September 11th 2013

Reservist’s wife: I’m very proud of my husband and his achievements

A Reservist’s wife, from Codnor in Derbyshire, has spoken out for the first time about the amount of support she received at home whilst her husband was in Afghanistan and how it is great to have him home again.

Nicky Parsons, aged 42, is married to Derek, a Naval Reservist, who is based at HMS Sherwood, Nottinghamshire’s only Royal Naval Reserve (RNR) unit. The couple have three young children and have been happily married for 18 years.
Derek, who was recently promoted to Petty Officer, deployed to Afghanistan in February 2012 and completed a six month tour as a Royal Naval Reservist, working with his Regular Service colleagues. Derek was the first rating of the Royal Naval Reserve to be mobilised to Afghanistan in an Information Operations role.
He has now been home for around a year and has fitted back into his civilian life working for Anglian Home Improvements, as well as slotting back into his family life at home.
Given the timing of Derek being back at home for 12 months, Nicky has decided to share her thoughts on what being a Reservist’s wife is like and how supported she felt during her husband’s military deployment.
Nicky said: “I`m very proud of Derek and his achievements.  I feel as though Derek would have been a different person to live with if he hadn’t gone into the Navy and hadn’t joined the Reserves as this was something he had always wanted to do. If he hadn’t done this there would always have been the `what if` at the back of his mind.
“I felt very supported while Derek was away. The staff at HMS Sherwood had regular contact with me; in fact the Commanding Officer called me on many occasions to check how I and the children were getting on.  My family are very close and my mother and father, brother and sister-in-law were very supportive.   We also have friends who are ex-military and they were great! Obviously knowing what it`s like to be deployed and left behind.  “Most of Derek’s family are also ex-military and were regularly in contact to make sure the children and I were OK.”
Being a mother of three is challenging anyway but before Derek left home firstly to do his pre-deployment training and then his tour in Afghanistan it was difficult to know how life would change for her and the children for the next few months.
Nicky continued: “If you are married to a Reservist and he or she is deployed aboard of course there will be difficult times, but on the whole life continues as normal, particularly if you have a good support network around you like me.
“I know the children are also very proud of their dad and I always let everyone know how proud I am of my husband. Our 7 year-old struggled a bit to get used to his dad not being around but that is to be expected. The children’s schools were brilliant in how they helped them get through it too.
“When Derek arrived home, it took some time to accept that two people were now making the decisions in our home as I was used to doing this all myself while he was away.   If I`m perfectly honest though, getting back to normal was far easier than I anticipated.”
Derek was deployed to Afghanistan from February to August 2012, as well as completing six months pre-deployment training prior to this.
To find out more about HMS Sherwood or to learn more about how you could become a Royal Naval Reservist please call 0115 929 6373 or email