The Daily Mail (London, England), March 1, 2003 p. 11
If I don't deserve to be British, who on Earth does?; New passport fiasco hits aid worker whose father was a Guards officer and grandfather was a Governor..
By Richard Price
WITH a father who graduated from Oxford and served in the Coldstream Guards and a grandfather who was knighted for services to his country, it is hard to imagine anyone more British than former public schoolgirl Willa-Jane Douglas.
Throughout her career as an aid worker she has travelled to dangerous places on her But now, aged 44, she has had that passport withdrawn after the Home Office said she is not British after all.
The decision has left her stateless, compelling her to give up work as a senior manager for the international aid charity Concern Worldwide and return to the United Kingdom so she can apply for naturalisation.
In the latest in a string of bizarre decisions, the Home Office ruled that she cannot be British because she was born in Malaya, where her father was serving as an officer of Her Majesty's Colonial Service.
The ruling also affects Mrs Douglas's brother Richard Addis, a journalist.
'My entire family is British as far back as anyone can remember,' she said. 'Now I have been told that I might be entitled to apply for a Malaysian or Tanzanian passport, but I have no right to call myself British.' Mrs Douglas's case echoes that of 55-year-old Mary Martin, who was declared an illegal immigrant despite having a British mother and never having left the country since the age of one.
Last week the Mail also highlighted the plight of Shrewsbury's Mayor George Richey, who served Queen and country as a soldier for 26 years, rising to the rank of lieutenant colonel, only to be told he was not British because he was born in Mauritius.
In Mrs Douglas's case, her British mother Jennifer gave birth to her in Malaya, where her husband Richard Addis was serving in the Colonial Service.
Mr Addis had been born in Zanzibar, where his father Sir William was governor.
Concerned to ensure his children's nationality, Mr Addis wrote to the Home Office and received a letter confirming that both son and daughter were British subjects.
Using that letter they were able to apply for British passports and received their documents without any problems for the next 40 years.
Both children went to public school in England - Mrs Douglas to Benenden and her brother to Rugby. Her brother went on to become editor of the UK passport.
Express and Mrs Douglas ploughed her energies into the often dangerous world of international aid.
While working in Africa she met and married aid worker Timothy Douglas, a Yorkshireman, and the couple have three children, Oliver, six, Grace, three, and one-year-old Amelia.
Mrs Douglas said: 'Because we were going to a different country virtually every week, my passport filled up very quickly with stamps and visas.
'In December 2000 I went to the passport office in Nairobi only to be told that I was not entitled to a British passport because my father was born in Zanzibar, which is no longer a colony.
'When I got back to England I was given a one- year passport but told it would not be renewed. It ran out last year and that was that.' Being married to a Briton does not automatically confer British citizenship and a letter from the UK Passport Service explained that once Zanzibar became an independent Commonwealth country, Mrs Douglas was rendered stateless.
She now lives in Oxford with her husband and young family, working part-time as a supply teacher while she applies for British citizenship.
Her brother, who recently returned from Canada where he edited the Toronto Globe and Mail, is in a less urgent situation as his passport does not expire for another four years.
Their father said: 'I am disgusted with the whole situation. My family has done so much for this country and this is the way they treat us.' The Home Office declined to comment.