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Saturday, 7 January 2012

The Ballington Booth Episode, The New York Times Report


Commander Ballington Booth Will Take No Orders from England

Statement cheered to the echo. Report that Commander and Mrs. Booth-Tucker Had Been Appointed for America Not Believed.

Commander Ballington Booth of the Salvation Army last night announced to the members of his staff that he had decided not to relinquish command of the army in the United States, and that under no circumstances would he take orders from England.

This was taken to mean that he will reorganize the army in this country on an independent basis, and it was received with cheers and other demonstrations of approval.

The Commander emerged from his retirement last evening and appeared at the Army Headquarters in West Fourteenth Street, where he held a council of war with his staff supporters. Col. Alexander M. Nicol, the personal representative of Gen. Booth in the present difficulty, and Col. Eadie, who has assumed to exercise the authority of Acting Commander, were called to the council room and given to understand the Commander's position. They went into his presence pale and trembling, and they emerged from the room looking very much troubled.

During the session a message was received purporting to come from London to the effect that Commander and Mrs. F. De La Tour Booth-Tucker had been appointed to succeed Mr. and Mrs. Ballington Booth in the United States. This was promptly bulletined by Col. Nicol, but its truth was denied by Commander Booth and his friends, who declared that the dispatch was bogus and was issued by Eva Booth, who is in this city, to create a false impression. Commander Booth's statement that he would not recognize the message as official was received with applause. It was argued that the message could not be authentic, because Gen. Booth is not in London, and would not make an appointment of such importance except in the regular way, from the London headquarters.

Commander Booth's arrival at headquarters was entirely unexpected, and took the opposition by surprise. The regular Sunday evening gospel service was in progress, and the large hall was well crowded. Early in the evening a spirit of insubordination was manifested by several members of the corps, who refused to don their uniforms and join the corps inside. They retained their citizen's dress, and stood on the sidewalk in front of the building. One of these was Major Glenn, who is Commander Booth's most intimate lieutenant.

Major Glenn stood near the curb, watching the horse cars. A few moments past 9 o'clock a tall, slender man, with a prominent nose and long hair, and enveloped in a long army overcoat, sprang from a blue-line car going westward. He was instantly recognized as Commander Booth, and in a moment a cheering crowd surrounded him. With him was his lawyer, Mr. Alexander. Followed by Major Glenn, they hurried into the building and rushed into the elevator, which carried them up to the fourth floor, where the Commander's private office is situated. As quickly as possible they entered the office, and the door was locked and barred against intruders.

Commander Booth looked excited as he hurried inside. He held an open manuscript which he seemed anxious to read to his friends. Messengers were dispatched to various officers scattered through the building, and in a short time about thirty were closeted with the Commander. Among them were Brigadiers Evans and Fielding of Chicago, Major Stillwell of Michigan, Major Glenn, Staff Captain Crafts, Major Marshall, and Ensign Taylor. When all were seated, Commander Booth rose and addressed them.

He had spoken but a moment when he was interrupted with a burst of applause, and sittillar demonstrations were repeated during his speech. Members of the staff then expressed their views, and messengers were sent for Cols. Nicol and Eadie. They responded, but did not seem to relish the idea of meeting Commander Booth just then, and they did not remain in the room long. It was shortly after they retired from the Commander's presence that the message announcing the appointment of Ballington Booth's successor was received. It was handed to Col. Eadie, who immediately regained his spirits, rushed to the council chamber, and delivered it. It was received in silence, and he left the room smiling. Then Commander Booth told his hearers that he did not believe the message was authentic, and he would not consider it of any account until it was verified.

This aroused enthusiasm, and he was cheered again and again.

But Col. Nicol was not going to lose any time in acquainting the army with the. news, and he posted this notice on the bulletin board near the main entrance:

"Commander and Mrs. Booth-Tucker have been appointed successors to Commander and Mrs. Ballington Booth, and may be expected to arrive in this country with all dispatch. A. M. NICOL."

Commander Booth remained with his officers until 11 o'clock. The elevator was ordered to the floor, and when it was in readiness the room door was opened and Commander Booth and his friends made a rush for it. They were hurried to the ground floor, where another rush was made for the street. A carriage was waiting for the Commander and he sprang into it. A great crowd had gathered to see him leave the building, and it followed him, shouting and cheering, as he was driven away. At Sixth Avenue the carriage was driven to the sidewalk. Commander Booth leaped from it and ran up the steps to the elevated railroad station. A policeman, seeing the crowd pursuing him and shouting, thought he was someone trying to escape capture, and followed him up the steps. Commander Booth jumped on a train that was pulling out just as the policeman got to the ticket box, and so failed to catch the Commander
The Gospel meeting was cut short because of the arrival of Commander Booth at headquarters and the fear that if the audience learned that he was in the building a demonstration would be made. Col. Nicol was to have led the exercises, but while passing through the corridors he was hissed by a number of outsiders, and he had reason to believe that he would be received on the platform with manifestations of hostility. So his chair on the platform remained vacant.

Several messages were sent to officers of the army on the platform during the meeting, and the audience could see that something unusual was going on, but it was not told that Commander Booth was in the headquarters. Shortly after his arrival the meeting was brought to a close and the lights were turned out.

The staff officers of the army will hold a meeting this morning. Important developments are expected to-day.

Two more proclamations were issued yesterday from Salvation Army Headquarters by Col. Alexander M. Nicol regarding the present troubles in the army's management, and both, by reason of that which they left unsaid, served to intensify the excitement among the officers and soldiers. No word had been received from Commander Ballington Booth or Mrs. Booth, and everybody who was expected to know of their intentions professed complete ignorance on that point. Religious services were held during the day in the lower hall in headquarters, and the subject most generally discussed by the crowds of soldiers and others was the crisis in the affairs of the army. The action that has led to the present unfortunate situation was spoken of in undertones, for instructions have been issued to prevent mention of the trouble in the hearing of strangers.

The first proclamation was typewritten on official headquarters notepaper, and was as follows:

Col. Nicol, the General's representative, desires to make the following appeal to all soldiers and friends of the army in America:

The army's principles are once more being put to a severe test. It is our duty to stand by them, for they have been demonstrated in all lands, as well as in the history of American struggles and triumphs, and have been inspired by the Holy Ghost.

Do not be in a hurry to condemn any one. Hasty judgments in these matters often cause lasting sorrows.

Our business is to save souls. Stick to this. The army must never, at any price, falter in its forward march to rescue the world from an eternal hell.

Pray for the officers, soldiers, friends, and enemies of the flag. Pray for the future of America. Pray for our beloved General in- this terrible and overwhelming sorrow, But, above all, pray that you may have more of the spirit of Jesus Christ, the world's greatest sufferer, and don't lead, a selfish life.

The second document, which follows, was of the nature of a general denial of statements made by friends of the Booths concerning the causes and alleged dismissal of the Booths:

It is untrue, as reported in the press, that Commandant Herbert Booth peremptorily demanded his brother to hand over the keys and property of the army.

It is equally untrue that he ever dismissed Commander Ballington Booth. Neither Commandant Herbert Booth nor any other officer possesses such power. That power is only vested in the General.

There is no foundation in the report that Commandant Herbert Booth, Commissioner Eva Booth, and Col. Nicol were deputed by the International Headquarters in London to court- martial the American leaders. Such was in no way the nature of their visits, and, indeed. such a proceeding would be contrary to the army's methods of discipline and government. It is absolutely false that Commandant Herbert Booth has assumed the command of the forces in the United States. At no time has there ever existed a shadow of foundation for this statement.

It is an unwarranted aspersion, both on the character and commission of Commandant Herbert Booth, to say that he has been actuated by jealousy toward his brother, or that he has ever sought, or seeks now, the American command.

His visits to New-York were of a pacific character—those of a mediator—and in accordance with instructions from the International Headquarters.

It is not true that Commandant Herbert Booth is in New York. Having fulfilled his commission he returned to Toronto, and is at present conducting his farewell.

It is absolutely untrue that any officer on the National Headquarters' Staff has ever tried to oust Commander and Mrs. Ballington Booth from their positions. The statement is a pure fabrication. ALEXANDER M. NICOL, the General's Representative, and Colonel, Salvation Army.

Col. Nicol remained in seclusion all day, but Col. Eadie, who is the acting commander of the army, made a statement to a reporter for THE NEW YORK TIMES.

“The stories concerning my conduct in this country which were published this morning," said Col. Eadie, "are falsehoods instigated by the devil. One paper in particular printed an outrageous string of calumnies that would justify me in suing it for libel, but I have decided to leave the matter with God. He will demand an accounting from their author at the proper time. Meanwhile, I think the man's conscience will trouble him a little.

“It is not true," Col. Eadie explained, “that I am desirous of Anglicizing the Salvation Army. Such a statement is absurd. ‘It is one of the cardinal principles of the army that it should be adapted to the people among whom it works, In America I am an American. I have been here two years, and have taken out my first papers. If I stay here five years I shall become an American citizen. In Japan I conform to the customs of the Japanese; in Wales, to the Welsh; in France, to the French, and in Rome, to the Romans."

“Do you object to the ownership of property by soldiers of the army?"

“Yes. The principles of the army are opposed to any soldier in its ranks owning property. There are several reasons. One is that no one is sent to any place for a longer term than five years, and, if they buy houses, they find it inconvenient to move when ordered elsewhere. There is no objection to any soldier holding property he owned before he joined the army, but he should not purchase land after lie enters our ranks.

“Has objection been made to Commander Booth's owning his home in Montclair?”

“Commander Booth does not own that house. He bought it with Salvation Army funds and it belongs to the Salvation Army. He holds it as he holds all other Salvation Army property—as trustee. All Salvation Army Commanders, or Commissioners, hold the Army property in their respective territories in the same way."

“Has a demand been made upon Commander and Mrs. Booth to turn over the Salvation Army property to Herbert Booth or to you, or Col. Nicol? "

“You can't make such a demand upon persons whom you can't find. We don't know where they are."

“If they were to return to headquarters would they be regarded as still leaders of the army?”

“By their own acts they have removed themselves from the army. Their resignations, however, have not been acted upon. Gen. Booth is now on his way from Bombay to London, and when he arrives in England he will consider the matter. Commander Booth stands in a different relation to the General than other Commanders. He is General Booth's son, and in his letter of resignation he treats of family matters that make the situation extremely delicate. I think Gen. Booth will call a council of Commanders of equal rank with Ballington Booth, to whom he will submit the whole question of Ballington's refusal to obey orders, and his resignation, and they will recommend such a course as they may deem best for the discipline of the army. It will not be a court-martial, but a court of inquiry, and General Booth will be left free to adopt or reject the advice given him."

" Under Gen. Booth's original order, Commander Booth has until April 9th to serve here, has he not?" - yes."

"Yet he is regarded as being no longer connected with the army?”

“I can't say that."

" Suppose Commander and Mrs. Booth should return to-day to headquarters and assume full charge of the organization, pending action on their resignation, would you recognize their authority, or would you dispute it?"

“I’d rather not say," answered Col. Eadie. "I'm not clear on that point myself."

Col. Bache declared that he was not opposed to the use of bicycles by soldiers in the Salvation Army.

“Bicycles are used in England, and I have encouraged their use, especially in villages, in this country," he said. “I never have ordered any one to dispense with them."

Col. Eadie said he believed the rank and file of the army would be loyal to General Booth, irrespective of their attachment for Commander and Mrs. Ballington Booth.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

The Left Hand Thumb by Sven Wickberg

The secret life of General Erik Wickberg in World War 2 as told by his son, Sven Wickberg.

Among my father's papers I found one with the title "COMMISSION", signed 6th June 1944 by Commissioner Karl Larsson, Territorial Commander (TC) of Sweden. This was at a critical time in World War 2. The document is in Swedish. The English translation reads (first part only):

On the basis of letters and telegrams by which the General of The Salvation Army, Geo.L.Carpenter, has authorized me, Commissioner Karl Larsson, on his behalf to uphold communications with those Salvation Army leaders who, due to the conditions of war, are not able to maintain any communication with the General and The Salvation Army's International Headquarters, and at the same time as far as it is practically feasible, make those decisions, which under normal circumstances would be decided by himself.
I, in my turn, commission - in consequence of my approaching trip to the United States - Brigadier Erik Wickberg that he during my absence deal with all relevant matters.
Karl Larsson Commissioner
Commissioner Karl Larsson's signature witnessed by:  Ivar Sörman

When I saw this paper I realized that this probably is the only existing written evidence of my father's most secret mission during WW2. He was then a Salvation Army officer, stationed in Stockholm (Sweden). Officially he was private secretary to Commissioner Karl Larsson. In reality he was "secret agent" to General George Carpenter in London

In August 1939 the highest leaders of the Salvation Army (SA) gathered in London (UK) to elect a new general to replace the retiring General, Evangeline Booth. Karl Larsson -- who should have retired as early as in 1938 at the age of 70 -- had for some reason been granted "a year of grace" (my father's expression) and was present at the High Council that elected George Carpenter to be the fifth General of the SA.  We do not know why Karl Larsson had not retired after his "year of grace". Perhaps there was no suitable replacement at the time, or perhaps Evangeline Booth wanted her successor to decide on this. What we do know, however, is that during the time of the High Council Karl Larsson was asked to prepare to act as an intermediary if the SA in Germany (after an outbreak of war) should be cut off from direct contact with International Headquarters (IHQ) in London.

At this time the international storm clouds were gathering over Europe. The Nazi leader Adolf Hitler had produced one crisis after the other in recent years. Although all of them seemed to have been settled by diplomatic means, this time it didn't look like diplomacy would work. Hitler had broken the München agreement. After having annexed Böhmen and Mähren from Czechoslovakia he had declared that he had "no further territorial claims in Europe". But shortly afterwards he occupied the rest of Czechoslovakia. Now there was a threat of armed conflict over the so-called Polish Corridor. If war broke out not only Germany but all surrounding countries would be in the danger zone. The work of the SA would be made difficult. But there was hope that through mediation by neutral Sweden it would be possible to keep in touch.

Of course Karl Larsson declared his readiness to help. But he demanded the aid of someone who was well acquainted with the European field, who had good English and German to be able to do the correspondence and who also, hopefully, could pass as a Swede.

The choice of candidates to fit this description could easily be counted on the thumb of the left hand: there was only one, my father, Erik Wickberg.

Erik's readiness for this assignment had very old roots. Forty years earlier my grandmother, Betty Lundblad - then a 19 year old SA Cadet - accepted an order to go to Berlin. She had been taught German and French in school. In Germany the SA work had just begun and they urgently needed officers who knew the language.
This was in 1897. After five strenuous years she needed a rest and was called back to Sweden. In March 1903 she married my grandfather, David Wickberg, a SA officer she had met some years earlier. Their children Erik and Tott were born in 1904 and 1906.

In 1912 David Wickberg was ordered to take his family with him to Berlin to become Principal of the SA Training College. This order might seem peculiar since David did not know a word of German. Perhaps it was counted on that Betty would help him until he got going. And so she did.  This move was the reason why my father Erik as an eight year old attended school in Berlin and learnt to speak German like a "Berliner". This was to be very useful to him later.

At the outbreak of WW1 (1914) the German HQ was somewhat disorganized. The TC Commissioner MacAlonan and his Chief Secretary Colonel Haines were English and had to make a hasty departure from Germany when the war started. David Wickberg was ordered to accompany them to Sweden. In addition the German Training College had been dissolved because all Cadets had been mobilized and the building was requisitioned for military purposes. Betty was already in Sweden, with the children, at her mother's house in Leksand for summer vacation. David joined them.

Shortly after, David was appointed Educational Officer at the Training College in Stockholm. Later he had a long row of appointments at HQ in Stockholm. At this time it was unusual for SA officers to live at the same place for several years. This however did happen to the Wickberg family, and was why Erik could complete his junior high school education (Sw: "realskolexamen") and also graduate from a business school, where he learned shorthand and typewriting, before his father David's next appointment outside Stockholm.

In 1922 David was sent to Berne (Switzerland) as Principal of the Training College. The boys where only 18 and 16 and there was no choice other than to bring them along. The hard Bernese regulations for foreigners forced the SA in Bern to offer them some job at HQ. So Erik became secretary to the Field Secretary and learned a lot about SA administration before he himself entered the International Training College (ITC)  in London as a SA Cadet in the fall of 1924.  Already while he was in his training session, the Training College Principal in Berlin, Brigadier Max Gruner, applied to IHQ for help from an officer who knew German well, but also knew about the the training at ITC. The idea was to build up the Training College in Berlin with the London equivalent as a model.  There were not many candidates to fit that description. Actually they could be counted on the thumb of the left hand: Erik Wickberg. And thus, after a short term of field practice, Erik Wickberg to his amazement (at the age of 21) found himself as probationary Captain and Education Secretary at the Training College in Berlin (1925).

Ironically, this appointment meant that Erik was supposed to teach the Cadets parts of what he had just been taught in London, and to translate into German and correct the probationary officers' correspondence course that he himself was doing and sending back to London for marking.

Hardly had he accommodated himself to this situation when the next unexpected change occurred. In its wisdom the leadership at IHQ had appointed the Danish Colonel Julius Nielsen as new Chief Secretary (CS) in Berlin. The Colonel had served as Divisional Commander in Sweden and spoke a mixture of Swedish and Danish -- but he could not speak a word of German, and also his English was not very good. And this time there was no German speaking wife to help him out.

It was realized only shortly before the welcome meeting for Colonel Nielsen that an interpreter was badly needed, and quickly! Where to find someone to translate from Swedish-Danish into German? Well, the left thumb was there! Erik received the emergency order to attend the meeting and act as interpreter.

Although Danish and Swedish are very related languages, there are big differences, and it was no easy task for a young man with no former experience of this kind. But it seemed to work well enough, and immediately Erik was - despite furious protests from the Principal - taken from Training College and installed in the new CS's office as private secretary and interpretor. The poor Colonel couldn't even answer the telephone himself!

This appointment proved to be good training for young Erik. In a draft for his memoirs he has written about Julius Nielsen:

He showed an unlimited confidence in me and thereby laid an extremely good foundation for my future development. He was the only chief I can remember to go on his knees and pray with me before our cooperation started.

Erik was to stay on as private secretary for seven and a half years. Nielsen was succeeded in 1930 by Colonel Henry Bower and later Colonel Franz Stankuweit. Much travelling with these leaders gave him a very good knowledge of the territory. He was also in Berlin when Hitler came into power in January 1933 and witnessed for himself how the Germans, sometimes with brutal means, were forced to submit to the Nazi's new order for Germany.

In an unpublished manuscript ("Between the lines"), Dad relates the story of three leading officers at HQ who stepped into the office of the CS, Colonel Stankuweit, clothed in brown shirts and armlet, complete with the Nazi swastika.

With a 'Heil Hitler' (the greeting phrase ordered by the Nazis) they stepped into the CS's office and required that the SA should 'adjust' itself to the new regime. The English Commissioner Howard and the German CS Stankuweit met to take a stand... Stankuweit asked me (his secretary) what they ought to do. I did not hesitate: 'Dismiss these officers. If you do not, you will totally lose hold of the situation...'

They were dismissed, although one of them later apologized and was taken back.

It was with such experience and knowledge that Erik later (in 1934) was sent from Berlin to IHQ in London to be secretary to Commissioner Cunningham, who was the International Secretary for Europe. In autumn of the same year Evangeline Booth was elected to be the successor of General Higgins. She did not want four international secretaries, but was content with one: Commissioner Arthur Blowers. He had (according to Dad's manuscript) been many years in India, but he had no knowledge of Europe. Erik was appointed Assistant Under Secretary for Europe with the special task of travelling with Commissioner Blowers to the Continent, to keep him informed of "foreign letters" and if necessary to write letters in German or Swedish.

Dad writes:

"I travelled with Blowers to Switzerland, Germany, Holland, Denmark and Sweden. This was very useful to me."

Erik's ability with languages was also used by the Chief of the Staff Commissioner John McMillan from Canada. Erik was to accompany him and his wife to Berlin in 1937. [While in Berlin] I got a telegram from London that our youngest son Nils had been born.  Mrs MacMillan asked her husband if he had known that my wife was expecting the baby while we were away. Yes, he answered, but I needed this man. It is not always an advantage to be "the left thumb"!

Now we are back in 1939, when Karl Larsson asked for this help. On one of the last days of August Erik's chief, Commissioner Blowers, said to him: "Take your family to Stockholm for a fortnight and have an extra holiday while the storm blows over." This didn't sound so urgent, but Erik was less optimistic. He cleared his desk and ordered tickets. There was a long queue for the boat from London to Gothenborg in Sweden, but he managed to find accommodation with the Norwegian ship Vega that was leaving Newcastle in the North of England the next evening for Bergen in Norway. From there we went by train to Stockholm.

We had no telephone in those days, so Mother Margarete was taken completely unawares (and very shocked) when Dad came home late and told her we would be leaving in the morning. We were just to pack the most necessary items and leave -- husband, wife and three children ages 9, 6 and 2. And so we did. It turned out later that Vega was the last ship to leave England before the war. The German attack on Poland was announced on the radio the day after our arrival at Stockholm on September 1, 1939.

Thus it was that there was no "extra holiday". Dad reported to Karl Larsson, and soon it was not Berlin but London that turned out to be isolated. The victorious German armies quickly invaded and conquered Middle Europe, became allied with Italy and prepared for a strike on Russia. Only Sweden, Switzerland and Portugal were "outside" the conflict. But the mail to and from even these neutral countries was intercepted by the war-making parties and censored. The contacts with London had to go by telegram.

On April 9, 1940, we woke up to the news that the Germans had occupied Denmark and Norway. It became very clear that we had to take into account that even Sweden might be occupied. How would the occupying German armed forces react if they found an "English" Salvation Army, corresponding with the London Salvation Army and reporting on the situation in Europe?

After discussing this with his staff, Karl Larsson decided - on Erik Wickberg's recommendation - to tell General Carpenter that the war situation made it necessary for him to cease all communications with London. This was done and announced in Stridsropet (the SA weekly magazine in Sweden) on June 7, 1941. What was not announced was that Erik would not only continue to handle the correspondence with the affected parts of Europe but would also, on his own authority, take full responsibility to make those contacts with London that were deemed necessary. It was understood that he should not report on this. Karl Larsson should have the "deniability" of any collaboration with London and could use Erik as the scapegoat if the matter was found out.

General Carpenter never transferred Erik Wickberg to the Swedish territory. In theory he remained appointed to the IHQ in London, on special mission in Sweden. But he changed to Swedish SA uniform trimmings and was presented as "Secretary of Special Affairs" to Commissioner Karl Larsson.

In the Stridsropet (Swedish War Cry) of September 30, 1939, we were presented  like this:

Adjutant Erik Wickberg, stationed at International Headquarters in London, has on account of the disturbances of war arrived, together with his family, in Sweden which is the Adjutant's native country. He will take up a temporary assignment at Headquarters.

That would hardly scare the Nazis... But on June 22, 1940, Stridsropet announces (perhaps somewhat unwisely):

Adjutant Erik Wickberg from Overseas Dept. at IHQ, who at present is placed in Stockholm, has been promoted to the rank of Major.

Perhaps the Editor was warned not to do this again. At any rate, on February 6, 1943, Stridsropet only has the laconic comment:

Major Erik Wickberg has been promoted to the rank of Brigadier. We congratulate!

All these promotions came by telegram from IHQ directly to Erik. Many years later he told me that when  he showed this last one to Karl Larsson, the Commissioner  looked at it for a while and grunted: "Over there they must consider your work as very important!"

The Nazis never occupied Sweden before their fortunes of war turned. After their losses at El Alamein and Stalingrad it became more and more obvious that it was only a matter of time before the Nazis would be definitely defeated. But for a long time they would still be very powerful in Germany and the occupied territories.

The SA was treated in various ways in the different countries. In most places the work could be carried out, but at times there where prohibitions and hardships. It was difficult to get through with economic and practical assistance and to keep the pieces together while waiting for better times.

In another memorandum that I found in my father's files Karl Larsson states:

The sudden dissolution of The Salvation Army in Holland and the further steps in a similar direction, which we had cause to fear (in Elsass-Lothringen a similar prohibition had occurred)  called for swift action. Even though we have not been able to prove that our actions have saved the existence of our work in the different countries, it is nevertheless so that the work has been able to continue everywhere. In our archives we also have letters of gratitude, which the leaders in the different territories sent after the break with IHQ, and those leaders whom I personally have met, have all been in full agreement concerning the precautions which we have taken.

But in the beginning of 1944, General Carpenter found that the time had come for a change. Karl Larsson's "year of grace" had now gone on for six years and had to be terminated. He was now 76 years of age. The General reopened contacts with Sweden by requiring Karl Larsson to make an extensive tour of the Scandinavian Corps in the USA, which the General considered would be very helpful to them. This tour was later extended to South America.

The History of the Salvation Army, Volume Six, 1973, by General Frederick Coutts states: "The upshot was that in San Francisco on November 12th (1944) the Commissioner (Larsson) met Commissioner Charles Baugh, then the Chief of the Staff, and was able to give a faithful account of the faithful stewardship during those years when contact between International Headquarters and the continent of Europe had been broken.

Perhaps the General had intended to let Karl Larsson leave his commission at this point, but this did not suit the Swedish Commissioner who looked upon this journey as a temporary break.

So Karl Larsson prepared for his absence from the Swedish territory by issuing a number of memoranda and commissions to take care of the work during his absence. Among other things, he now had to put Erik's position into writing to make it possible for him to continue under a new leader.

But the circumstances were still very delicate and secrecy must be maintained. The Commission shown above was not typed out in the Commissioner's office but probably in our home on Erik's private typewriter. He had a second-hand Remington collapsable typewriter that he could bring with him on travels. I recognize the style. It had bigger type than usual ("Large Pica") and the left dot over the Swedish "ö" was missing. The Commission was signed by Karl Larsson and witnessed only by the Commissioner's "ordinary" private secretary, Ivar Sörman, who must have been informed of what was going on. As far as I understand, this was the only original and was to be kept by my father. No copies were allowed, and in case of emergency the document must be destroyed.

Dad once instructed me: "If something happens to me, take the contents of this box, shred them  into small pieces and flush them away in the toilet." I did not know nor did I ask (dangerous!) what the secrets might be; but then there was a war on and it felt quite natural to me (14 years old) that such precautions might have to be taken. 

Commissioner Karl Larsson put up some more documents, copies of which were also there in Dad's collection. He commissioned his Chief Secretary, Colonel Karl Jerrestam, to be his deputy "should no other regulations be made by the General".

But the General did make other regulations. He appointed my grandfather (Commissioner David Wickberg who had recently retired from service in Switzerland and was now, aged 74, living in Stockholm) to take command of the territory. Thus we have the reason why David Wickberg is recorded as TC for Sweden from 1944-45 while Karl Larsson is stated as 1935-45.
By the time Commisioner Larsson returned to Sweden the War was over. General Carpenter had chosen a successor, and Karl Larsson - willing or not - had to retire at last.  

The end of the War was also the end of Erik's secret mission. Because this had not been official in the first place there was no official ending. I think it grieved Dad a bit that he was not asked to give a report or thanked for his services. After all he had taken a very big personal risk. He probably was unaware of the above-mentioned San Fransisco talks; and outside the very small group of perhaps four or five initiated persons nobody knew about this potentially dangerous secret part of his work.

Perhaps I, unknowingly, was one of them. For my hobby of stamp collecting I received new stamps from all over Europe that the catalogues and the stamp dealers did not know about. I think the Nazi's regarded stamps as a state secret. My uncle Tott (Dad's brother) who managed to live in Berlin during the whole war, told me that the Germans were not allowed to buy stamps. "We have to hand over our letters, open, to the Post Office. They censor them and then put on the stamps, so I never know which stamps you get." (And I have already mentioned the story of destroying the contents in that secret box.)

However, good circumstances eased Dad's turnover to new assignments.

Karl Larsson had instructed him to start organizing a Post War Relief Service. When the war ended this plan was realized and kept Erik very busy. Then Erik's appointment was changed once again. General Carpenter made one of his few overseas visits by daring to go to Sweden in a rebuilt "Flying Fortress" (American bombing plane). It had to pass over Norwegian territory at a high altitude and with hostile enemy aircraft still around. But all went well and Erik met his highest Chief and acted as his aide and translator at his visit in Sweden and Norway. Carpenter told him during this visit that he now was to be officially transferred to the Swedish territory and become Divisional Commander in Uppsala

So father's service passed over into a more "normal" career. But that is another story.

Editors Note: we have attempted to establish contact with the copyright holder. If any reader can put us in touch, SAHPA would be grateful.

The Limelight Department, Australia

The Salvationists established the Limelight Department in Australia in 1892, with inspiration for the name coming from the light source used for slide projection and theatre spotlights at the time. Blocks of lime were heated to white incandescence by a gas jet, usually generated by heating chemicals in a retort beside the projector.  The Limelight Department chalked up a string of achievements over an eventful two decades, only to be closed down by Commissioner James Hay who arrived in Australia by accident.

Life for the members of the Limelight Dept. was nothing if not varied. Late in 1900, just three months after terrifying audiences with a graphic multi-media depiction of the martyrdom of the early Christians in Soldiers of the Cross, they began producing the official films of Australia’s Federation Inauguration Ceremonies in Sydney and the opening of the first Federal Parliament in Melbourne after contracts were negotiated with the Governments of the colonies of New South Wales and Victoria.

In 1901, shortly after filming a visit to New Zealand by the future King George V and Queen Mary, at least one of their number was arrested for marching with a band and banners through the small town of Walhalla, in Eastern Victoria, where such activities were prohibited by local by-laws.

Across its ground breaking life span, the Limelight Department chalked up a string of achievements. It built Australia’s first film studio, produced social documentaries and Australia’s first fictional narrative films, including the first bushranging drama. Its extensive touring brought the novelty of film to communities across the nation, while the Department provided facilities, training and experience for many of Australia’s film industry pioneers.

The event that triggered these achievements was a small one. Salvationist Joseph Perry purchased a magic lantern, an early type of slide projector, to raise funds for the Army’s Prison Gate home in Ballarat, a provincial city in the colony of Victoria.
Perry and the lantern were brought to Melbourne late in 1891 to promote the visit of the Salvation Army’s founder General William Booth and his Darkest England poverty relief scheme. By doing so, the Army took the first steps into a place in Australian film history.
Following the General’s visit, Major Frank Barritt and Joe Perry toured across several of the Australian colonies, using the lantern to promote the Darkest England Scheme. Large audiences were shown projections of skillfully produced glass slides, vividly depicting the conditions of England’s needy and the work the Salvation Army was doing to alleviate them. The tours were highly successful and provided the impetus for the creation of a special production unit, The Limelight Department, in 1892. The magic lantern was put to work and Perry quickly took control of the Department to run it for nearly twenty years.

The shows were quickly broadened from their initial focus on Darkest England. During the first five years, Joe Perry toured Australia and New Zealand with shows blending melodramatic and humorous tales with biblical stories. These were combined with images and stories of the social and "rescue" work the Salvation Army was doing in Australia and overseas.

Using a "bi-unial", or twin lensed, lantern Perry was able to overlap slides, fading and dissolving between them to create an impression of movement on the screen. The slide sequences, many of which Perry made himself, were accompanied by music and sound effects. In "Jane Conquest", the depiction of a shipwreck in wild seas was heightened by simulated flashes of lightning and the rumble of thunder. Numerous newspaper reports of the time tell us that audiences sat enthralled as Jane strove to save the crew and her husband from the burning ship. Meanwhile her baby, which Jane had to leave at home, was protected by angels hovering above.

As the depression of the 1890's bit hard, money raised by the Limelight shows was used to help the social work of the Salvation Army and its officers in local centres across the colonies. Lantern meetings on Sunday evenings focused on biblical and spiritual subjects, as Perry turned his skills to saving souls. On one October evening in 1893, in Charters Towers Queensland, the gas house lights failed. Perry then turned the beam of the lantern on several penitents kneeling at the front of the hall, until they proclaimed their salvation. In June 1896, Joe Perry's lantern, screen, many glass slides and other equipment were destroyed in a fire in Marton, New Zealand. However, within two months he had obtained a new "tri-unial" (triple lensed) lantern and was soon back on the road with even greater visual effects capablility for his presentations.

In August 1896, Commissioner Thomas Coombs, the leader of the Salvation Army in Australasia who had authorised the establishment of the Limelight Department, was replaced by Commandant Herbert Booth, son of General William Booth. This was about the time motion pictures made their first appearance, amazing audiences around Australia. Herbert Booth immediately expanded the Limelight Department, authorising Joe Perry to add this new medium to the Limelight Department's activities, regardless of the cost.

By early 1897 Perry had got hold of a projector and some films and incorporated them into the touring repertoire. Later that year, after he obtained a camera and processing equipment, he made his first ‘actualities’, as the earliest films were called. A new studio was built at the back of the Salvationist Melbourne Headquarters building at 69 Bourke Street and by May 1898 Perry had made Australia's first fictional narrative films. They drew on his pre Limelight experience and included the story of a hungry man who stole a loaf of bread, was arrested, imprisoned, and on his release was taken into the care of the Salvation Army's Prison Gate Brigade.

By August 1898, a number of Limelight Department produced films, along with 200 slides, had been incorporated into an extensive two and a half hour multimedia presentation titled Social Salvation. Presented by Herbert Booth at the Sydney Town Hall and Melbourne’s Exhibition Building, it depicted the social work of the Salvation Army in Australasia. Over the next few years, the film content of this presentation grew considerably and Social Salvation was shown widely across Australia. Meanwhile, Herbert’s wife Cornelie had developed her own lantern presentation, "In The Slums Of The Great Cities", which she showed around Australia. It was presented hundreds of times by both Cornelie, or members of the Limelight Department who toured the show when she was busy with other duties.

In 1899, Herbert Booth decided to build a large, new officer training garrison in Victoria Parade, East Melbourne. To find candidates to fill this extra training capacity, he wrote a recruiting show featuring the martyrdom of early Christians by the Romans. Soldiers Of The Cross, which Herbert also directed, while Joe Perry shot the footage, premiered at the Melbourne Town Hall on September 13, 1900.

By early 1900 the Department’s skills were such that Joe Perry, after filming the departure from Melbourne of the second Victorian contingent to the Boer War, was able to develop and show it six hours later at a ‘patriotic entertainment’ event. On January 1, 1901, the first day of the twentieth century, six Australian colonies united into the Commonwealth of Australia. The official ceremonies took place at Centennial Park Sydney, and were preceded by a parade from the centre of the city. For the first time, the birth of a new nation could be recorded by motion picture cameras.

The Limelight Department was commissioned by the New South Wales Government to film the events. Limelight camera operators were positioned on platforms along the parade route and Joe Perry moved between them using a fire cart pulled by five horses. Herbert Booth rode in the parade with other Salvation Army and church leaders. At a rotunda in the park, Robert Sandall, the Army’s future international historian, filmed the official ceremonies. The film of these events was screened across the new nation.

Five months later, in May 1901, the Limelight Department was commissioned by the Victorian Government to film the visit of the Duke and Duchess of York, later King George V and Queen Mary. The royal party travelled to Melbourne, where the Duke opened the first sitting of the new Commonwealth Parliament at the Exhibition Buildings.

Much of the Federation and Royal visit film still survives. From Australia, the Duke and Duchess moved on to New Zealand. Joe Perry and his assistants went too, having been engaged by the New Zealand government to film the visit there. From Auckland to Dunedin, they recorded parades, presentations and receptions.

Biorama was the name given by the Salvation Army to the Limelight Department’s larger touring parties that combined film, slides and musical expertise. The first Biorama Company was formed in 1900 and comprised five people, including Joe and Julia Perry and Sidney Cook. This group toured throughout Victoria, presenting films and shooting scenes of local interest.

 In 1902, Herbert Booth resigned from the Salvation Army because of deteriorating relations with his father and brother Bramwell. After protracted negotiations, he purchased Soldiers of the Cross from the Salvation Army and used it on international evangelical campaigns he went on to conduct.

Herbert’s successor was Commissioner Thomas McKie, who soon threw his full weight behind Joe Perry’s Limelight Department. Unlike Herbert, he did not have any personal filmmaking ambitions, but saw the potential for evangelism, propaganda and fundraising. More Biorama Companies were established, each with six or more members, who could sing, play both brass and stringed instruments, as well as operate the projection equipment. 

 In August 1902, a major new production, Under Southern Skies, premiered. This two-hour documentary presentation used about 100 minutes of film and 200 coloured sides to tell the story of Australia from European exploration to Federation. The script was written by William Peart, who also acted as narrator on the first tour through Victoria. Peart, the Chief Secretary of the Salvation Army and McKie’s second in command, signed up as a full-time officer in the Melbourne suburb of Collingwood. Later, he commanded Salvation Army forces across a major part of the United States.

In 1904 Joe Perry and James Dutton were key members of the Australasian contingent to a Salvation Army International Congress in London. After the Congress, Perry filmed Bushranging in North Queensland, which film historian Chris Long has noted was Australia’s first bushranging drama. After 1904 Australian production declined. This was due in large part to the expanding touring activities of the Limelight Department and Joe Perry leading his Biorama Company on several long tours of New Zealand. Another contributing factor was the 1905 resignation from the Salvation Army of Sidney Cook, one of the Department’s principal cinematographers.

In 1905, the principal Biorama Company was enlarged to 13 members, and later, to over 20. The addition of a 15 horsepower electric plant and arc illuminant to Perry’s company in early 1906, led to it being renamed the Electric Biorama Company. Branches of the Limelight Department were set up in most Australian states and in New Zealand. By mid 1907, there were weekly film shows in a number of Army centres in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide. Touring companies continued to travel throughout the states.

Large quantities of film were imported to feed the Department’s expanding exhibition activities. One Department produced an Australian film which does survive from that period. Shot by James Dutton in 1905 it captures employees leaving the Swallow and Ariell biscuit factory in Port Melbourne. Joe Perry took a number of films on his tours of New Zealand, including footage of the Christchurch Exhibition that was commissioned by the New Zealand Government.

In 1908 Thomas McKie conducted a Grand Memorial Service, which used film and slides to commemorate the lives of a number of Salvationists who had died while working for the Army. These included pioneer Australasian leader James Barker, who died in 1901, and Major Kenneth McLeod. McLeod had been the officer in charge of the Army’s boys home at Bayswater in Victoria, the scene of some of the earliest Limelight Department films. He died in January 1908 and his funeral was filmed. This film, which was a feature of the Grand Memorial Service, has survived.

The Limelight Department undertook an important Government commission in 1908, when the ‘Great White Fleet’ of sixteen American warships visited major Australasian ports. Joe Perry sent camera crew to Sydney and New Zealand and produced the filming in Melbourne.

Across late 1908 and early 1909, a new studio was built in Caulfield, in suburban Melbourne. Perry anticipated considerable production activity at the new location and purchased a house two blocks away. Production began on two new projects, Heroes of the Cross and Scottish Covenanters. When the Salvation Army issued a transfer order to Thomas McKie, Heroes of the Cross was rapidly completed and shown at a mammoth farewell Congress in Melbourne in May 1909.

Englishman Commissioner David Rees was announced as Thomas McKie's successor. However, when health concerns for Rees’ wife prevented them from coming to Australia, he was replaced by Commissioner James Hay, an austere Scotsman, who for some years had been responsible for Salvation Army operations in England.

When Hay arrived in Australia in 1909, he curtailed the Limelight Department’s activities, effectively closing it down. He said a moral laxity in the film business was having a negative effect on Salvation Army screenings. Hay acted so quickly that the Scottish Covenanters was never shown in Australia. James Hay later admitted that there had been a substantial financial cost in closing the Limelight Department and many Salvation Army centres took years to recover from the loss of income.

The Salvation Army in Latin America

The Army's involvement in Latin America has now extended over 110 years, and at present covers eighteen of the twenty "traditional" republics. On November 25, 1889, Colonel and Mrs. Henry Thurman were dedicated by General Booth under the Argentine flag, for service in that republic, and embarked five days later. By the end of December, a hall had been secured. The first years were stormy, a revolution the very first year, an officer stabbed, smallpox and other dangers assailed them but the seed was planted, and flourished.

Within a very short time, Swiss comrades in Uruguay - "a little troop of soldiers who received the War Cry", and had obtained "S's", asked for officers to command them BY the end of the year, Captain John McCarthy arrived, and premises were obtained - these were very soon packed for meetings, and within three months three corps were established shed in Montevideo.

Whilst the Panama Canal was being built thousands of labourers were employed on the project and a West Indies Territory officer asked if the S.A. could commence work amongst the men. By the end of 1904, Adjutant and Mrs. Jackson opened the first corps, in Cristobal; a few months later, the work started in Panama City.

Costa Rica was the next country to receive an S.A. presence. In 1896 three Salvationists from Hadleigh Farm Colony arrived in San Pedro, to manage a large market and flower garden. They hoped that the SA would start work in their adopted country, and in 1907 Major John Clifford called, and conducted a Salvation Army meeting at their request. Towards the end of the year Captain Eduardo Palaci, a Peruvian and Lt. George Stewart, a Jamaican, officially commenced operations at Port Limon, and the work was well received by the President of the Republic.

In September 1909, Brig. and Mrs. William Bonnett were appointed to commence work in Chile, and the first open-air meeting was held in Santiago, on November 26. Within two years, 131 soldiers had been enrolled.

S.A. activities were commenced in Paraguay the following year, by Adjutant Thomas Frisch, a native of Uruguay, and he too was welcomed by the President of the Republic. As in many other South American republics, the Army helped to care for the wounded and homeless during a revolution in 1912.

In the Spring of 1910, Adjutant and Mrs. Thomas, with Lt. Zacarias Ribeiro, commenced S.A. work at Callao, in Peru. A suitable hall was secured, in one of the poorest areas of the town; the first open-air meeting was held at the end of August, in Lima, the capital, and the work quickly spread to other towns.

Cuba was the next republic to host The Salvation Army. Brother Alexander Hay a Jamaican, started meetings in his own home at Santiago. Later, he conducted Sunday meetings, with a friend translating his testimony into French, which the Cubans understood. In due course he got permission to hold meetings in the United States naval yard at Guantanamo. Adjutant Elmer Johnson, of the United States, did pioneer work in Havana in 1912, but official operations were not commenced until 1918 when the local people bought a dwelling, and opened it as ‘The Salvation Centre’. Shortly afterwards Adjutant and Mrs John Tiner, working in Panama, were appointed to Cuba as C.O.s., based at Santiago. The first ten years were very difficult but many relief agencies were established and the work stabilized. It is worthwhile to note that, with Fidel Castro in power, the work continued, though open-air activities have been forbidden.

Two years later, Adjutant and Mrs Ahlm (Swedish) and Captain Gregersen (Norwegian) were appointed, to start the work in Bolivia and two corps were opened in La Paz one Spanish and the other Indian. Following this latter success, a new S.A. Territory was formed, of Chile, Peru and Bolivia.

Brazil proved to be fertile soil in which to plant new S.A. seed. On May 8, l922, Lt. Col. Miche arrived in Rio de Janeiro and, with later arrivals, was able to establish a meeting hall, and to start open-air work. Within five years, nine corps had been opened, with 175 soldiers and 99 recruits.

In 1929, a Japanese couple received a call to settle in Columbia and Genshiro Tanaka was commissioned as Envoy to commence the Army's work there. After some years Tanaka felt that the time had come to retire, but when the Territorial Commander arrived at his home with a certificate of merit, the housekeeper would not let him in: he was unable to gain admission and so the work lapsed. It was not until April 21, 1985 that this was recommended.

Mexico had long been considered for The Salvation Army's work - as long ago as 1898; but nothing took root until October 5, 1937, when an Army flag was presented to Alejandro Guzman, for use in Mexico City. The early soldiers had their own uniforms flags, and ribbons, collar S's, and even miniature cap crests. The work has prospered, and in 1998 there were in the country 80 centres, with over 2,000 senior and junior soldiers and adherents.

The tiny republic of Haiti became the next to welcome the S.A. to its shores. In 1941, a married evangelist established a mission in Port au Prince and after eight years cabled the S.A. in New York:

"We wish to affiliate with you. We have 350 members. Reply urgently. Carrie Guillaume" International HQ was notified and after an inspection officers arrived to open the work. French and Creole Articles of War were printed, and Creole choruses were prepared, and the first meeting was held on February 2nd 1950, in a hall full to overflowing. The following day, 200 of the mission's member signed their Articles, and were, as one would expect given their Cartridge envelopes for their free will offerings!

Early in the morning of February 4, 1976 a violent earthquake shook Central America and Guatemala was devastated. Sixteen officers from Mexico the Caribbean and the United States, with many helpers, were rushed in to help with relief work. Within twelve months of the disaster the S.A. provided over 600 permanent houses. From that terrifying start, the S.A. established its work in June, when thirteen soldiers were sworn in. The first Commanding Officers were Captain and Mrs. Stanley Melton. At the 1985 Territorial Congress in Santiago, Chile, Captain and Mrs Elisio Flores Morales were presented with a Salvation Army Flag to fly in Ecuador, and on October 30, the work was opened in Quito. As in Guatemala in 1976, an earthquake struck El Salvador in October 1986, and The Salvation Army rendered emergency assistance. Following this, Salvationists stayed to minister to the spiritual needs of the people and a Corps was opened on April 1st, 1989 with social service outreach, and a computer centre!

The last Latin American country to see the Salvation Army open fire was the Dominican Republic, where work started on July 1, 1995. Of the twenty republics there seems to be little information regarding Honduras and Nicaragua, except that work started in 1919 and 1928 respectively. Any information regarding these two countries would be greatly appreciated.

The Maiden Tribute Case. The Rebecca Jarrett Story

One of the most stirring episodes in The Army's history involved Rebecca Jarrett, who was associated with General Bramwell Booth and Mr. W. T. Stead in the "Maiden Tribute" case, the culminating chapter in the successful effort to protect young girls from the evils of white-slave traffickers. Early in life she was associated with this vicious business. But it was while on a visit to Northampton that she fell on very evil days and, when in a distressing condition, she was found by a well-known Officer of that day, who worked patiently and persistently in seeking to lead Rebecca to Salvation. She helped her in many ways, and, in due course, had her transferred to our first Rescue Home in London, a small house in Whitechapel.

Mrs. Booth had taken charge of this Home and was almost overwhelmed by the terrible conditions she found. The age of consent was then only thirteen, and it was to her an appalling revelation to find that these young girls—really children—were daily arrested and harried by the police as common prostitutes after being abandoned by their destroyers. Those who first came under her care were all young girls in their teens, some only eleven and twelve years of age. She learned, too, that a trade was carried on in these young lives between England and the Continent, and that it involved such anguish and degradation as, in her opinion could not be matched by any trade in human beings known to history.

As the General has written, "It was not the immorality that stung us so much, horrible as it was; it was the deliberate scheming and planning whereby mere children were bought and sold as irrevocably as in a slave-market." Thinking of the miseries of these poor creatures Mrs. Booth, then a young wife and mother, cried herself to sleep night after night.

Gradually her husband became aware that there was no exaggeration in the stories she was hearing day after day, and the revelations nearly broke his heart. With the intensity that characterized Lincoln and Livingstone in connection with the black-slave trade, he set himself to the task of arousing the country to knowledge of the horrible condition of the girls on the streets of London and our great cities, and of the white-slave traffic carried on with other countries.

The House of Commons had treated the matter with indifference, although the House of Lords had manifested some concern and its members were in favour, at least, of raising the age of consent from thirteen to sixteen years, and of passing a Bill to ensure greater protection for girls and young women. If the public could be brought to know the actual facts, the General felt sure that Parliament would be forced to act. Hence he conferred with various friends, including Benjamin Scott (Chamberlain of the City of London) and Mrs. Josephine Butter, noted champion of wronged womanhood, and afterward consulted W. T. Stead, then Editor of the Pall Mall Gazette. To him he introduced Benjamin Scott, who explained the legal situation and also the Continental traffic. The General then told Stead that he had four women in the next room whom he might interview for himself. They came in, one by one, and their stories were elicited by Mr. Stead. Three of these outcasts were girls under sixteen, the other was Rebecca Jarrett.

How Mr. Stead acted, after learning at first hand the nature of the evil, is now history, and after the two men had taken counsel and prayed together, they set out very cautiously upon their plan of campaign. They needed absolute firsthand evidence. To secure this Rebecca offered to serve in a capacity which they suggested, and although she shrank at first from returning to the haunts of vice which she had known; she agreed to do so for the sake of the innocents whom she knew were being so vilely ill-treated.

She knew the method by which these girls of tender age were procured, and although it is unnecessary to detail the horrible routine here, it is enough to say that she purchased a girl and went through every phase of the sickening transaction, proving conclusively that the awful traffic was carried on without considerable difficulty. Rebecca Jarrett thus made it possible for a smashing blow to be struck at this hydra-headed monster, and soon the heart of Christendom was stirred.

As the General has written in Echoes and Memories—which is, by the way, the best source for complete and precise information on the great events of our early history—the Pall Mall Gazette extra of July 6, 1885, in which Mr. Stead described the Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon, took the British public by storm in a way that can hardly be paralleled in newspaper history. "The hot waves of public feeling quickly swelled and lapped up to the doors of the House of Commons."

The victory was won. "We had suffered in the fray," wrote the General, "but nothing could undo the result of the campaign." The enemy then took advantage of a technicality, and, to the amazement and horror of thousands of Englishmen, Stead, Bramwell Booth, and Rebecca Jarrett, with others, had to stand their trial for breaking the very law which their effort had brought into being. They had abducted a girl! It was nothing that she was carefully shielded throughout the whole of the transaction, and that Mr. Stead had openly declared this action was necessary in order to expose the vilest traffic imaginable. These champions of the helpless—Stead and Rebecca Jarrett—were sent to jail, Stead for three months and Rebecca for six. The General and those involved with him in the case were acquitted. All honour to those who shared in this notable victory!

When her sentence was completed Rebecca Jarrett went to a home Mrs. Josephine Butler had opened. It was felt that there would be less publicity for her under Mrs. Butler's care. She had felt her imprisonment very keenly. Again and again she almost yielded to despair. Mrs. Bramwell Booth, Mrs. Josephine Butler and others, spent hours with her in her terrible battles with discouragement and other evils. Their prayers, their love, and faith prevailed, and by the blessing of God she conquered. For a time this redeemed soul assisted in the rescue of girls and women and helped generally in Mrs. Butler's home. Long ago, however, she returned to Mrs. Booths care and was comfortably accommodated at 259 Mare Street, Hackney, and was thoroughly at home there until the day of her death.

Among her greatest treasures was the Bible given to her by Mrs. Booth, and, until a week or two before her death, she would turn its pages, and with deep emotion point to a verse which Mrs. Booth, realizing the nature of the test prison life would mean, had specially underlined. This was Isaiah xli. 10: "Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of My righteousness." Since July of last year she had been confined to her bed. During these days she was reminded that she would be able to see the Founder when she crossed the River. Her face shone as she lifted her hand and shouted "Hallelujah!"

Commissioner Catherine Booth kept in close touch with Rebecca, who so loved, and was so greatly indebted to, her mother and grandmother. On the occasion of the last visit the Commissioner was informed, "She will not know you." She recognized her visitor, however, and said, "Give my love to your dear father and mother. I owe everything to them."

Her last message was; "Give Mrs. Booth all my love: tell her I'm ready and I'm going Home." Her General had already written of her, "She has done well." Now she has entered into the joy of her Lord and heard His. "Well, done."

The funeral service in Abney Park Cemetery, on Thursday afternoon, was conducted by Commissioner Lamb, assisted by Commissioner Catherine Booth, who told of the conflicts and victories of this great trophy. She demonstrated in the long years of quietude and consistent Salvationism that the work done in her heart in Northampton, nearly forty-five years ago, was of God.

Why Children's Work was Banned in the Christian Mission and Resurrected 141 Years Ago by Steve Bussey

On July 30th. 2011, we celebrated the 141st anniversary of the relaunch of Children's and Youth Work in The Salvation Army. This was spearheaded by Captain John Roberts in Blyth, England on July 30, 1880.   Why did Children's Work have to be launched by The Salvation Army? It had been in existence since at least 1866. There are clear records about this reality. However, by about 1873/4, some of the rumblings which would lead to the shift from the Christian Mission to The Salvation Army were manifesting themselves particularly in the Sunday Schools of the Mission.

There were several avenues of children's work taking place in the movement at this time. There was:

(1) 'The Children's Mission' - headed by James Rapson (in which Bramwell and Ballington were gaining prominence as leaders).

(2). Bands of Hope - headed by the mother of James Jermy (who came to America around the same time to attempt an American version of The Christian Mission in Cleveland, Ohio, but failed). This was a group which began outside of the Christian Mission in the 1840s in which children would sign 'pledges' committing to abstain from alcohol.

(3) Sunday Schools - which were a form a literacy training through biblical knowledge. This was popularized by Robert Raikes in the mid-18th century, but were more focused on providing education through the church for the disadvantaged.   In 1870 (same year the Christian Mission wrote its major Constitution), there was a Public Education Act of 1870, which began the shift to universal education in England. With the government taking the responsibility of educating the masses, this threw many of the Church-based Sunday Schools into an identity crisis.

(4) Experimental Children's Programs - there were other experimental programs taking place around this time. These would include 'Ragged Schools' and informal networks like Thomas Barnardo's East London Children's Mission - sound familiar? Barnardo was the famous children's worker who temporarily partnered with William Booth (and met with him at the famous Christian Mission's Limehouse Pennygaff - a site purchased to save children from being trapped in lives of crime and prostitution). For a period of time, Booth (ever the pragmatist) thought of partnering with Barnardo and releasing the Children's work to him.

When William Booth visited many of the Mission Stations, he found people doing whatever they wanted. Some weren't doing anything for the kids, others were using these meetings to indoctrinate children into ideologies such as Chartism. Many were simply doing skill-and-drill exercises with the Bible, but weren't helping kids understand what it all meant. It was disorganized and in many ways it wasn't focused on a clear strategy of saving children, discipling them, equipping and mobilizing and then training them to lead others.

James Rapson, who had led the charge in the Children's Mission, disappeared from the Mission around the early 1870s (he was Booth's Secretary for the Mission and also wrote often in the magazines) and was replaced by George Scott Railton. With the loss of Railton, there was nobody who was passionate enough to take his place. Barnardo, by this time, was independent and doing his own work and Bramwell was slowly becoming the heir-apparent for heading up the future Mission, even more so than Railton. Different people were tried in this role, but didn't seem to be completely successful. The biggest issue though was that from his earliest of days, William Booth was uncompromising on his commitment to transformation (and rightly so). He shared the convictions of Trans-Atlantic Revivalist, Edward Payson Hammond, that if a child was exposed to the KNOWLEDGE of the Bible and of Christianity, but had not the EXPERIENCE of transforming conversion, that this child would grow up to be HARDER TO REACH than if S/HE HAD NOT BEEN REACHED AT ALL.

In other words, doing NOTHING was better than doing SOMETHING which would lead people to the false impression than they were saved when they weren't. Sunday Schools were training kids to memorize Scripture without understanding the transforming power of the words. This was a major obstacle to Booth's goal to truly see the world saved. We could liken this today to a kid who grows up in the church, but has never been saved. This kid would be the hardest person to reach with the gospel. Booth believed that they were doing damage to a generation's eternal destiny by doing so. When you explore this all in the context of the shift from Committee to autocracy, it makes sense that Sunday Schools be banned.
During this time, though, kids continued to burden the Booths. Catherine would preach on the subject of 'The Training of Children' during this time - focusing on parents as a critical starting point. Also, what I believe to be one of William Booth's most critical books, "The Training of Children" was being formulated during this time. It's important to note the subtitle of his book - 'How Our Children Can Be Made into SAINTS and SOLDIERS'. This is what he was searching for - the effective salvation and discipleship of the next generation. In fact, William Booth was known all throughout his life to WEEP for the children - believing the work they were doing with the kids was never good enough. His mantra, 'That and better will do' was applied dramatically to the Mission. When William Booth heard reports of what John Roberts was doing in Blyth, he had found his leader. Roberts was sent around England to become the model for every other Corps. This would lead to the formation of 'Little Soldiers' which would eventually become 'Junior Soldiers' by the end of the decade.

Here is Ethel Rohu, John Roberts' daughter's account of these happenings 141 years ago (Taken from "John Roberts - Evangelist").

My hope is that you will see from what I have stated about that these are not beginnings, but RE-beginnings:   The Beginnings of Children's Work - an all-alive meeting, and hope to have a good day tomorrow – my first Sunday in Blyth.” So ran the entry in John’s diary. “O Lord, give me this place!” is the prayer which concludes this entry.   John set about the task as if he intended to help God answer his prayer. Hearing that a fisherman had been drowned he called at the house to pray with the stricken widow. Five little children with big, wondering eyes were gathered round their mother. Sixty-two years later one of the little girls was to attend a home league rally at an adjacent corps and relate the memory which had lived with her through the years. “He comforted my mother in her sorrow,” she said, “and when children’s meetings started later on we all joined, and we’ve been in the Army ever since.” She was then sixty-nine. No place of worship in Blyth was big enough for the crowds who wanted to come to the Army so, whenever possible, the Central Hall, a building accommodating a thousand people, was secured for the Sunday night meeting.

Jack Stoker and his wife were prominent soldiers.   When they were appointed to Bishop Auckland as officers, their farewell meeting was described as “A Hallelujah Concert.” They had an outstandingly successful soul-saving career and two of their sons became officers. The open-air opportunity at Blyth was grand – and seats would be reserved inside for the estimated number who would follow to the indoor meeting. The diary records:   The people here seem to love having the subject of holiness introduced. They have some knowledge of it, but very little. The clouds are dispersing however; several have sought and, I believe obtained, this great profession.

Two months slipped by and increasing congregations constituted a problem in accommodation. As the Captain passed the door of the Central Hall on his way to the open-air he saw the people lined up waiting for the doors to be opened. Did his mind revert to his childhood vision of waiting crowds to whom he longed to preach the gospel? The hall would be packed long before the march came in and, alas! many would be turned away. Holding an open-air meeting was possible only because the soldiers’ seats were reserved on the platform. “Announce that no children will be admitted,” the local helpers suggested. “But the mothers cannot come – in many cases – unless they bring their children,” the Captain objected. The hall-keeper registered a resolve to keep out such children as came without parents as one means of minimizing his dilemma. Then came word from the borough officials regretting that the Central Hall would not be available for The Salvation Army on Sunday evening, July 25th, as there was a prior claim for this date. In this quandary someone suggested asking for the loan of the large Wesleyan Chapel with capacious gallery.

The minister was willing, probably trusting that something of the spirit of those Central Hall gatherings would enliven his own charge. Some seats had to be reserved for the usual chapel congregation as well as for the corps soldiery and their open-air adherents. The door-keeper’s problem was greater than ever! The diary entry is somewhat brief. “A grand sight to see that great gallery packed with people, as well as the hall below, but no visible results – though many were evidently under conviction.” But there was one result destined to have a more far-reaching effect than could possibly have been foreseen at the time. As the open-air workers had processioned toward the chapel, a little girl had shyly accosted the Captain and asked, “Please can I get into the meeting tonight?” “Certainly, if there is room,” was the guarded reply. “Ah, that’s just it,” she rejoined. “The door-keeper tells me there is no more room.”

The child awaited eagerly the Captain’s decision but, when it came, the light died out of her face.   “If that is the case,” he said, “I am afraid you cannot get in.” She turned to move away and the Captain, watching the little figure with dejection in every line, thought suddenly of his Lord’s words – “Forbid them not… for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven.” Long afterward he could recall the thrill that ran through his whole being. He had heard a divine call and, in a flash, a great opportunity was revealed to him. “Look here!” he said, and the child turned, arrested by his tone. “Would you like to come to a special meeting for children only in The Salvation Army hall, next Friday evening at six o’clock?” “Oh, yes!” she cried, her face aglow. She was told to tell her schoolfellows and friends and bring as many as she could along with her.

That night in the crowded chapel there was made the first announcement of a Salvation Army meeting for children only. Among John’s papers is a miniature “Manifesto” which he wrote as he sat in his little quarters on the eve of the new undertaking:

 Tomorrow evening, Friday, July 30th, 1880. I am (D.V.) to commence an hour’s meeting for children. My object in doing so will be to get them converted. May the Lord help me to accomplish my effort! May He enable me to lead these meetings in a way that shall be interesting and at the same time profitable. I think of beginning with singing and prayer. Then perhaps a little Bible reading showing Jesus blessing the children. I will tell them of His love for the children. Simply – very simply – I will go on to show Him as their Substitute. Explain the long word by illustration of a little boy who became a big boy’s substitute in a school.   Ten minutes will be given for Scripture quotation to induce them to learn the Scriptures.   I will tell them of my own conversion in the Sunday-school and so impress upon their minds the fact and need of conversion.   Possibly As we go on I shall get speakers…   Who can tell but what the Lord is now about to save many children, and bring them out into the world as Salvation Army officers? God grant that it may be so, and unto Him alone shall be all the glory. Amen. (Signed) John Roberts. July 29th, 1880. Blyth.

The Captain, admitted that it was with fear and trembling that he made his way to the hall – a little before six o’clock on Friday, July 30, 1880. Would there be anyone there? Could that sudden inspiration and announcement have really meant all that it seemed to him to mean? He was not left long in doubt. As he drew near the hall the sight that met his eyes set his heart beating with pleasurable anticipation. Boys and girls of all sizes and ages were assembling, seemingly in the wake of an invisible Pied Piper. Yes! There was the little inquirer of Sunday night! She was making toward him eager to introduce her own particular friend who was apparently helping to marshal the company. The Captain was pleased to shake hands with the alert little person – perhaps he had visions of her as an officer-to-be. He certainly did not foresee that he was then forging another of those life-links which they who follow the divine call are so wonderfully the unconscious instruments. This little girl – Minnie Browell, a daughter of the Methodist Manse – brightly explaining that, though she went to the Wesleyan Sunday-school, she had never heard before of a Friday evening school and was so pleased to come, would one day bear a name that became a household word in Poplar. Ten years later, on August 2, 1890, she became the wife of Lax of Poplar, and from thence was at her husband’s side in all his ministry.

Of that first children’s meeting the Captain wrote: “A glorious time! About seventy present, and I was able to hold their complete attention for half an hour. May the Lord continue to give me the right message for them, so that we may get soldiers and officers for The Salvation Army from among those precious children.” During the days which succeeded the new venture the Captain went about his duties with the ever-recurring thought “What ought to be the next step?” Merely to interest the children and make them happy would have no justification unless there were definite results in Army building. “We have been called into being for the salvation of souls,” he was always telling the soldiers, “and unless this purpose be achieved our activities are worthless.” Had he given an invitation for the Penitent-form all seventy children would doubtless have come forward – as they would have done anything else that he asked. But this was not the way in which soul-transformations took place. Until he had some evidence of their understanding of what it means to be saved he must close the meeting in prayer and send them home. But how great a fire a small spark kindles! The children’s week-night meetings were becoming the talk of the town. On the following Friday the congregation of boys and girls had risen to 120, and on the third occasion 150 were present. Yet on his return to his quarters, the Captain wrote: “My heart is sad tonight. I covet those children for God’s service. Surely some among them will be called to do damage to the devil’s kingdom! I am asking the Lord for direct guidance on this important matter.”

On the following Sunday the direction came. It had been arranged to hold a memorial service for a little girl whose life had borne testimony to the reality of her conversion. The Captain saw the possibilities of the occasion, and spoke of her victorious life and triumphant promotion to Glory as an evidence that children may be saved from sinning and made useful in the service of God. Among those who came forward were a number of girls and boys. With great joy in his heart and a prayer that he might be led by the Spirit, the Captain dealt personally with all those kneeling in penitence, and the impressiveness of those moments he never forgot.

A second week-night meeting “for children only” was decided upon and each child who came to the Penitent-form received an invitation for Wednesday at six o’clock. This was August 18, 1880. The Captain saw before him a clear course. Now he would be able to appeal for decisions for Christ to be made in the smaller gatherings where it would be possible to have each seeker dealt with individually. In the Friday meeting those who showed evidence of desiring to seek salvation would be encouraged to do so, and also be given an invitation to the Wednesday meeting which was to be the center of more intensive training in the things of God.   Seldom was there a meeting without someone getting saved. On Wednesday the young converts would testify and, by degrees, they were brought forward to witness in the adult meetings.

On Saturday evening they occupied the platform before a packed hall. For those who found it difficult to express their experience the Captain wrote dialogues, being careful that they understood and experienced what they were being given to learn. These extra meetings were included in the reports to the divisional headquarters and arrested the attention of Major Dowdle. Meeting the Captain at an officers’ council, he said: “Roberts, have you got children on the brain?” “No, Major; I have them on my heart,” was the reply. Outwardly amused, Dowdle was inwardly touched and interested, as events were to prove. He arrived on a Friday afternoon, and took tea in the quarters. As six o’clock drew near the Captain said: “Will you be able to find your way to the hall by seven o’clock; I ought to slip off now to meet the children.” “But I want to meet the children also,” returned the Major, and together they went off to an occasion both were long to remember.

The Captain recorded: “We had the seats arranged in a square. The children were full of the importance of the occasion.  The Major was charmed. He talked like a fiery prophet, and the children leaned forward, wide-eyed and, in some cases, open-mouthed, and listened spellbound. I looked on with a great joy in my heart!” “Splendid, Roberts!” said the Major. “We will have more of this in the division.” The children’s case had been won. From then on the diary records the Captain’s movements as opportunity was made for him to travel round the division with a chosen company of saved children to give their witness in public meetings. One of these occasions is noted: “Twenty-one souls were won for God; week-end collections trebled.” Major Dowdle reported the progress of the work among the children to the General. Hitherto every Salvation Army convert had been commandeered to fight in the open-air battles which preceded each public indoor meeting. These were not military descriptions only. The open-air stand was a real battleground; the fort was held in the fire of fierce opposition. Some would have preferred the quieter service of taking a Sunday-school class but none could be spared, and the running of Sunday-schools was not provided for in the multiplicity of schemes for helping along the salvation war. But the heart and mind of the Founder were ever open to new ventures in soul-saving, and soon after receiving the divisional officer’s report he made his way north to look into matters for himself. “These meetings must be started all over the country,” was his decision.

Meanwhile, the Captain with the children on his heart was by no means dull to the needs of the adults in his charge. The shipyard had intrigued him from the first survey of his activities. A recent visit to some new docks was noted: “Walked out upon the works where new docks are being built and new roads made. How familiar the scene – tipping wagons, packing sleepers, boys turning points and building themselves huts, boys swearing and quarreling!” As always after such reflections he wrote his heart’s prayer: “O Lord, help me to bring many more – old and young – into the liberty which Thou has given me.” In all probability the impressions of that afternoon had something to do with “Noonday talks in the shipyard.” Of their beginnings the diary records: “Tuesday, October 26th, 1880. Went to the Iron Shipyard to speak to the workmen for the first time. Tremendous disturbance at first, but very soon they got quiet and listened well. Going again tomorrow. O Lord, bring much good out of it!”

The noon meetings at the shipyard became the order of the day. Ministers from the various churches came along to see what was going on, and their services were “roped in.” They had awakened to the need and, as Salvationists would say, “caught the fire.” We know that one at least, the father of Minnie Browell, became outstanding in evangelistic ministry. Overflow meetings on Sunday night were held in a chapel to accommodate those who could not gain admission to the Central Hall. Then farewell meetings – marching orders had come again!

Rohu, Ethel B. - The Beginnings of Children’s Work.
John Roberts, Evangelist. - Salvationist Publishing and Supplies, 1953.