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Thread: WO208 Archives from Royal Patriotic School

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    Default WO208 Archives from Royal Patriotic School

    Hi,


    I am going to plan a forthcoming visit at the TNA.

    Does anybody have study the archives from the Royal Patriotic School with interrogation of civilians arriving in UK from abroad ? If positive who can tell me what info are recorded, for example if the name/date of ships could be recorded ?

    Any help welcomed

    Thanks in advance

    Bertrand

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    Default TNA, Kew WO 208 Series

    Hello Bertrand

    I have only looked at about a dozen WO 208 files in relation to RAF Countermeasures and downed GAF aircraft intelligence investigations. Some files appear to be the remains and scraps saved from original larger files and sadly without the "Minute Sheets" [Index Sheets] in the front, which was all very disappointing in my personal case.

    There are several file Class Series such as the Secret Service in the "KV" series and "HO" Home Office and probably other Class Series? May I suggest you contact The National Archives at Kew and at least ask for all the information for each Class Series covering - foreign nationals / immigrants / civilians / naturalisations, internees or POW who came to Britain during the War of interest. Also try the Historical Staff within the various UK Government Departments dealing with their own particular Archives. Also try and get hold of someone with a web page who has researched this type of subject (or similar area) for general advice on file Class Series.

    The Home Office Archives (those Archives which are still held by the Home Office) are so large apparently, that it is difficult for even their own staff to manage efficiently apparently, according to a report.

    An Inland Revenue Office near me, had Taxation records going back nearly 300 years!! The 30 and 50 year rule on disclosing archives to the public seems to be an absolute myth, when a Department does not even seem to know what they hold in their own archives and the age of the files they hold!!

    Generally, I am aware that UK Government Departments hold files on extended closure, some even back to WW 1, although they don't like to admit it too much, but withheld archives are occasionly mentioned in Parliamentary Reports, including the online version of Hansard.

    The TNA description states for WO 208:-

    "The series consists of records of the Directorate of Military Intelligence as established in 1939, together with some inherited from the former Directorate of Military Operations and Intelligence.
    Additional sections were formed during the course of the Second World War, dealing with subjects including publicity and propaganda, prisoners of war, scientific and technical matters, censorship, air photography, anti-aircraft intelligence and military attaches. (Some of these sections had existed during the latter stages of the Great War and for a short period thereafter, but had been disbanded when their work ceased to be necessary). The series includes files on individual prisoners of war, both Allied and enemy, and on prominent Nazis.
    There is also medical, historical, and military information about countries which were - or might have been - involved in hostilities.
    Information on the organisation of the Directorate of Military Intelligence in World War II can be found in WO 208/5568." - Crown Copyright

    and

    The papers of the Directorates and their sections were not always carefully and systematically filed. As far as possible, within each accession, they have been arranged under the heading of the geographical area to which they refer (in alphabetical order of areas), and then listed in chronological order.
    There are also collections under various general headings and from various sources, such as the Allied Translation and Interpretation Service, the Deputy Director of Information and Publicity, the Combined Services Detailed Interrogation Centre and the British Military Mission to the Soviet Forces, Berlin. - Crown Copyright


    In summary, you never always know exactly what a file contains until you open it up and whether it covers a specific or an exact area of research and many hours can be wasted searching files for something very specific, only to find related information amongst another Series.

    The electronic catalogue may return a no results search, but I have found files listed in the paper indexes. However, unfortunately, new files being added to the catalogue are not always being added to the paper indexes of the various Class Series.

    The TNA has a Library on books covering various historical subjects (including Reports or Archives Policies of various UK Departments), which can be useful source very occasionly for Series references and finding out what is being withheld.

    I wish you well.

    Mark
    Last edited by Mark Hood; 14th February 2012 at 21:13.

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    Default

    Thanks Mark for the detailed reply. Finally I will reserve one or two 208/3663 at random and I will browse them. May be that info I need are not in the minutes sheets !

    Bertrand

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

    Hello Bertrand

    There is some information on TNA, Kew website, also pointing toward another Catalogue Class Series reference "KV" which I had mentioned previously. My advice also, is to contact TNA, Kew in advance by email and ask if their member of staff who deals with the "KV" Class Series of "Security Service" records and Security Service Personnel files and ask for some general guidance (free of charge), as they may be aware of other files and see if records might also be covered or overlap into other government Departmental Catalogue Class Series, such as WO 208 or other Catalogue Class Series letter reference/s.

    Did I understand you correctly when you said you would order some file Catalogue numbers at random, as this would be hit and miss amongst the 1,000s of references for WO 208?

    I presume you have gone to The National Archives website online and clicked on "The Catalogue" and done at least a Keyword search with say the word "Patriotic" and the years, to bring up file titles? However, you still will not know until you have looked at each file, as to whether the files will contain the type of information you require!

    There were some releases in 2006 and this is what I have found via Google which has a page of information about the files and file numbers -

    http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/releases/2006/september/internment-policy.htm

    Internment Policy
    The Royal Patriotic Schools (KV 4/339-344)
    Policy on intelligence organisation in internment camps (KV 4/335-336)

    They are Policy files, so I expect information about individuals will be very scant, or could even be missing. Hope you find what you are looking for!

    Regards Mark
    Last edited by Mark Hood; 17th February 2012 at 07:35.

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