DAILY MAIL The army of wives urging British soldiers to quit the frontline By SAM GREENHILL - More by this author » Last updated on 30th October 2007 Negative: Partners of personnel returning from the frontline say the experience changed them British soldiers are under growing pressure from their families to leave the forces. Wives - and husbands - of personnel returning from the frontline say the experience has changed them in a way that is damaging family life. The first official survey of military spouses will make worrying reading for defence ministers accused of stretching the forces to unacceptable levels. Almost 4,000 spouses responded to the Ministry of Defence survey. Complaints ranged from the amount of time their partners were away to the quality of accommodation. Among the partners of privates and non-commissioned officers, nearly half (46 per cent) complained they were deployed on operational tours too frequently - and 37 per cent said they would be happier if their partner quit altogether. Asked if they thought a soldier's behaviour had changed as a result of their experience on the frontline, 42 per cent of wives and husbands said yes. Two-thirds (68 per cent) said the change had been "negative" or "very negative" on them and their families. One in five of these soldiers had sought professional counselling. In six years of fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq, 253 British service personnel have been killed and some 5,500 wounded. Regiments are often sent back into action after minimal time with their families. The complaints were not confined to the Army. Half of Navy wives and husbands said they often felt lonely and isolated, while 38 per cent said they had experienced marital problems due to their partner being in the services. Defence Minister Derek Twigg said last night that looking after service families was a matter of "huge importance" and the survey would help target key concerns. But Tory spokesman Liam Fox said: "Unfortunately this is the human cost of overstretch."