Luke (serving), Frankie, Margot (7) and Elodie (4)

How long have you been an army family?

We’ve been married for nearly 12 years.

Time in Springfield?

22 months.

How many other military families live there?

Lots, all services are represented. There are military families connected to the embassy, government agencies, and US military establishments.

What’s your quarter like?

We’ve been quite lucky as we took over a private rental, which is managed by the embassy. It’s a town house, just outside Alexandria, Virginia. The elementary school is within walking distance and as part of the community we have an outdoor pool for the summer.

Are there any employment/ training opportunities?

Due to the ages of our children Frankie hasn’t worked here but there are employment opportunities, including at the British embassy.

What about schools/ childcare?

Schooling is different to the UK and not to the standard we’d expect. The US starts school a year later and is not as structured early on. We have been fortunate to meet an ex-English teacher who is giving our eldest daughter extra tuition. Pre-school childcare is expensive and spaces are competitive as most American parents work full-time.

Where do army families get together and who supports you?

The team I work in is quite close and we try to look out for each other and socialise. Frankie made friends through the BESA (British Embassy Support Association) tots’ group which has play dates and social activities for parents.

How do you find the cost of living there?

Very expensive. Food is incredibly expensive. We get Local Overseas Allowance to help bridge the gap and without this it would be unaffordable. Things that we take for granted are more expensive here such as internet and cable TV. Fuel is about half the price. We’re not able to get finance to buy a car as we don’t have a social security number, so it’s a big outlay when you first arrive.

What are the best things about living there?

The weather because the sun shines most of the time. We live within an hour’s drive of the beach in Maryland and just three hours to the beautiful Delaware coastlines.

Want to share your experiences of army family life? Get in touch by emailing

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