Allied Leave Centers, were they exclusive?

Discussion in 'General' started by LADC, May 13, 2019.

  1. LADC

    LADC Member

    Like the subject line says were Allied Leave Centers exclusive to their own troops? Could British troops visit say an American, or Australian, or an Canadian club etc and visa-versa. If so was there a protocol or did everyone stick to their own?

  2. PackRat

    PackRat Well-Known Member

    This diary page suggests that British Other Ranks at least (possibly different for officers) were excluded from amenities open to US troops in Ledo, India.

    It is from the diary for 130 Assault Field Regiment, 36 Indian Infantry Division, July 1944. The Division was on its way to join the US/Chinese operation in Northern Burma at this point.

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  3. LADC

    LADC Member

    Thanks PackRat

    Do you think that was universal? Would the Alexander Club in Rome have been exclusive to British troops our would commonwealth personnel be allowed entry?
  4. PackRat

    PackRat Well-Known Member

    Unfortunately that's the only piece of definite evidence I have of allies being excluded from one another's clubs. And it may not hold true for officers, who had more freedom than Other Ranks. Certainly the impression I've got from various war diaries is that the restaurants, cafes etc. that were 'in' and 'out' of bounds were quite tightly controlled. These instructions are from an appendix to the 130 Assault Field Regiment diary:


    I've seen some evidence of strict segregation of troops from differing nationalities, with separate areas at a river for washing and laundry being defined and policed for British Other Ranks and Indian Other Ranks while 36 Division was on the move.

    Overall I get the sense that fraternisation wasn't encouraged, but it didn't stop the Other Ranks of various nationalities from knocking around together off-duty when it suited them. These are from the diary of 36 Division's Provost unit (military police), showing men of 29 Brigade getting lifts from American and Chinese drivers and trying to get into Digboi, which was supposed to be off limits except on official business:



    And to confuse things further, two of the very few photos I've got of my grandfather's time in the army show him wandering about with an unknown American. He was a lowly Lance-Bombardier from 130 Field and I'm pretty sure these were taken while he was on leave in September/October 1944, either in Shillong or Ledo, while his regiment was waiting for the Ledo road to open so they could get the 25-pounders into the Mogaung Valley in Northern Burma. There was certainly somewhere where they could get a game of tennis together.

    JackLeave44 1.jpg JackLeave44 2.jpg JackLeave44 3.JPG JackLeave44 4.JPG
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