From the Telegraph today, 21 Feb. Don't get caught: the Army's rule of engagement if having affairs (Filed: 21/02/2004) Andrew Gimson seeks out opinions at Catterick Garrison The outside world has absolutely no idea what Army life is like and should not be given the chance to read in the newspapers about adulterous sexual relationships between military personnel. This was the unanimous view among soldiers in bars at Catterick Garrison in North Yorkshire, when asked how the Army's reputation might be affected by press reports of an employment hearing involving an affair between a female warrant officer and a cavalry major. Monica Jefferies, who served seven years as an Army medic and now works for NHS Direct, said: "There are ways of being discreet. You can be shagging the colonel but the world does not need to know." Miss Jefferies thought the Army had become more tolerant of sexual relations between people of different rank: "I don't think they're as strict as they used to be. When I joined as a private you didn't dare so much as look at a lance-corporal sideways. Now it's accepted. But if you get in that position I don't think you'd really want to pour your heart out to the papers." A young infantryman from Liverpool who served in the Iraq war said no one outside the Army could know what it was like. "You live an Army life and you go home for five days and they just don't understand what you've seen. "How can you lead a normal life after you've put someone's guts back in someone's stomach? We had to give first aid in the streets and there was this Iraqi woman who had nothing to do with it. That one, she died. Her arm was hanging off and her guts were hanging out and she had a baby with her. "When you go home they say, 'Oh, did you kill someone?' They think it's like off the films. People don't understand how much blood you see when you've been shot. One of our lads, a young officer, was shot. They reckon it was a sniper. He got shot in the front, it ricocheted round his body and took one of his buttocks off. The blood just poured out and out. "The first time I carried a body bag with someone inside it you hear this noise, swish, swish. You think, what is it? It's the blood swishing about in the bag. It is disturbing. And you're expected to carry on." The infantryman said Army life, with its long separations, has a catastrophic effect on marriages. "I would never get married in the Army. When the husbands are away all the wives come down here [to the bars in Catterick Garrison] and you think, 'If I was married, that could be my wife'. Don't bring your wife to the garrison. Leave her at home. "I'm not saying everyone does, but a lot of them do sleep with someone else. There's no written rule, but there's an unwritten rule for me and my mates, you'll not sleep with the same battalion's wives. If she takes you to her house the first thing you look at is the photos [to see if her husband is a comrade]." Several squaddies said they were tempted to get someone pregnant and get married so they could move out of barracks, where they live four to a room, into married quarters. But they all admitted divorce was rife. A young squaddie described how, just before he returned from a six-month tour of duty, his 19-year-old girlfriend rang and said she did not want to see him. He discovered she is three months pregnant by another squaddie she says she does not love. A taxi driver who recently left the Royal Logistics Corps said that during his 16 years' service he was married twice and divorced twice. He has an eight-year-old son by one of these marriages and a child by the woman with whom he now lives, who also has two children of her own. He wants to see the eight-year-old, who lives only three miles away. "But my ex-wife, she's still bitter and says he doesn't want to see me. When I talk about going to law so I can see him she says he starts wetting the bed and that. So I think I'll just have to wait." A man who joined the Royal Army Medical Corps at the age of 17 and is now 22 said: "The Army is a single man's job. I don't believe anyone not in the Army will understand. The rule is not to be caught. "The journalists' view of the Army is of a load of meatheads who can drink a lot. But you're still a human being, you've still got human values." Overall, IMHO, not a bad article - but isn't it the same for civvies having affairs? Don't get caught? Don't do it in the 1st place, but do civvies do it to get caught? Strange point to lead with.