Bereavement Information

What Happens When A Service Person Dies?

A brief guide for the Families and Dependants of recently deceased Royal Air Force Personnel
What Happens When A Service Person Dies (PDF, 12KB)

When a Service person dies, the family may be allocated a Visiting Officer, who becomes the conduit between the family and the Service. Full details of what this entails are contained in our RAF Community Support Guide for Bereaved Families. (PDF, 648KB)

Service Inquiries & Coroners' Inquests

A Service Inquiry is a fact finding investigation undertaken by the Services for Service reasons. Its main purpose is to examine the circumstances surrounding an incident and to identify any actions that can be taken to reduce the possibility of a similar incident happening again.

An Inquest is an independent judicial inquiry into the facts surrounding a death which in England and Wales is conducted by a Coroner. The Inquest may not name who was legally responsible for causing the death. However, the Coroner does have the power to investigate not just the main cause of death but also any acts or omissions that directly led to the cause of death.

Further details on Boards of Inquiry and Inquests are available in this Ministry of Defence leaflet:

Service Inquiries & Coroners' Inquests (PDF, 632KB)

Guide to Coroners Inquests - A DVD

This excellent DVD, which is around 35 minutes long, has been created to guide you through the whole Inquest process:

A Guide to Coroners Inquests

Royal British Legion Independent Inquest Advice

The Royal British Legion (TRBL) have launched a new service to help the families of bereaved Service personnel through the difficult Inquest process. Full details, including contact telephone numbers are below:

Independent Inquest Advice (PDF, 50KB)


Cruse Bereavement Care has an excellent online facility called 'Supporting the Military Family. Their website answers specific questions, such as 'How do I hear the news?" and "Can I stay in my quarter?" and provides useful advice for widowed families.

Supporting the Military Family - Bereavement Support for Service Families

Bereavement Scholarship Scheme

Details of the Government's scheme to support the children of deceased Service personnel can be found on our page here.

Further information and useful links are at the page below:

Bereavement Links