Elected F.R.S. 1974
Vivian Fuchs's father, Ernst, was German, but he knew virtually nothing of his German forebears. His mother, Violet Watson, was English, but German by marriage. His parents had lived in England since their marriage in 1907 and he was six years old when World War I broke out. Internment of all Germans was ordered and his father was put in a prison camp for aliens on the Isle of Man, and their money and property were confiscated. The family were now very poor but survived on the goodwill of relations; even so he had a happy childhood and did not feel in any way deprived. In 1917 his maternal grandparents died intestate, which led to ‘family strife… much unpleasantness and quite a lot of skullduggery’. His mother inherited half her father's fortune, but as she was an enemy alien it was sequestered by the government and they lived a hand–to–mouth existence for six long years after the war had ended.