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Looking after French Foreign Legion soldiers

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From friendly aliens to enemy aliens
Ken Adam Artist
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We were all friendly aliens at one time at the outbreak of war, and then after Dunkirk, we all became enemy aliens again.

And they wanted to intern me and my younger brother and... within two hours, in fact, and my mother was… she said, 'But what's the War Office saying to that? What's Captain Glover saying to that? Why don't you ring him?' And I rang him, and he said, 'They can't intern you...you're working... too important'. And they unfortunately took my younger brother, who was barely 16 and could hardly speak German, too, and interned him on the Isle of Man... but eventually I got him out. And... then I got pretty bored with illustrating air raid shelters and masks and so on for my boss, Captain Glover, and I wanted to do something more active.

Sir Kenneth Adam, OBE, born Klaus Hugo Adam in 1921, is a production designer famous for his set designs for the James Bond films of the 1960s and 1970s. Initially, he trained as an architect in London, but in October 1943, he became one of only two German-born fighter pilots to fly with the RAF in wartime. He joined 609 Squadron where he flew the Hawker Typhoon fighter bomber. After the war, he entered the film industry, initially as a draughtsman on This Was a Woman. His portfolio of work includes Barry Lyndon and The Madness of King George; he won an Oscar for both films. Having a close relationship with Stanley Kubrick, he also designed the set for the iconic war room in Dr Strangelove. Sir Ken Adam was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2003.

Listeners: Christopher Sykes

Christopher Sykes is an independent documentary producer who has made a number of films about science and scientists for BBC TV, Channel Four, and PBS.

Tags: The Battle of Dunkirk, War Office, Isle of Man

Duration: 1 minute, 10 seconds

Date story recorded: December 2010 and January 2011

Date story went live: 15 August 2011