During the 18th and 19th centuries the
army discouraged soldiers from marrying. The soldier's loyalty
had to be to his regiment and not to a wife and children.
Men had to ask permission to marry. About 6 out of every
100 soldiers were allowed to do so. These were mostly sergeants.
Women who married soldiers without permission were said to
be 'off the strength'. The husband was treated as if he were single and his wife and children were ignored by the army.