thank you for posting this, it’s very interesting. I occasionally meet people from one of the bases out here and it’s interesting to find out more about the way they live.

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Dianne Neale March 15, 2011 - 8:53 am

Well that was really interesting. Having moved lock stock and barrel from UK to Czech republic, I can imagine how hard it is for you. We ditched a load of rubbish before leaving and still filled a double lorry!
Good luck in your new posting – I look forward to reading about it

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