In the British Army's history, soldiers were required to seek permission from their commanding officer to marry until the late 19th century. The reason for this was to ensure that the soldier's marriage would not interfere with their duties or obligations to the army.
The practice of seeking permission to marry began during the 18th century, when the British Army was expanding rapidly and had to find ways to control its soldiers. The army saw marriage as a potential distraction for soldiers and feared that they would become less effective if they were preoccupied with family matters.
Initially, permission to marry was granted only to soldiers who had served for a certain period of time and had demonstrated good behaviour. However, during the 19th century, the rules around marriage in the army became more restrictive, and permission was only granted to soldiers of a certain rank or those who had served for a specific number of years.
The permission to marry rule was eventually abolished in the late 19th century, as the army realized that it was causing unnecessary bureaucracy and resentment among its soldiers. Since then, soldiers in the British Army have been free to marry without seeking permission from their commanding officers.
It's worth noting that soldiers in the British Army today are still subject to certain regulations regarding their marriages, such as the requirement to notify their commanding officer of their intention to marry and the need to obtain permission to get married while on active duty overseas. However, these rules are much less restrictive than the permission to marry rule of the past.
Here's an example of an official letter that a soldier in the British Army might have written to request permission to marry:
I am writing to request permission to marry [Name of Fiancé(e)] on [Proposed Date of Marriage]. I am a serving member of the British Army, currently stationed at [Name of Military Base or Unit].
I have served in the Army for [Number of Years] and have an exemplary service record. I am currently in good standing with my commanding officer and have no outstanding disciplinary issues or obligations.
I have discussed my intention to marry with my fiancé(e), and we are both committed to each other and our future together. We have carefully considered the impact that our marriage will have on my service in the Army and are confident that we will be able to manage our personal and professional responsibilities effectively.
I would be grateful if you could consider my request and provide me with permission to marry [Name of Fiancé(e)] on [Proposed Date of Marriage]. Please let me know if there are any further details or requirements that I need to fulfill in order to obtain permission.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
[Rank and Military ID Number]
18th Century Soldiers
In the 18th century, the rules and regulations regarding marriage in the British Army were quite strict. Privates, as well as soldiers of any rank, were required to seek permission from their commanding officers before they could get married.
However, the granting of permission to marry was not automatic and was dependent on various factors, such as the soldier's behaviour, length of service, and the needs of the army. Commanding officers could refuse permission to marry if they deemed it detrimental to the soldier's duties or if they felt that the marriage would have a negative impact on the army.
In general, soldiers who were newly recruited or had not served for long were less likely to be granted permission to marry. This was because the army needed to ensure that its soldiers were focused on their duties and not distracted by family responsibilities.
It's also worth noting that soldiers who were granted permission to marry were usually required to pay a fee or bond as a guarantee of their good conduct. If the soldier's conduct was deemed unsatisfactory after the marriage, the bond would be forfeited.
So while privates in the British Army were not outright prohibited from marrying in the 18th century, they were required to seek permission and were subject to strict regulations and conditions.
Here in the 20th Century, things are very different and asking permission is no longer required.