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Henry Segrave


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#1 TDC

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 00:16

Henry Segrave was born in Baltimore, Maryland, allegedly to an American woman and an Irish father. That would automatically make him an American citizen, right? I'm curious, does anyone know, did he ever actually renounce American citizenship at some time? If so, when?

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#2 Tim Murray

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 07:22

Segrave's father was British, as at that time the whole of Ireland was part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. I've looked through the relevant sections of the Cyril Posthumus biography of Segrave and there's no mention of any nationality issues. The implication throughout is that he was never anything other than British.

#3 David McKinney

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 07:40

My understanding is the same as Tim's, but TC raises an interesting point

Would a child born in the US at that time automatically be a US citizen, or merely have the right to claim US citizenship?

#4 RCH

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 08:21

Going OT already, I've long been puzzled as to why "Williams" was always regarded as British. English father, French mother, born in France. I suspect that in both cases it has more to do with how the person involved sees themselves.

#5 Vitesse2

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 09:38

The British Nationality Act of 1772 (13 Geo. 3 c. 21) - still in force at the time of Segrave's birth, but superseded in 1914 - made a general provision regarding children born abroad, allowing natural-born allegiance (citizenship) to be assumed if the father alone was British. Previously, both parents had to be British (originally English, but amended by the Act of Union of 1707), under a law which went all the way back to 1350 - the Status of Children Born Abroad Act 1350 (25 Edw. 3 Stat. 1).

Presumably Segrave and Williams would have also qualified for, respectively, American and French - and thus possibly dual - citizenship, but chose not to do so.

Edited by Vitesse2, 21 February 2012 - 09:40.


#6 Tim Murray

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 10:23

The actress Audrey Hepburn is often erroneously added to lists of famous Belgians because she happened to be born there. There's a copy of her birth certificate viewable on line which shows that her birth was registered at the British Consulate in Brussels, and that she was never anything other than British. As Segrave's father originally went to Baltimore as a British consular official (although he had moved into the real estate business at the time of Segrave's birth) I think it likely that his birth also would have been registered in this way.

In Grand Prix Saboteurs Joe Saward says that Williams's birth was registered at the town hall in Montrouge, so it would be interesting to know whether he was officially a British citizen.

#7 ensign14

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 10:24

Going OT already, I've long been puzzled as to why "Williams" was always regarded as British. English father, French mother, born in France.

Green Bugatti.

#8 Vitesse2

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 12:30

The actress Audrey Hepburn is often erroneously added to lists of famous Belgians because she happened to be born there. There's a copy of her birth certificate viewable on line which shows that her birth was registered at the British Consulate in Brussels, and that she was never anything other than British. As Segrave's father originally went to Baltimore as a British consular official (although he had moved into the real estate business at the time of Segrave's birth) I think it likely that his birth also would have been registered in this way.

In Grand Prix Saboteurs Joe Saward says that Williams's birth was registered at the town hall in Montrouge, so it would be interesting to know whether he was officially a British citizen.

I don't think the place of registration is relevant, Tim, although obtaining a bona fide British certificate no doubt helped. My late mother was born in Canada of British parents and obtained a British passport despite only having a Canadian birth certificate. Admittedly that was under the post-1914 regulations, but they were far more complicated and took into account another 140 or so years of Empire, which must have theoretically vastly increased the number of children of British fathers eligible for citizenship.

Anyway, here's the 1772 Act: http://www.uniset.ca/naty/BNA1772.htm

#9 johnthebridge

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 15:25

I spend a lot of time in Ireland, and my nearest town of any size is Portumna, Co. Galway. Across the Shannon at Portumna, on the Tipperary side, is a large house which several Irish people have told me was the Segrave home. It's about half a mile above the northern end of Lough Derg. The house looks rather forlorn now, but I think it's still occupied, albeit not, I imagine, by Segraves. I can't enlarge on this at the moment, but I shall be going over within the next few weeks. If you would like me to explore this further, let me know.

#10 Vitesse2

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 16:05

According to "The Life of Sir Henry Segrave" by Malcolm Campbell and J Wentworth Day he was brought up at "Belle Isle, Lord Avenmore's place, on Lough Derg". The Segrave family didn't own it, though - it was "on a long lease".

#11 Tim Murray

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 16:07

This sounds very promising. According to the Posthumus biography, in 1906 the Segrave family moved from County Wicklow to:

... a large house and estate called Belle Isle, which Charles Segrave had taken over on long lease from the owner Lord Avonmore.

Belle Isle, half a mile from the townlet of Portumna, stands on Lough Derg, where the waters of the Shannon join it on their way down through Limerick to the Atlantic, in countryside rich in past history and legend, but in 1906 quiet and dreamy. Here was the Emerald Isle personified, with broad fields, heather-clad hills, splendid trees, and green, green grass everywhere, flourishing in the mild, moist air of Ireland.

A photo or two of the old place would be fascinating.

Edit: confirming what Richard posted above.

Edited by Tim Murray, 21 February 2012 - 16:09.


#12 Vitesse2

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 16:15

http://travelingluck....html#local_map

#13 Vitesse2

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 16:26

Sad coincidence: the course on Windermere where Segrave crashed Miss England II started near Belle Isle. He was rescued from the wreck and taken to a house overlooking the lake, where he later died, despite the efforts of his doctors. The house was called Belle Grange.

#14 TDC

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 18:04

My understanding is the same as Tim's, but TC raises an interesting point

Would a child born in the US at that time automatically be a US citizen, or merely have the right to claim US citizenship?


Yes, that goes to the heart of my question. I have no doubt of Segrave's "Britishness," but I wonder if legally, at that time in the US, his birth there of an American mother automatically made him a citizen or just gave his parents that option?

I wonder who would know that?

TC

#15 Vitesse2

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 18:44

It seems to be automatic - as defined in the Citizenship Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment (1868):

"All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside."

There are exclusions - children of foreign diplomats and of enemy aliens in time of war - but presumably only really an issue if and when you applied for a passport. So it would appear that Segrave actually held dual citizenship. Whether he cared is another question!

Edited by Vitesse2, 21 February 2012 - 18:46.


#16 Stephen W

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 10:31

Sad coincidence: the course on Windermere where Segrave crashed Miss England II started near Belle Isle. He was rescued from the wreck and taken to a house overlooking the lake, where he later died, despite the efforts of his doctors. The house was called Belle Grange.


There is a rather nice house on Belle Island - was this where Segrave was taken?


#17 Vitesse2

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 17:56

There is a rather nice house on Belle Island - was this where Segrave was taken?

No, Belle Grange is an isolated house on the western shore of the lake at High Wray, ENE of Hawkshead. Postal address is Belle Grange, High Wray, Ambleside, Cumbria LA22 0JH.

You do have to wonder why he wasn't taken to either Bowness or Ambleside though.

#18 TDC

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 17:58

It seems to be automatic - as defined in the Citizenship Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment (1868):

"All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside."

There are exclusions - children of foreign diplomats and of enemy aliens in time of war - but presumably only really an issue if and when you applied for a passport. So it would appear that Segrave actually held dual citizenship. Whether he cared is another question!


Yes, but as Tim Murray posted, "As Segrave's father originally went to Baltimore as a British consular official (although he had moved into the real estate business at the time of Segrave's birth) I think it likely that his birth also would have been registered in this way," so I wonder if the prior service of Segrave's father as a consular official counted as an exclusion?

Unless there's an immigration or government expert viewing, we may have gone as far as we can here. TC


#19 Vitesse2

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 20:48

Logic would suggest it only applies to serving foreign diplomats. ;)

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#20 D-Type

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 14:21

At the time, the land and water speed records had a far higher profile than today. I would speculate that the Americans would have wanted to claim Segraves records for America if they could. The fact that they did not do so suggests that they felt they could not claim Segrave was American.



#21 Vitesse2

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 15:44

At the time, the land and water speed records had a far higher profile than today. I would speculate that the Americans would have wanted to claim Segraves records for America if they could. The fact that they did not do so suggests that they felt they could not claim Segrave was American.

Well, they did have Gar Wood. :)

Campbell and Day suggest that "his work in promoting good feelings for us in America ... very charm and spontaneity, added to the breath-taking brilliance of his achievements, made him seem to Americans, Germans, French and Italians alike the beau-ideal of the dashing yet modest young English gentleman adventurer who all down the centuries has continued to make world history - as a matter of course and not a matter of intent."

They don't write books like that any more :lol:

Now, if you'll excuse me, I shall go and play Flanders & Swann's "Song of Patriotic Prejudice" ;)