The Execution of Lord Haw Haw at Wandsworth Prison in 1946

William Joyce

William Joyce, the man with the famous nickname ‘Lord Haw Haw’, is Britain’s most well-known traitor, of relatively recent times anyway. He had a catchphrase as famous as any comedian’s and to cap it all he had a facial disfigurement in the form of a terrible scar that marked him as a ‘villainous traitor’ as if the words themselves were tattooed across his forehead. Saying all that, a lot of people have argued that he shouldn’t have been convicted of treason at all, let alone be executed for the crime.

On the cold and damp morning of 3 January 1946 a large but orderly crowd had formed outside the grim Victorian prison in Wandsworth. The main gates of London’s largest gaol are situated not more than a few hundred feet from the far more salubrious surroundings of Wandsworth Common in South West London.

Some people had come to protest at what they considered an unjust conviction, while others, ghoulishly and morbidly, wanted to be as close as they could, to what would turn out to be, the execution of the last person to be convicted of treason in this country.

Wandsworth Prison

William Joyce had woken early that morning and although he ate no breakfast he drank a cup of tea. At one minute to nine, an hour later than initially planned, the Governor of Wandsworth Prison came to the condemned man’s cell to inform him that his time had come.

The walk to the adjacent execution chamber was but a few yards but there was just enough time for Joyce to look down at his badly trembling knees and smile. Albert Pierrepoint, the practiced and experienced hangman, said the last words that Joyce would ever hear: ‘I think we’d better have this on, you know’ and placed a hood over the condemned man’s head followed immediately by the noose of the hanging rope.

A few seconds later the executioner pulled a lever which automatically opened the trap door beneath Joyce’s feet. Almost instantaneously Joyce’s spinal cord was ripped apart between the second and third vertebrae and the man known throughout the country as Lord Haw-Haw, was dead.

The gates of HMP Wandsworth around the time of William Joyce's execution

At about the same time as the hangman pulled his deadly lever a group of smartly dressed men in winter coats stepped away from the main crowd outside the gates of the prison and behind some nearby bushes, almost surreptitiously, were seen to raise their right arms in the ‘Heil Hitler!’ salute.

At eight minutes past nine a prison officer came out and pinned an official announcement that the hanging of the traitor William Joyce had taken place. At 1pm the BBC Home Service reported the execution and read out the last, unrepentant pronouncement from the dead man;

In death, as in this life, I defy the Jews who caused this last war, and I defy the power of darkness which they represent. I warn the British people against the crushing imperialism of the Soviet Union. May Britain be great once again and in the hour of the greatest danger in the west may the Swastika be raised from the dust, crowned with the historic words ‘You have conquered nevertheless’. I am proud to die for my ideals; and I am sorry for the sons of Britain who have died without knowing why.

The official declaration of William Joyce's execution pinned on the gates of the prison

The official notice of execution being pinned on the gates of Wandsworth Prison

William Joyce had actually been born in Brooklyn, New York forty years previously to an English Protestant mother and an Irish Catholic father who had taken United States citizenship. A few years after the birth the family returned to Galway where William attended the Jesuit St Ignatius College from 1915 to 1921. William had always been precociously politically aware but both he and his father, rather unusually for Irish Catholics at the time, were both Unionists and openly supported British rule.

In fact Joyce later said that he had aided and ran with the infamous Black and Tans, the notoriously indisciplined and brutal British auxiliary force sent to Ireland after the First World War in an attempt to help put down Irish nationalism. Joyce actually became the target of an IRA assassination attempt in 1921 when he was just sixteen.

For his own safety William immediately left for England, and after a short stint in the British army (he was discharged when it was found he had lied about his age) he enrolled at Birkbeck College of the University of London where he gained a first but also developed an initial interest in Fascism.

In 1924, while stewarding a Conservative Party meeting at the Lambeth Baths in Battersea, a seventeen year old Joyce was attacked by an unprovoked gang in an adjacent alley-way and received a vicious and deep cut from a razor that sliced across his right cheek from behind the earlobe all the way to the corner of his mouth. After two weeks in hospital he was left with a terrible and disfiguring facial scar. Joyce was convinced that his attackers were ‘Jewish communists’ and the incident became a massive influence on the rest of his life.

The bandage was covering twenty six stiches, he remained in hospital for two weeks

In 1932 Joyce joined Oswald Mosley’s British Union of Fascists and within a couple of years he was promoted to the BUF’s director of propaganda and not long after appointed deputy leader. Joyce was a gifted speaker and for a while became the star of the British fascist movement. He was instrumental in moving the union towards overt anti-semitism – something of which Mosley had always been relatively uncomfortable.

Joyce’s career with the British Union of Fascists only lasted five years when, with membership plummeting, a devastated Joyce was sacked from his paid position in the party by Mosley in 1937.

William Joyce, on the far left, with Oswald Mosley in 1934

In late August 1939, shortly before war was declared and probably tipped off by a friend in MI5 that he was about to be arrested, Joyce and his wife Margaret fled to Germany. Joyce struggled to find employment until he met fellow former-Mosleyite Dorothy Eckersley who got him recruited immediately for radio announcements and script writing at German radio’s English service in Berlin.

Crucially this was at a time when his British passport was still valid (although born in New York and brought up in Ireland Joyce had lied about his nationality to obtain a British passport – complications and niceties such as proving one’s identity with a birth certificate weren’t needed at the time) ostensibly to accompany Mosley abroad in 1935.

Dorothy Eckersley

The infamous nickname of ‘Lord Haw Haw’, associated with William Joyce to this day, was coined by a Daily Express journalist called Jonah Barrington. It’s not widely known but the title was actually meant for someone else completely – almost certainly a man called Norman Baillie-Stewart who had been broadcasting in Germany from just before the war. The nickname referenced Baillie-Stewart’s exaggeratedly aristocratic way of speaking. Barrington had written:

A gent I’d like to meet is moaning periodically from Zeesen [the site in Germany of the English transmitter]. He speaks English of the haw-haw, dammit-get-out-of-my-way variety, and his strong suit is gentlemanly indignation.

Norman Baillie-Stewart - the real Lord Haw Haw

Baillie-Stewart had already been convicted as a traitor by the United Kingdom for selling military secrets to Germany in the early thirties. He had the dubious distinction of being the last person in a long line of infamous people to have been imprisoned in the Tower of London for treason.

Late in 1939 when William Joyce had become the more prominent of the Nazi propaganda broadcasters, although at the time no one knew who he was, Barrington swapped the title over to Joyce.

Listening to Lord Haw Haw’s broadcasts (which famously always began with the words “Germany Calling, Germany Calling”) was officially discouraged, although incredibly about 60% of the population tuned in after the BBC news every night. The BBC’s output at the beginning of the war was said to have been exceedingly dreary (plus ca change) and the British public seemed to prefer being shocked rather than bored.

Lord Haw Haw’s over-the-top and sneering attacks on the British establishment were really enjoyed, but in an era of state censorship and restricted information, there was also a desire by listeners to hear what the other side was saying. At the start of the war, simply because there was more to brag about, the German news reports were considered, by some people, to contain slightly more truth than those of the BBC.

William and Margaret Joyce in Germany

As the tide turned in the latter stages of the war Joyce and his wife moved to Hamburg. On the 22nd April 1945 he wrote in his diary:

Has it all been worthwhile? I think not. National Socialism is a fine cause, but most of the Germans, not all, are bloody fools.

Eight days later, and on the very day that Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun committed suicide in their Berlin Bunker, Joyce made his last drunken broadcast – the remains of his Irish accent can be heard through his slurring voice.

The actual microphone and a script used by Joyce for his German broadcasts

At the end of the war William and his wife Margaret fled to a town called Flensburg near the German/Denmark border and it was there, in a nearby wood, that Joyce was captured by two soldiers. They, like Joyce, were out looking for firewood. Joyce stopped to say hello and one of the soldiers asked “You wouldn’t by any chance be William Joyce, would you?”. To ‘prove’ otherwise, Joyce reached for his false passport and one of the soldiers, thinking he was reaching for a gun, shot him through the buttocks, leaving four wounds.

The arrest was utter poetic justice. The soldier who had shot the infamous broadcaster was called Geoffrey Perry, however, he had been born into a German jewish family as Hourst Pinschewer and had only arrived in England to escape from Hitler’s persecutions. So in the end a German Jew, who had become English had arrested an Irish/American who pretended to be English but had become German.

The Woods near the German/Denmark border where Joyce was shot and arrested

Margaret Joyce at her arrest in 1945

A well-guarded William Joyce after his arrest in Germany 1945

Back in London, he was charged at Bow Street Magistrates court and in the dock he quietly stated “I have heard the charge and take cognisance of it.” He was subsequently driven to Brixton Prison in a Black Maria and on arrival, he said “So this is Brixton.” “Yes,” retorted his guard, “not Belsen.”

The trial of William Joyce began on 17 september 1945 and for a short period of time, when his American nationality came to light, it seemed that he might be acquitted. “How could anyone be convicted of betraying a country that wasn’t his own?” It was argued. However, the Attorney General, Sir Hartley Shawcross, successfully argued that Joyce’s possession of a British passport (even if he had misrepresented himself to get it) entitled him to diplomatic protection in Germany and therefore he owed allegiance to the King at the time he started working for the Germans.

It was on this contrived technicality that Joyce was convicted of treason on 19th September 1945. The penalty of which, of course, was death.

Sir Hartley Shawcross, he later said that the trial of William Joyce was not one of which he was especially proud

A sizeable minority of the population were uncomfortable with the verdict mainly because of the nationality issue but also because he was alway seen as a bit of a joke-figure rather than someone trying to bring the country down. On Christmas day 1945 an accountant named Edgar Bray wrote to the King:

I know nothing about Joyce, and nothing about his Politics. I don’t know much about Law either, but I do know enough to be firmly convinced that we are proposing to hang Joyce for the crime of pretending to be an Englishman which crime, so far as I am aware, in no possible case carries a Capital penalty. It happens to be just our bad luck, that Joyce actually WAS an American, (and now IS a German subject), but that is no reason to hang him, because we are annoyed at our bad luck.

The historian AJP Taylor made the point that Joyce was essentially hanged for making a false statement on a passport – the usual penalty for which was a paltry fine of just two pounds.

Interior of Wandsworth Prison

A cell in Wandsworth Prison in the late 1940s

Albert Pierrepoint

Not long after Albert Pierrepoint’s expert execution and with the blood from Joyce’s scar, that had burst open during the hanging, still dripping onto a spreading red stain on the canvas floor, the body was taken to the prison mortuary. A coroner pronounced that the death was due to “injury to the brain and spinal cord, consequent upon judicial hanging”.

There were specific rules pertaining to the burial of executed prisoners at the time, and William Joyce’s body was treated as any other. True to the normal rules he was buried within the Wandsworth Prison walls, in an unmarked grave, and was allowed no mourners. The body was dumped in the middle of the night, literally unceremoniously, on top of the remains of another man, a murderer called Robert Blaine who had been hanged five days previously.

In total 135 people were hanged at Wandsworth Prison during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, with the final execution taking place when Henryk Niemasz was hanged on 8 September 1961 for murder of Mr and Mrs Buxton in Brixton.

Incidentally the gallows at Wandsworth were not dismantled until 1993, 29 years after the last execution in this country and 24 years after the death penalty was abolished for murder. Incidentally the death penalty still existed for treason until 1998.

The condemned cell is now used as a television room for prison officers.

Lord Haw Haw pontificating

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Germany Calling Germany Calling – Lord Haw-Haw broadcast on 27th February 1940
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67 Responses to “The Execution of Lord Haw Haw at Wandsworth Prison in 1946”

  1. Mike Taylor says:

    Another brilliant post. Many thanks.

  2. davyh says:

    Indeed. And what a tale…

  3. Conrad says:

    Great to see another tale from the best history blog on the interweb.
    I often think that the posts should be more frequent, but then I remember what goes into each one and wonder why they are so frequent.
    May Nickel go on and on.

  4. Anya says:

    Thought this might interest you – an interview with Joyce’s daughter, on what it was like to have Haw Haw for a father. I heard it on Radio 4 last year and it was pretty interesting.. http://www.bbc.co.uk/archive/hawhaw/8918.shtml

  5. Paul says:

    Thank you once again. Thoroughly enjoyed it. More please

  6. Tosh Berman says:

    Your blog is beyond incredible. London is your beat, and London s lucky to have you. Thanks for doing what you do so well.

  7. Great post, as usual. One small nit to pick, though, with this line: “Joyce’s cerebal cortex ripped apart between the second and third vertebrae.” The cerebral cortex forms the bulk of the brain, the “gray matter,” and is contained in the skull. It’s the spinal cord that runs through the vertebrae and which was likely severed in this case.

    Interesting, too, to read an account of a British execution, which differs from American ones in so many ways.

  8. nickelinthemachine says:

    Thanks Benjamin, my lack of medical knowledge comes shining through! I’ve altered the relevant bit now. Cheers.

  9. J.D. King says:

    Shot in the arse!

    And hung!

    And tossed in an unmarked hole with a dead man!

  10. Alexandra says:

    What a wonderful story– straight out of a comic book. To imagine a villain actually was possessed of a scar like his… too good to be true!

  11. TheOldDear says:

    I can remember my parents talking about this man and the ‘Germany calling’ broadcasts. A relative could mimic his tone and inflections and was really quite good at it. My Dad went around following Edward Mosely and his brown Shirts – to cause as much disruption as he could.. any open air meeting was ‘fair game’ but it was when he disrupted meetings held in halls and places that he got arrested .. nearly always patted on the back and sent off but sometimes charged.

  12. emm says:

    This is a brilliant post! You put so much effort and research into your posts – you are brilliant!

  13. Tony says:

    Pukka…. absolutely pukka (and not just this post!). Your beat is certainly London

  14. Gary says:

    This is just such an amazing site.I grew up in London as did my father,his parents and their parents etc.As a young child i remember getting excited when i knew there was a family get-together looming on the horizon as this was the time when all the family history or old London tales would come out.
    As we were such a big and old family the stories went back quite far.Victorian,Edwardian,wartime London, Swinging 60′s,the gossip,the scandals it was serious stuff and i loved and soaked up every word.
    Some of your posts i remember hearing about,but usually with the sordid or gory bits missed out or sometimes whispered or mouthed so i shouldn’t hear!(obviously they were the bits i was most interested in)but thankfully most of your tales are new and fascinating!!
    To me this site is like having all those(unfortunately most now gone) family members around me again telling me tales.I look forward to your posts like i looked forward to those family get-together.
    Cheers and Keep up the good work.

  15. Rob says:

    I’m sure I remember watching a documentary in which they said that his body was exhumed years later and taken back to Ireland. Anyone else hear this?

  16. nickelinthemachine says:

    I actually have a few photos of his grave in Galway. I intend to put them up soon with a bit about the exhuming. It’s quite a packed graveyard with, strangely, quite a lot of space around Joyce’s. It seems no one wants to be buried too close to him.

  17. Mike Lock says:

    I think the death penalty should be brought back for crimes like, Murder, Paedophilia and Rape. Today we have an excellent proof of a crime through DNA tests, thus making it virtually impossible to execute an innocent person. Hanging need not these days be the method, all that is needed is a lethal injection as is done in the US, like I beleive in Florida.

  18. kauai says:

    really helped with my project thanks

  19. claire says:

    just found your site and i bloody love it! keep up the good work.

  20. My grandfather’s name was William Joyce, from the N.Y./ New Jersey (USA) area. He was Irish and Catholic. He came to S.C. on a hunting trip (probably early 1900′s). He and my grandmother met, eloped, had a daughter. She lived in New Jersey with him at his parents home, but his family being Catholic – NEVER considered them married – she was a common law wife. When she became pregant with my father, she returned back to S.C. to give birth. William visited her one last time before Dad was born and NEVER again. He simply deserted her. My family has NEVER been able to find out a single thing about this man except that he had other wives and children – never divorced grandmother. The Joyce’s in the N.Y./New Jersey USA area deny ever knowing anyone by that name. Another thing, he was in the US military at some time, but the records were destroyed in a fire. Grandmother kept all the newspaper clippings in a trunk about this William Joyce being a traitor and his execution. She loved him until she died. My father surely looked like him, so did my older brother. My family would LOVE to know if this is our grandfather! Any ideas?

  21. ekphrastic says:

    Being of advanced years I remember as a child my parents and grandparents sitting around our old Coster- Brand ? radio listening to Haw-Haw’s broadcasts. And I remember as you say, people wanted to listen, and to a certain extent thought him worth listening to. For the most part I believe, with his upmarket accent he was thought of more as a joke than a traitor. He seemed to be well informed as regards day to day life in England and frequently spoke of the damage caused by air raids. One of which I was lucky to survive when the ceiling of the cellar we were sheltering in started to collapse around us. But did he deserve to hang ? I’m not sure, I think he was more naive and misguided than malicious.

  22. DANIEL DOCHERTY says:

    WILLIAM JOYCE WAS A MAN WHO WAS LIGHT YEARS AHEAD OF HIS TIME WE NEED SOMEONE LIKE HIM TO TAKE CHARGE OF THIS COUNTRY TODAY.

  23. Kevin Mills says:

    What a find. Well researched and illustrated. This is my new favourite blog.

    Incidentally, I believe Joyce was first taken to The Royal Patriotic Building in Wandsworth, where my wife and I later – much later – held our wedding reception.

    Hang on, that might have been Rudolph Hess. As you were.

  24. Richard Byrne says:

    1. Kevin Mills may well be right. The Royal Patriotic is straight across the road from HMP Wandsworth, and was used as a clearing-house for suspected spies (mainly among refugees from mainland Europe). If identified as a spy, it was an easy matter to take a captive across the road.

    2. As for the Wandsworth gallows – I worked in Wandsworth in the 1980s, and it was generally known that one of the jobs of the prison engineers was to test the drop every six months.

    Nobody expected it ever to be used again – I suppose somebody just wanted to avoid the bureaucratic embarrassment of finding that it didn’t actually work any more.

  25. Wolstan Dixie says:

    Isn’t that a rather sophisticated microphone compared to the huge blocks suspended on springs that the BBC were using – it looks almost modern.

  26. John Page says:

    An excellent read and a truly fascinating blog – so glad Stephen Fry pointed us to your blog today.

  27. Mr Spib says:

    Fantastic story, i also have a lot of interest in ‘William Joyce’ & have been slowly collecting info on him.
    The whole episode was one big tragedy, especially for his family.
    I have to say, that i don’t think he should have been hung.
    You would probably have had to be around at the time to see why this was possible. ( people wanted retribution & understandably so )
    There were far worse people who did not receive any punishment for what they did in the name of national socialism.
    Thomas Haller Cooper, Walter Purdy , the list is quite large.
    Joyce was notorious, which did not help his cause in the popularity stakes, & he was caught earlier than some of the others mentioned.
    He knew what he was up to though, he adored Nazism, but the whole story of how he became that way inclined is very interesting indeed.
    I hate everything that came out of Nazism,but i think our legal system failed us as much as it failed Joyce. ( & is still capable of failure )
    They should have been made to go out to Germany and clear up the mess.
    I can’t forgive for what they did in the camps.
    Excellent article, perhaps you should do one on Private Theodore Schurch next.
    Keep up the good work.

  28. Why was Joyce hanged but not his wife and accomplaces Eckersley, Baillie-Stewart,etc this was just a stitch-up by the British Establishment. Also the photo of Margaret is taken with her German lover, not Joyce, Joyce never wore nazi uniform. Anthony Blunt was the real traitor and he got a Knighthood, not the gallows.

  29. rebecca dineen says:

    I recently found out that i am related to William Joyce. I am doing my leaving cert history project on him. This post is amazing and really helped fill in a few gaps.

  30. rebecca dineen says:

    Also, he got his broken nose when involved in a fight in boarding school in mayo or galway.

  31. Brian Roote says:

    Great story but please correct all the mis spellings of the MOSLEY name (there is no E)

  32. nickelinthemachine says:

    Done. Sorry. Not a bad speller normally. Thanks for pointing that out.

  33. Matt says:

    This RTE documentary on William Joyce is well worth a listen:

    http://www.rte.ie/radio1/doconone/hawhaw.html

  34. Myra Flintstone says:

    I wish there was a way to resurrect him so he could be hanged again.

  35. The Mighty Atom says:

    William Joyce never actually killed a single person. He was hanged for fleeing political persecution, and broadcasting his political ideals in a state at war with Britain.

    He got his scar when attacked by a group of cowardly Communists, who probably singled him out because he was so small – just look at the picture of him standing with his BUF comrades.

    Incidentally Joyce is not hated in Eire, nor should he be.

  36. Jon Hopwood says:

    Excellent piece!

  37. Nightrider says:

    Execution has been the subject of protest throughout history. It cannot be undone if it proves to be a mistake. In the USA, where I live, the bleeding heart liberals have protested how a condemned prisoner is executed but I personally think that, as long as it is done quickly, it should not matter. Dead is dead! How much mercy did the criminal show his victim? I do think that the death penalty should be reserved for certain crimes. Murder, rape, child molesting, Kidnapping with any violence. These are certain death penalty crimes, as is any act against our country, our Freedom, our Constitution or our troops. The Attempted or the completed act of terrorism in the country or to any of our citizens should be death to the criminal. Anyone making an attack on our Military, our Government, or our country as a form of treason or terrorism should be tried by military Tribunal and if found guilty, should be executed under authority of the tribunal.
    These same rules and laws could be applied to the courts of the UK. There is no reason why the police have to treat criminals with kid gloves. The rioters in your country should never have happened but the police should have met force with force. Those people who rioted had no right to do so and certainly had no right to loot stores and homes. We have begun to revert back to the stone age where it was standard to settle an argument with a club or a knife.
    Before anyone starts fussing about it, we have guns in this country and that fact keeps us a lot safer than a gun free country. I am wheelchair confined and am never more than arm’s reach from a gun. I make that fact well known in my neighborhood and also the fact I am a Veteran and know how to use my gun.

  38. Robert Aloo says:

    I don’t think if he ever officially requested and was granted citizenship the Brits should have strung him up, but I wouldn’t have minded the idea of him dangling in the US.

    End result is still the same. I guess if he was going to hang anyway it was better he had the best hangman in the business.

  39. my father knew him and said they twisted the law to get him, he was nevera traitor to Britian but to the jews who were pushing us into the war, my fathers legal practise was forbidden to use the law or help in any way, a sthe jews wanted this gtreat patriot to hang

  40. Bobby Fischer says:

    It was reported that the erection he had while hanging protruded some ten inches from his trousers, and also dripped blood and manly fluids upon the cold concrete floor, much to the excitement of Pierrepoint. He was killed on direct order of the King by reason of vengeance.

  41. hogorina says:

    A CRY IN THE WILDERNESS

    Since WW11 both ties between Red Russia and our elevated [ Americka ] have
    created an Gordian Knot far more prominent than Alexander the great in dealing with
    the identical ideal situation at Gordia- one whack with his sword ! Yes, this master at warfare conquered where ever he sat his boots down. The myth of the Gordian knot has gone by the wayside. However, this ancient melody of political net-casting has brought Red Russia and communised Americka into one-single fold, in spreading Bolshevism towards a universal grip of Grand Oriental fundamentalism. It is outright laughter to turn up any gifted orator
    to step forward to warn both [states ] of the universal implementation, well
    lain years in advance, to bring productive mankind into the arms of international socialism.

  42. cheryl and willie says:

    willie loved this peice,as he listened to lord haw haw on the radio.willie said lord haw haw used to live temp in castle douglas..he used to name people from castle douglas and names of the streets thete too,according mr wallace.he injoyed your peice,and it made a intresting conversation.mr wallace said people in area whete scared

  43. [...] unusually for Irish Catholics at the time, were both Unionists and openly supported British rule. The Execution of Lord Haw Haw at Wandsworth Prison in 1946 "What all the wise men promised has not happened and what all the damned fools said [...]

  44. Kerry says:

    I’m curious as to the fate of Margaret Joyce. There is only one photograph of her being arrested. What happened to her? Was she tried in the UK as well? Would be interested to know. Thank you.

  45. @araxia says:

    My father had a budgie called Carlo during WWII.

    Much to the amusement of visitors to our house in Glasgow, he successfully managed to get the bird to repeat: “Germany calling, Germany calling, this is Lord Haw Haw.”

    Joyce WAS treated as a joke during the war.

  46. john stewart says:

    What a great article bring back hanging for child abuse, rape, and murder of police

  47. Keiner says:

    A brilliant article about a man I first heard of when I was an older child in the early sixties.
    I saw a documentation on TV and didn’t understand why he was sentenced to death but others not.
    Now things are more clear.
    Thank you very much and most commentators too.
    I‘m living in Hamburg.

  48. Norman Goodman says:

    I beleive that Joyce was the last traitor to go through traitors gate in the tower of london before it was bricked up can someone confirm this please

  49. roger reid says:

    Excellent article.

    Our family, living on Merseyside, were bombed out three times during the blitz and, as noted by other posters, Lord Haw Haw’s contributions were much appreciated by the general population. To be told – usually accurately due to the efforts of fifth-columnists – of events across the country added to, rather than depressed, the national spirit.

    I recall only two stories (1) a detailed expose of a bank manager’s “decadence” at a local tennis club dinner/dance – a very funny, albeit embarrassing, story actually, and (2) his typical sneering that “Last night HMS Forward was torpedoed in The Channel and sunk with loss of all hands.” His spies had misled him; HMS Forward was an underground bunker buried into The South Downs at Newhaven acting as a Western Command centre.

    Does anyone know how any of his recordings can be heard? (Apart from the lengthy out-of-character one and the miniscule intro that are attached to this article.) They would be a fascinating insight into life on The Home Front; both in terms of the harsh realities and the humour that he unintentionally provided.

  50. steve says:

    Interesting, apart from the ‘poetic judgement’ judgement. I failed to see the point of your bias.

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