How to look for records of... Internees
How can I view the records covered in this guide?
This is a guide to help you find records of an internee. Information on individual internees is held in different record series and is not always easy to find. Very few records of individual internees survive for the First World War and The National Archives has no registers of all internees. Some records can be searched online using the name of the internee, but the chances of finding any one person are not high.
1. What do I need to know before I start?
2. What records can I see online?
3. What records can I find at The National Archives at Kew?
4. What records can I find in other archives and organisations?
5. What other resources will help me find information?
6. Did you know?
During the First and Second World Wars both sides set up internment camps to hold enemy aliens – civilians who were believed to be a potential threat and have sympathy with the enemy’s war objectives. Internees were treated differently to prisoners of war and were given more privileges.
For the first two years of the Second World War about 8,000 enemy aliens were temporarily interned in British camps prior to being deported to the colonies and the dominions.
Many ships carrying internees were lost at sea by enemy torpedoes and these losses resulted in the end of the policy of deporting internees. It is worth searching outgoing passengers lists for these deportees.