Regan Ebsworth profile

Regan Ebsworth

Regan Ebsworth

Brunel University London (2023)


Dr Alison Carrol


Resistance, Collaboration, and the Spaces in Between: the Internment of British Citizens in France, 1935-1955


This research aims to trace the life experiences of British nationals interned in continental France during the Second World War. Following the fall of France in June 1940, an armistice was signed with Germany which divided France in two: the north, including Paris, being occupied by German troops and the south being run by an independent French government at the town of Vichy. The German authorities in the occupied zone rendered British citizens as enemy civilians from 9 September 1940, leading to a wave of arrests of British and Commonwealth citizens from September to December 1940. In the non-occupied zone of France, British people would have only been interned as a result of committing a crime or being suspected communists. The entirety of France was then occupied from November 1942. This project will trace the experiences of British internees before, during and after the war in both zones. It seeks to understand what brought them to France and what their lives were like prior to the war and their internment (1935-1940). It will explore their life in the internment camps between 1940-1945, focusing on resistance, collaboration and the spaces in between, questioning how British people responded to the occupation of France and the creation of the Vichy regime and examining the extent of their collaboration and resistance. Finally, it will identify how the war shaped their experiences after internment and how they recalled and transmitted their wartime memories. The project will use mixed research methods, combining archival source analysis with printed sources and oral interviews. It will reveal the history of British communities living in France during the Second World War, a topic that has not been explored in the existing literature.