Homosexuality within Armed Forces, WW2

Discussion in 'Service Records' started by Callisto, Jan 11, 2013.

  1. Callisto

    Callisto Twitter ye not

    :unsure: Exceptions prove the rule and I can think of a number of exceptions.....not as simple as the post suggests.

    i don't think Vitesse was being simplistic, but referring to a number of clues, taken within a certain context, and issued in standard formats known to be codes (as stated: "couple any of those with...").

    Obits have become more candid about sexual proclivities in recent years.

    i'm glad that there seems to have been a shift of sorts , that perhaps we'll see neither as much tip-toeing around the fact nor as much sensationalism. in other words, just so.

    Re the POW camps, having been in a relationship where it was long distance for a couple of years I can honestly state that the heart grew fonder and I longed to be with her while we were apart. I just can't see a situation where men would turn homosexual just because they spent a number of years in a camp - no pun intended.

    Plus, as has been stated. Such were the appalling conditions and treatment that the main focus probably was survival.

    i would imagine for most sex of any kind was never going to be on the agenda, when survival and sanity were tantamount, but it happened surely as per Drew's link. Perhaps we are concentrating too much on this particular facet, the camps that is but i can't justify an argument for a separate case other than this was in the main a closed community.

    i don't mean that by being in a camp there was more temptation rather perhaps more despair and isolation, and i'd equally argue that experiencing a homosexual act doesn't automatically turn one into a homosexual.

    i realise that this has a wide scope as a topic, and am grateful that the thread keeps moving on, but i'm more interested in how homosexuals were treated by the military machine in WW2 and how they (and others who knew them at the time) felt about that treatment. :)
  2. Vitesse

    Vitesse Senior Member

    Incidentally, Frankie Howerd's obit in The Times describes him as "a lifelong bachelor". As does Sir Terence Rattigan's.

    But as that's O/T let's leave it at that ...
  3. canuck

    canuck Token Colonial Patron

  4. andy007

    andy007 Senior Member

    I imagine that probably was the major concern. And when I think about it if you're in a relationship - wife at home - just because you're in a POW camp with a load of men doesn't mean you're going to turn homosexual. If anything that love for the one at home grows stronger and you long for the day you will see them again.

    Agree Spirit of Dunkirk, I am sure that the statement would apply to both homosexual and heterosexuals. But as you say absence makes the heart grow stronger.
  5. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    Thought I'd interject a little humour into this rather bleak thread.

    Whilst serving in Italy in the 49th LAA, our camp barber, Gunner xxxxx, was someone who'd been a hairdresser in civvy street.

    He was an immaculate dresser, who nevertheless chose, for whatever reason, to occasionally strip off completely before cutting someone's hair and I do mean strip off.... completely starkers ! :)

    One of my more lasting memories was that of him, un-dressed in this fashion, plying his trade and out of sight I heard the Sgt.Major yell "Gunner xxxx......I'm watching you !....... get your bloody uniform on or I'll have your guts for garters "

    Honestly !!!!

  6. DaveB

    DaveB Very Senior Member

    I just noticed that the National Archives of Australia (NAA) holds a file titled “Homosexual males [in Armed Forces during World War II discharge]” - 117 folios

    Status - Open with exception (as of 14 Dec 2012). Reason for restriction:
    33(1)(g) Information or matter the disclosure of which under this Act would involve the unreasonable disclosure of information relating to the personal affairs of any person (including a deceased person).
  7. Dave55

    Dave55 Atlanta, USA Patron

    Thought I'd interject a little humour into this rather bleak thread.

    I agree!

  8. Callisto

    Callisto Twitter ye not

  9. Callisto

    Callisto Twitter ye not

  10. mconrad

    mconrad Junior Member

    "They treated gay people like cannon-fodder," he complained

    Well, duh. Join the club.
  11. Callisto

    Callisto Twitter ye not

    "They treated gay people like cannon-fodder," he complained.

    Well, duh. Join the club.

    and the full quote shows his concern actually was that they couldn't 'join the club' after the war.
    From the early 1980s onwards, Cave turned his attention to "unfinished business" arising from his wartime experiences. Furious at the ban on lesbians and gays in the armed forces, he accused military chiefs of cynically enlisting homosexuals when they were needed to defeat Nazism, and then witch- hunting them as soon as the war was over. "They treated gay people like cannon-fodder," he complained.

    which does seem to reflect the experiences of at least one of the Canadian veterans in the film i linked to in my last post ie combat service completed then Court Martial. The article also states that those who received a Dishonourable Discharge as a result of homosexual tendencies got no veteran benefits.

    It was suggested in the film that most Courts Martial were brought about through charges by MP and so forth, and not via their own unit's command structure, which is i think an important observation if it is to be believed that homosexuals were at least tolerated by those serving alongside them.
  12. mconrad

    mconrad Junior Member

    From my Dad: 1950, US Army in France. Dad and some other white guys are transferred into a colored construction engineer battalion as part of Army desegregation. In barracks and out of uniform, one of the battalion's soldiers is a screaming queen transvestite, whose jolly appearances at the morning washroom were invariably met with laughter and raucous joking.

    I suspect two things: 1) the black regular NCOs had total control of the unit and if this was going on it's because it was okay with them. 2) there was a lot of cover because to the authorities the issues of rascism, desegregation, and colored soldiers were much greater than individual eccentricities at the moment.
  13. mconrad

    mconrad Junior Member

    Nazi Germany, and Imperial and Weimar Germany before that, had lots of homosexual issues. One of Hitler's complaints against the Brown Shirts was their laissez faire attitude to it, which didn't help the Nazi image to the German public. (Although I fail to see how Hitler then murdering the Brown Shirt leadership in 1933 was supposed to improve the Nazi reputation.)

    Himmler, head of the SS, was idealogically opposed to homosexuals since it went against his desire for big Aryan families with lots of children populating the conquered eastern territories. At one point c. 1940 he gave oral orders that any SS man found to be homosexual was to be secretly executed.
  14. TTH

    TTH Senior Member

    I suspect two things: 1) the black regular NCOs had total control of the unit and if this was going on it's because it was okay with them.

    You are probably quite right; in most units, very little goes on that a smart, powerful NCO does not know about or permit.

    Queer NCOs could and sometimes did use their positions of power to gratify their sexual desires, as James Jones could testify. The main action of From Here to Eternity begins when Private Prewitt transfers to a new company. He left his old company because the First Sergeant in it made his "angelina" the company bugler, instead of the better qualified Prewitt (who would not put out, it seems).
  15. DaveB

    DaveB Very Senior Member

    Thought I'd interject a little humour into this rather bleak thread. Ron

    Why aren't the other crews taking us seriously??

    P01056.001 | Australian War Memorial

    Owen and Dave55 like this.
  16. Blutto

    Blutto Plane Mad

    Brown hats to go with the brown shirts I suppose.

    One of Hitler's complaints against the Brown Shirts was their laissez faire attitude to it,
  17. Tim H.

    Tim H. Junior Member

    I believe 'Professor' Jimmy Edwards was gay and served with distinction as a Dakota pilot and suffered burn injuries which the enormous moustache hid.

    My father had an adopted brother who was gay and served throughout WW2...doing what I have no idea. My father swore that I never mention it to his mother as she never knew and would not have understood. He kept coming home with 'nice young men' and she would apparently remark, in complete innocence "I wish C. could find himself a nice young woman"

    I knew C. when I was a boy and he was a mean jazz pianist and we played jazz duets now and again as I was a budding child musician. There was never the slightest hint of impropriety.

    11th Armoured likes this.
  18. Drayton

    Drayton Senior Member

    I do know that the Navy took quick action to get rid of them.... if they were found...

    In their book Coder Special Archive (2012), Tony Cash and Mike Gerrard tell the story of a Coder (Special) in the Navy who was discharged from National Service in 1953 after he reported to the MO that he was gay. No repercussions by anyone else at his celebrating his release.
  19. Robert Covill

    Robert Covill Junior Member

    In the 1960's I prepared the antecedent history of a man assumed by those who knew him to have been a senior army officer. He gave everyone that impression. He was obviously homosexual.
    He refused to give me details of his military service until he was convicted.
    I then established from his service record that he was dishonourably discharged from The Pioneer Corps for "Disgraceful conduct of a disgusting nature" or "Disgusting conduct of a disgraceful nature"
    He refused to elaborate!
  20. Staffsyeoman

    Staffsyeoman Member

    My partner's father was RNVR from 1937-1946. He was a gentleman in every sense, quietly religious and intolerant of bad language, but a touch old fashioned in his views. You may recall about 15 years ago there was a test case brought by a group of servicemen having beem dismissed for homosexuality. Their leader was a Royal Navy officer sent home from a liaison job in the US and dismissed the service. We knew that he did not have a sympathetic view to this subject, so we quailed as the subject came up on the evening news. Father was hidden behind the Sunday paper. The room was wreathed in anxious silence. Then.... without the paper moving... "Can't understand what all the fuss is about. Navy was full of puffs in the war."
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