After being released from St Pauli police station after being held overnight, the pair went to their new lodgings above the Top Ten Club to get some rest. In the early afternoon, however, they were awoken by heavy banging on the door. Best opened the lock and was greeted by two plain-clothes policemen.
The two Beatles were told to get dressed quickly and were taken by car to Hamburg’s Kriminal police headquarters. The officer in charge, Herr Gerkins, told them they were to be deported at midnight on an aeroplane to London.
We tried our best to persuade him it was nothing, and he said, ‘OK fine, well you go with these men.’ And that was the last we knew of it. We just headed out with these couple of coppers. And we were getting a bit ‘Oh dear, this could be the concentration camps’ – you never know. It hadn’t been that long [since the war].
Rolling Stone, 12 June 1979
They were taken back on last time to the Top Ten where they were given five minutes to pack up their possessions; Pete Best was forced to leave his drums behind. They were then held in prison before being escorted to the airport in the evening.
The Beatles were not entirely sure why they were being deported, as their limited command of German made it difficult to understand the police procedures. Their request to telephone the British Consul was refused.
McCartney and Best arrived at London Airport on 1 December 1960. They spent their remaining money on a bus to Euston Station and a train ticket to Liverpool.
Also on this day...
- 2011: Paul McCartney live at Palais Omnisports de Paris-Bercy, Paris, France
- 2009: Nowhere Boy screening at Studio Two, Abbey Road Studios
- 1965: Mixing: 12-Bar Original
- 1965: Radio: Pop Profile
- 1964: Ringo Starr is interviewed by Melody Maker
- 1964: Brian Epstein appears on the BBC’s Desert Island Discs
- 1963: Live: Empire Theatre, Sunderland
- 1962: Live: Town Hall, Newton-le-Willows
- 1962: Mixing: Please Please Me, Ask Me Why
- 1962: Live: Cavern Club, Liverpool (lunchtime)
Want more? Visit the Beatles history section.