Internment policy

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Internment policy

The Arandora Star (KV 4/337)

This reconstituted file on the policy of transfer of enemy alien internees to Canada in 1940 contains policy papers such as the interdepartmental meeting of June 1940 where the decision to transfer mainly Italian internees to Canada was taken. British internees could not be so transferred because the 18b regulations did not allow it. It also contains correspondence relating to the loss of the Arandora Star, the second ship carrying internees to Canada, including lists of victims and survivors, giving their nationality and internment camp of origin.

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The Royal Patriotic Schools (KV 4/339-344)

This collection of six weeded files detail the development of policy for the Royal Patriotic School (RPS) from its opening in January 1941 through to its closure in June 1945. RPS (also known as the Royal Victoria Patriotic School and the London Reception Centre) was established to process aliens arriving in the UK to gather intelligence from them on conditions in occupied Europe, and to screen arrivals for possible enemy agents. It replaced the previous ad hoc scrutiny by individual officers, and gathered together all the relevant interested bodies in one location. RPS was located at Trinity Road, Wandsworth for men, and at nearby Nightingale Lane for Women.

The files include correspondence and minutes of meetings of the sub-committee of the Home Defence (Security) Executive set up to run the RPS, and includes items such as lists of categories of persons required to be processed by RPS (for example at serial 4A in KV 4/339 – the categories changed throughout the war as screening techniques improved or the pressure of numbers passing through RPS altered) or reports of inspection visits to the School (for example at serial 19A in the same file). There is a list of the administrative staff at RPS in May 1941 at serial 68B (KV 4/340); and a detailed note on the history of RPS at serial 211A (KV 4/342). A comment of March 1941 at serial 49A (KV 4/339) summarises the Security Service view of the schools: "…the conditions there should be as good as they can possibly be made…the Patriotic School should be regarded not as a detention camp, but as a comfortable and well equipped centre…"

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Though the main files contain passing references only to individual cases, there is one complete case preserved as an example in KV 4/344 – that of Breton journalist and resistance activist Jean Abel Louis Pomeau de Lafforest. This includes his interrogation reports giving a detailed account of his wartime activities, the documents he brought with him out of France and other related correspondence. The file includes photos of Lafforest, of scenes in Brittany, and one of General de Gaulle. Correspondence on this file indicates that other RPS files were either destroyed, or were absorbed into Security Service personal files.

Policy on intelligence organisation in internment camps (KV 4/335-336)

These files deal with the development from 1940 of intelligence organisations in the internment camps set up for enemy aliens living in the United Kingdom. KV 4/335 deals with such matters as the appointment in November 1940 of the first resident MI5 officer (Alexander Richardson) to liaise with the camp authorities in the Isle of Man. The file includes an account (serial 30a) of a visit to the Isle of Man by J D Denniston in July 1941, where Denniston expressed dismay at certain arrangements in the camps: "[We] were taken round by Major Daniel, the Commandant. Daniel is not "security minded", and does not react with any pleasure to the word "stool-pigeon". We were surprised to find that the Camp Father …is Ludwig WARSCHAUER, well (but not honourably) known in this Office…[Daniel's] tendency to invest his wolves (such as WARSCHAUER) with lamb's clothing is a source of some embarrassment…"