By Miriam Kochan
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On 15 May, fighting in Holland ceased. On 16 May, the Joint Intelligence Committee urgently recommended- and its recommendation was endorsed by the Chiefs of Staff- that internment be extended to all enemy aliens, The Paltriest Kitchen Maid 29 male and female, between the ages of sixteen and seventy. The same day, the Home Office took limited action on this advice: all category 'B' male aliens between the ages of sixteen and sixty were interned. The Times of 17 May reported, 'Immediately after the issue of the Home Office Order a round-up of enemy aliens in the Metropolitan area began.
I didn't believe it for two days. I wouldn't believe that they could take me to prison. It was absolutely traumatic. I was. a child, twenty years old, and very spoilt. I didn't know anything. I had 33 34 Britain's Internees in the Second World War never been away from my family before. I just couldn't believe it. We were searched, bathed and put into cells. My cell-door said ENEMY ALIEN- on my cell-door! It was incredible. I didn't tell anyone I was expecting, but Kurt had told a friend and she told the Holloway people.
Who was actually in the coastal area at the fateful moment when the police swooped was already a matter of chance. Several undergraduates at Cambridge University fell within the net- some only two weeks before the Tripos examinations. It is heartening to note that they were none the less approved for admission to their BA degrees without further examination. Pastor Ehrhardt's presence in the protected area was also fortuitous. 'My husband would never have been interned at all if we had not happened to be in Sussex at the time.
Britain’s Internees in the Second World War by Miriam Kochan