Highlights of new Freedom of Information releases in May 2008

May 2008

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Catalogue ref. Date Description
Records of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and predecessors
FO 945/762 1947 Operation Oasis: Reception into British Zone of Germany of Jewish immigrants from PalestineFollowing the interception of some 4,500 Jewish illegal immigrants bound for Palestine, the British authorities had taken them to France where they hoped to accommodate them. The passengers refused to disembark resulting in a three-week stand off. Eventually, the British authorities decided that if the immigrants continued the stand off they would be taken to Germany and placed in refugee camps. The file includes arrangements for transporting the refugees and organising a peaceful disembarkation at Hamburg; correspondence between the World Jewish Congress and the Foreign Office, and preparations of the refugee camps.
Records created or inherited by the Home Office, Ministry of Home Security, and related bodies
HO 45/23738 1940-1941 WAR: Reverend Henry Stanley Tibbs: propagation of fascist views from the pulpitReverend Stanley Tibbs was detained under the suspicion of being an ardent fascist, from July to December 1940. Tibbs, who had been a member of the British Union of Fascists, was said to have offended his congregation both in and out of the pulpit by expressing sympathy with Germany, criticising Churchill ("...a drug addict and dictator of the vilest kind...") and generally being negative about the Allies' efforts. Tibbs appealed his detention, and was freed following his appearance before an Advisory Committee, under a number of strict conditions that were later on removed.
Records created or inherited by the Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Departments, and of related bodies
MAF 250/46 1954-1956 Food defence: report for Minister, April 1955Following the arrival of thermo-weapons, the Government in the 1950s looks at its emergency planning in the face of this new potential threat. This file looks at updating the systems to administer food in times of emergency. The file contains a document on the effects of Hydrogen bombs, as well as a list of estimated targets of Hydrogen and Atom bombs.
MAF 250/62 1962-1964 Defence plans: acceleration of preparations for emergency situation; Cabinet caseIn October 1962, the deterioration in the international situation moved the government to revise its emergency planning, the Home Defence Plan, once again. The file looks at possible measures for the government to take in terms of controlling food, which foods should be stockpiled, as well as what advice should be given to households, planning ahead in case of a nuclear attack and the subsequent fallout.
Records created and inherited by HM Treasury
T 227/4529 1980-1982 Mildenhall (Cunetio) Treasure Trove: implications of Court of Appeal's ruling on gold and silver content of treasure trove objectsIn October 1978, two treasure hunters unearthed over 56,000 Roman coins from underneath Mildenhall monument. The two were originally charged with defacing an ancient monument, but were acquitted. As the hoard was discovered within the liberties of the Duchy of Lancaster, they were claimed as "treasure" and therefore property of the Crown. However, this file discussed the implications of a Court of Appeal ruling which stated that hoards must be of a high percentage of gold or silver in order to be considered "treasure". The Mildenhall hoard was sent to the British Museum for examination and this file outlines the various twists and turns in this case.
T 227/4530 1979-1982 Treasure Trove find in River Forth (Gargunnock pots) by Mr W AbernathyThis file covers a dispute over reward money between the Treasury's Treasure Trove committee and Mr Abernathy. Abernathy initially discovered some medieval clay pots whilst out diving in the River Forth, though once he had declared his find many more pots were discovered in the area by others. Mr Abernathy claimed that he should be rewarded for all the discoveries made in that area as a result of his declaration.
T 227/4531 1981 Treasure Trove Reviewing Committee: valuation of finds; individual casesThis file contains proposals from the committee, the British Museum and individual applicants regarding reviewing the committee's work to ensure ex-gratia rewards paid to finders of "treasure", i.e. property of the Crown, as incentive for people to come forward and declare finds. Included in the file is the case of the treasure find in Thetford, Norfolk, when the discovery of gold and silver items dating from the 4th century AD was concealed from the authorities, endangering the archaeological integrity of the site.
T 227/4532 1981 Treasure Trove Reviewing Committee: valuation of finds; individual casesThis document continues to record the discussions of the committee concerning the case of deliberate concealment of the Thetford find. This was one of the most important Roman treasure in existence and according to a report there was no guarantee that the hoard was dug up in its entirety. Also the site had not been archeologically analysed which had serious implications for any future studies of the area.