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Click on any of the questions below for more details.


How do I apply to adopt a squaddie?

You need to visit and complete the “registration” section. You must complete the form giving a valid PERSONAL email address (not a work or shared email please) together with a full and complete checkable UK residential address to receive your allocation. Before you register, please note that we cannot allocate any soldiers unless we have carried out certain security checks. We cannot disclose what checks we carry out but they have been approved by the Ministry of Defence. We are sure that you will understand that not everyone who registers with us is who they say they are and it is our duty to be particularly vigilant to ensure that the safety and security of our troops remains paramount at all times.

How long after I register does it take for my allocation details to come through?

Register on the registration tab on the website. The registration will be sent automatically to civilian registrations who will allocate a unique reference number (URN) to you. Your adopter’s pack will be e-mailed to you, which will include documents for you to keep, to make your time with us easier and simpler in the future. Once you receive the documents and have read and fully understood the contents, you will need to email us at using the email address you registered with (please remember to state your FULL name in the e-mail). Following receipt of this confirmation we will send the details of your service personnel adoptee to your email address, together with a Unique Reference Number (“URN”) which you should keep safe as you will need it if you wish to adopt further squaddies. (Please note that you will only need to register ONCE). If you want to adopt a second squaddie in a tour you will only need to complete the form in the AaBS Community area on the website rather than register again as in previous tours.

What details do I need to register to adopt?

You will need to include your FULL name, FULL home address (this MUST be a full, complete and checkable UK based address; house number and post code are not sufficient) and whether you are adopting as an individual or on behalf of a group (this includes other family members). Most importantly you must include a valid personal email address, which is not shared with anyone else. You cannot use work addresses or emails. Any registration that does not provide the required information will be deleted and you may be asked to re-register

Is there a limit to how many squaddies I can adopt?

Yes, we have a large number of people wanting to adopt and therefore we will be restricting allocations to individuals to 2 soldiers per tour. This may increase if more soldiers sign up with us but this cannot be guaranteed. However, if you plan on adopting for a larger group of people and may therefore need more than 2 soldiers, you should register as a “group liaison”. Please feel free to contact Sheila Marrison to discuss this further. Any further changes will be announced on the website, Twitter and AABS Facebook pages.

How long does the tour normally last?

This depends on their role but generally 6 months. You will be informed of their EOT (end of tour) date on your allocation email. Some allocations will have a shorter time until they finish. This is normal and means that the tour is generally coming to an end.

How many boxes can I send and how often can I send a box?

You can send a MAXIMUM of one parcel per month (including magazines) to your allocated squaddie. Please DO NOT send one more often than one every 4 weeks, as more than this clogs up the system and can prevent the squaddies receiving parcels from their own family/ friends and loved ones. Please DO NOT send any more than one parcel a month to your allocation in the tour as AABS is a large group and we are a responsible one at that, and do not want to cause problems for the BFPO or supply chain at the other end by people sending more than their permitted allowance

Does sending magazines count towards my box limit?

Yes. From Op Herrick 16 magazines will have to count towards your box limit. We will notify you if this changes.

What happens if my parcel weighs over 2kg at the Post Office – can I pay to have it sent?

No. The Post Office rules are that BFPO parcels must be 2kg or under otherwise they will not be accepted.

How long does it take for my box to arrive?

This varies depending on location. It can take anything up to 6 weeks.

How do I know they have received my box?

If your box is not returned to you, you should assume it has reached its destination.

Will I receive a reply from my allocation?

Sometimes, but not always. Soldiers are there primarily to do their job. They get little down time and this can mean that they do not always have time to reply. Some wait until they are home on leave or back from the tour completely. Do not be put off or feel downhearted if you do not hear back. They appreciate all we send them and will reply as and when they can.

I have been allocated a liaison soldier – what is this?

A liaison soldier acts as a distributor to a larger group. This means more than one member will be allocated these details and once your parcel is delivered it may be shared amongst a group of soldiers or passed unopened to a needy soldier. Please note that if you receive a reply from another soldier you may send letters to that soldier but not parcels as your allocated squaddie is the liaison.

I would like a “personal” squaddie, a female soldier or a soldier from a particular regiment – can I request one?

No. All our squaddies are allocated on a first come, first served basis and you will be allocated the next available squaddie on our list.

Do I have to use shoeboxes to send my goodies?

No, any box or strong bag well wrapped is ok, so long as the total dimension does not exceed 900mm. When talking dimensions, you need to measure the length, width and depth of the box (or parcel) and the TOTAL of the 3 measurements should not exceed 900mm. Any of the ONE measurements cannot exceed 600mm.

What details do I need to include when addressing the box?

You need to put the address exactly as it is on your allocation email (minus the end of tour date which is for your reference only), on the front of the box. You also need to include a return address on the back of the box. You also need to apply a customs label (which you can get from the post office in advance – they normally give you a few if you ask for them).

How do I complete a customs label?

Tick the gift box. In the items section, generalise, eg food / toiletries. In the value box, enter NCV (no commercial value) and then sign and date at the bottom. There is no need to write the weight on the label as the Post Office will do this after they have weighed your parcel.

Why do I have to include a return address?

If any parcel has any suspect / banned items in it at the time of the MOD x-raying it, they may return them to the sender. Also if, for any reason, they could not be delivered at the other end (eg, you sent it too late and your squaddie has now returned to the UK), your parcel will be returned to you.

How long before their end of tour should I post my last box?

Work on a rule of 6 weeks before their EOT (end of tour) date.

What’s a bluey?

A bluey is a form you can collect free of charge from the post office. It is a sheet of paper that you can write your letter on and it then folds up into an envelope. Address the front and the sender section on the back and you can either take into the post office or write on the stamp section “BRITISH FORCES” and pop into a post box. DO NOT write “Afghanistan” on the address as it is not required!!

What’s an ebluey and how does it work?

An e-bluey is like a bluey, just an online version. Visit and register. Follow all the instructions and when setting up the address of your squaddie, just put everything in that was included in your allocation email. If you haven’t got some of the information for the required fields just put a full stop in the space. Download the quick letter writer (as the site may time you out otherwise). Follow all the instructions as to how to complete the e-bluey. It then gets sent to a terminal in Afghanistan which will print your letter out, pre-sealed (a bit like a wage slip) and it will then get distributed to the addressee. If your squaddie decides to reply to you by this method, it will be delivered to your home by the Royal Mail.

There’s several options for BFPO 792 but I can’t find one that matches my squaddie’s address.

If your squaddie has BFPO 792 in his address and you can’t find a matching address on e-bluey, then it is perfectly acceptable to use the main one for Camp Bastion.

I can’t find my squaddie’s BFPO number in the list.

Sometimes your allocated squaddie may be in an area where the e-bluey facility is not available.

My squaddie has written to me telling me I have the wrong address. Do I need to tell anyone?

Very often squaddies are moved around. If your squaddie has moved then you should notify S. Marrison (and only her as the other admins do not have access to any personal data) either by e-mail or personal message on Facebook. There is no need for you to give her the details of your squaddie’s new address unless she specifically requests that information.

How often can I send blueys / e-blueys?

You can send as many letters as you like. Watch out for notices on the e-bluey site in case of any problems with a particular terminal, which could delay these being printed.

I haven’t heard from my squaddie – should I be worried?

No. Your allocation has no obligation to reply to you and it also depends on where they are as to what facilities they have, internet etc. Their time is also very precious and they may not have time to reply to you as well as their loved ones back home. You should carry on writing and sending your parcels, even if they do not reply.

If my squaddie friend requests me on Facebook, can I accept them?

Squaddies are being advised about the security implications of using social media sites whilst they are on operational tours. As a responsible organisation, Adopt a British Squaddie would expect its members not to accept any friend request from their adopted squaddie. Similarly, you must NOT add your squaddie to your Facebook friends.

Can I send my squaddie photographs?

Photos must not be sent without a direct request from their adoptee as some soldiers’ wives and partners have complained in the past. Pictures drawn by children are ok without permission but adopters must NOT send any photographs, without the express consent of the soldier.

What happens in the event of my squaddie being wounded or killed in action? 

Please read the “sad news protocol” contained in this pack. If you hear news that your allocated squaddie has been wounded or killed, please send a personal message to a member of the admin team immediately. DO NOT discuss this with anyone else. AABS will offer you any help and support you may need.

What is the latest date I can send Christmas parcels?

For this year (2013) the last posting day is 29 November. You must not send any parcels after this date as we do not want to risk clogging up the postal system and prevent family parcels getting through to the troops in time for Christmas.

Can I send Zoo and Nuts magazines?

We recommend that these are not sent. The prohibited items section on the BFPO website states: “magazines containing images that might offend the cultural values of host nations, even if they are widely available in the UK, eg ‘top shelf’ magazines”.

I’ve changed my name/address/e-mail since I registered. Who do I tell?

If you have changed any of your details since you registered with us, please go to the AaBS Community area of the website and complete the “Change of details” form. We’ll do the rest!

What if I have any other questions?

Please contact any of the admins of AABS. Currently they are: S. Marrison – Allocations and Registrations / F. Luxton – Shop items / M. Hazleden – Military Liaison Officer,Twitter and You tube accounts / B. Renouf – Newsletter editor