On 5 August 1914, the Aliens Restriction Act was quickly passed by parliament the day after war was declared on Germany requiring foreign nationals (aliens) to register with the police, and where necessary they could be interned or deported. This act was chiefly aimed at German nationals and later other enemy aliens living in the United Kingdom, but the legislation and subsequent orders-in-council affected all foreign nationals in this country.
The first Aliens Restriction Order was also issued on 5 August 1914 (1914/1161) and this was quickly followed by two other orders-in-council on 10 and 12 August (1914/1170 and 1229) and a fourth on 20 August (1914/1258). These were brought together as the Aliens Restriction (Consolidation) Order 1914/1374 on 9 September. They:
- designated ports of arrival and departure for neutral aliens
- designated prohibited areas forbidden for enemy aliens
- imposed restrictions on items and goods that could be brought into or taken out of the country
- imposed travel restrictions on enemy aliens and their movements
Men of military age who were categorised as enemy aliens were arrested and interned, although for the most part this was done peacefully and men reported to temporary holding camps while more permanent internment camps were set up. Few records of individual enemy aliens have survived; the records of the Prisoner of War Information Bureau were destroyed by bombing in 1940. Two of the official lists of German subjects military and civilians interned in 1915-16 survive in The National Archives, in WO 900/45 and WO 900/46. Continue reading »