BBC - WW2 People's War


I was eight years old in 1939. I have one particularly graphic recollection of 1940; it was when the Special Branch visited my home early in the morning to say that my father had been arrested under 18B, the act that repealed Habeas Corpus.

He was taken first to Brixton and eventually to the Isle of Man. His crime was that he had been an active member of Oswald Mosley's British Union and was obviously considered a security risk.

His family, left with no means of support, knew how ridiculous this was; like most BU members he was intensely patriotic; he would never have considered giving support to the country's enemies. But I can see the reasons for what happened.

After three years on the Isle of Man, he was released and almost immediately conscripted into the army, which seems a strange way to deal with a traitor. Thank goodness, after more post-war contact with Oswald Mosley, his views were completely changed and he ended his life a good socialist, which he had always really been despite the temporary aberration.

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