While many of the chapters recruit from dangerous planets where potential space marines are found among the child survivors of brutal gang warfare, or an environment that wants to kill them, or the other myriad of grimdark things that can be considered as just a bit of toughening up and probably mean the child is, or soon will be an orphan anyway. Some initiates are chosen from peaceful planets through a genuine selection process. In this case there families will be alive, there parents will live to an old age and they will be aware there child has gone to join the Legio Astartes.

In this case does the space marine ever return back to visit there parents and family or are all the old ties cut off.

  • 1
    Really depends per chapter, but atleast the Salamander keep in touch with their families atleast.
    – NinoM
    Commented Jun 4, 2019 at 12:57
  • The chapter is their family now.
    – Smock
    Commented Jun 4, 2019 at 15:08

2 Answers 2



  • It depends on the chapter.
  • Expected life spans in 40k can be significantly different from planet to planet.

So I can not speak to all chapters, but it depends on the chapter what the level of communication they have with their families and even their home worlds in general after their recruitment.

For example, the Ultramarines have the chance to return home every so often (as duty allows of course) and recruiting is a familial brag. It is not a common thing, given that before an astartes could return home the first time their immediate family could have been deceased for decades or longer.

The Dark Angels prefer their aspirants to cut ties with all they have left behind and they never have a chance to return to their home worldsafter they leave. In addition, the chapter only returns to their recruiting worlds around once per generation, so even seeing a Space Marine is a once in a life time thing for the planet's inhabitants.

With both of the extremes covered there is also everything in between that exists as well. The White Scars at the very least return the bodies of fallen astartes to their home towns to be burned on a ceremonial pyre and the Space Wolves interact with the tribes of Fenris whenever the need/occasion arises.

I think it is also important to point out that generations in 40k can be significantly shorter than you may think is typical. Today we strive to live to 80 years of age or maybe even 100 if we are ?lucky?, but life spans in the 41st millennium can be drastically different.

I would expect those in the realm of Ultramar to have a longer lifespan, possibly similar to or better than what we see today, but on the death world of Fenris (Space Wolves) the Elders of the tribes are typically no older than like 25 to 30. I am trying to remember where I first read that from, but I think it was from our introduction to Ragnar Thunderfist (soon to be Blackmane) from the Space Wolf novel... another moment where I wish I had all digital copies to make searching easier...

  • The Deathwing expansion to the original Space Hulk board game contained a story about the Dark Angels Deathwing company returning to their home planet, as they apparently did every generation, to gather new recruits. In the story they find the planet infested with Genestealers and must purge the infestation.
    – user22478
    Commented Jun 4, 2019 at 21:14
  • 1
    The process of being made an astartes is rather brutal with only a percentage of aspirants surviving the change, wonder how families feel when the find out little johnny died on an operating table. Although in the 41st millenium that is probably seen as a good life :).
    – Richard C
    Commented Jun 5, 2019 at 8:53
  • 1
    @RichardC - I have wondered that myself; though I expect in the 41st military appreciation is pretty much absolute and dying while trying to become a super human is probably still leagues better than a simple line soldier... though maybe they don't really find out either and just assume their son never got a chance to come back and is off on some distant battlefield... that would probably work out better...
    – Odin1806
    Commented Jun 5, 2019 at 15:13

It really depends on the chapter, but the general rule seems to be "once you're a Space Marine, you're chapter is your family". Probably the most extreme example (and one that displays it the best way" is the story of (then still loyal) Night Lords:

During the Great Crusade, Night Lords returned to Nostromo for a victory parade. This parade is briefly disrupted when an elderly woman runs between marching Marines looking closely at them and asking questions. One of them is pretty disturbed by this and feels relief when the woman is taken away and promptly executed. Later on, he asks one of his comrades "who was that woman?", to which he hears "It was your mother, she was asking for you". This shows, that the training can make them forget even the look of their parents.

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