I put Ils me manquaient quand ils étaient partis but the answer given is Ils m'ont manqué quand ils étaient partis.
I thought it would be imparfait because I was in a state of missing them all the time they were absent.
Ils me manquaient quand ils étaient partis sounds to French ears like "I was missing them when they were away". If that's what you want to say, the imperfect tense is great. If, however, you are talking about a single instance you would use the passé composé.
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