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access by foreigners to british training camps denied?!


terwaan

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hello everyone,

I'm doing my PhD on the British and Allied Soldiers Evangelistic Campaign, founded by the Americans Ralph C. Norton and Edith Norton-Fox.

In the early years of the Great War they visited the Training Camps with the Y.M.C.A. whilst they were with the Chapman-Alexander Simultaneous Campaign in the UK. When the team went on with their regular campaigns in the US, the Nortons wanted to keep on evangelizing the British (and foreign soldiers) in coöperation with the UK YMCA.

To set up their organization and to raise funds they went to the USA from December 29th 1914 until June 29th 1915.

Upon their return to the UK they were confronted by new regulations that restricted access to the military training camps to UK citizens only. Apparently this measure/law was withdrawn some time later in 1915.

I am looking for the exact name and text of this law/measure, and from when until when this law/measure was in effect.

Is there anyone who can help me with this?

Thanks from Zeebrugge (Belgium)

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good suggestion, but the timeframe does not fit.

This law came in force in august 1914. At that time Norton could enter the camps without a problem.

So it must be an act or measure that must be passed or became working from January 1 1915 on and before mid July 1915

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I don't think that it would have to be enshrined on law - an instruction from the army command that non British Citizens are barred from the camps issued as a standing order would be sufficient. Army training camps are not and were not public spaces with an automatic right of entry to non military personel so the army could decide who they wanted to let in or not bythemselves.

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DORA was amended and expanded on numerous occasions during the war. You might try searching Hansard (the record of British Parliament) for the timeframe in question.

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In the period under consideration there was an outbreak of spy mania in Britain which could well have resulted in a general prohibition. If it were done by a general order these were recorded and in effect published somewhere in army documentation. Not sure where these would be kept - National Archives I assume. I assume that entry to training camps were more or less controlled by passes and it would be the issue of these that would have been restricted.

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Certainly in the first few months of the war there were all sorts of such mania, with "spies" being reported in Canadian and British camps on Salisbury Plain. Woe betide anyone caught with notebook and pencil - or, worse still, a camera. (Plus ca change - there are frequent stories nowadays because of people getting in to trouble for innocently photographing stations and shopping centres.)

For an anecdote about passes (not really relevant to Ralph's enquiry)

click here

Moonraker

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I have found a more precise description on this: "At the time the Nortons returned to England, an order had been issued by the British military authorities, to the effect that none but British subjects could be employed by the Y.M.C.A. in the British camps"

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So this would not have required any legislation. It may have been a reaction to members of the American YMCA mission in Germany who would seem to have overstepped the bounds of neutrality.

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Perhaps the restriction applied to non-allies? I have one postcard of Belgian refugees helping build an army camp near Salisbury, perhaps in early 1915, and another, dated 1917, from another Belgian, working in a military office at Codford Camp. By then, various nationalities were evident working in the camps, including Portuguese and Chinese (and, of course German PoW working parties were also used for labour.

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So this would not have required any legislation. It may have been a reaction to members of the American YMCA mission in Germany who would seem to have overstepped the bounds of neutrality.

This is new to me! Can you please tell me more about this?

Thanks

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The head of the American YMCA in Germany - a German American - appears to have been involved in attempts to glean intelligence etc from POWs. I came across the information some time ago. He does not seem to have been shy about talking about it. I was looking for something else at the time and came across it by accident so to speak. I'll see if I kept any notes on it.

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