Arthur Wish – WW2 Family Memories

Thanks to Holly for sharing her family story with us

“My father, Arthur Wish, was interned in Australia during the early part of the war. He was a refugee from Nazi Germany in 1937 because he had a half Jewish , half English mother and a German father. His parents were told to divorce, but instead they managed to get sponsorship from English relatives and came to London. My father spoke no English at this point, so refused to go to school. He worked on building sites and soon learnt enough. In May 1940 he was just 17. Winston Churchill became worried about fifth columnists so set up his policy to “Collar the Lot”. Any German people who were regarded as a possible threat to England (Jewish refugees included) were taken to internment camps. My fully German grandfather (aged about 40) was sent to camps on the Isle of Man, but my father was sent on the Dunera to be interned abroad. The ship was meant to go to Canada but there had been a recent shipwreck from u boats, so the Dunera headed for South Africa. There were no camps ready so the grossly overcrowded ship was sent to Australia. There were many tribulations on the journey, the soldiers guarding the internees did not seem to realise that most of them were refugees. In Australia they were interned until it was realised that they posed no threat. Many joined the Australian army, but my father travelled back to England to join the Royal Air Force and was then sent to Ceylon as part of the air sea rescue. He was repatriated fairly early because England needed rebuilding and this was his trade.”

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2 Responses to Arthur Wish – WW2 Family Memories

  1. Ciara says:

    i have a report at school about memories from world war two, these are the questions i have to answer-
    who were they?
    where did they live?
    what did they do during the years of the war
    are there any particular memories or experiences that are particularly interesting or memorable?
    if there is anyone who can answer these questions for me then i would much appreciate it, please can you email me as soon as possible as i only have 2 days left until the hand in date!

    • Hi Ciara,

      Thanks for your comment. Unfortunately this blog is written about the war in general and from contributions by the public. The best I can suggest is you urgently contact your local Royal British Legion branch who you will find online and see if there is a retired veteran of WW2 within your local branch who you could go and interview. Though I don’t think you will have the time if you have to hand this in in two days time.

      If we can be of any help in the future though, please contact us again.

      Kindest regards
      Carolyn

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