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THE MARTYRDOM OF WILLIAM JOYCE
By Michael Walsh
It was a bitterly cold morning on January 3rd 1946. In a small chapel in Galway, Ireland, mass was
being said for an American citizen about to be hanged in England's grim Wandsworth Prison. The
condemned prisoner was still writing his farewell notes as the liturgy began (...)
The Consecretion of this mass with others was timed to coincide with the young American's departing
soul at 9:00 am. The baying mob, given a spurious legitimacy by England's judiciary, had dragged the
infamous gallows of Tyburn into the 20th Century. And so the soul of William Joyce, who had fought
so tenaciously for the racial security and Christian integrity of Europe, was separated from his mortal
A FAMILY TREE TO BE PROUD OF
Born on the morning of 24th April 1906 at 1377 Herkimer Street in New York, the intellectually gifted
William Joyce had a family tree to be proud of. Theirs was a family whose merits had given an entire
region of Galway their name, "Joyce's Country".
Their roots traced back to William the Conqueror's colonisation of medieval England and the later
crusades. Among Joyce's descendents were three archbishops, three founders of the Dominican
College at Louvain, several mayors of Galway, an historian, a nineteenth century poet‑physician, an
American revivalist preacher, and the noted author and poet James Joyce.
William's father, Michael Joyce, as a twenty‑year old British citizen (Ireland was then ruled from
Westminster) had emigrated to the United States in 1888. Four years later he renounced his British
citizenship and became an American citizen. He was very successful in his trade and returned to
Ireland in 1909 to live in comfort.
"SORRY, YOU ARE NOT BRITISH"
Fiercely loyal to the Crown and proudly pro‑British, the Galway County Inspector of Police was
unstinting in his praise of Michael Joyce who now, through lapse, considered he was again a British
Not so, the Chief Constable of Lancashire informed him. He and his wife Gertrude were formally
cautioned against the provisions of the Aliens Restriction Order (8th July 1917). Michael and his wife
were now in no doubt as to theirs and their sons' nationality. They were citizens of the United States
At the conclusion of the Anglo‑Irish Treaty (8th December 1921) when the twenty‑six counties of Eire
gained independence, Michael Joyce, no doubt due to his anti‑Republican sympathies, removed
himself to England to dedicate himself to King and Empire. William was then fifteen.
There was never any doubt as to his son's similar loyalty to the Crown, an excess of which caused
him to lie about his age when enrolling in the Regular Army at sixteen. He was ejected after four
months' service when his true age was revealed.
The young Joyce joined the Officer Training Corps. It was through the OTC college system that the
dedicated and highly cerebral student acquired BAs in Latin, French, English and History. Later on, in
1927 he obtained First Class Honours in English. In terms of his academic brilliance William Joyce's
achievements have never been bettered.
His close friend, John Angus MacNab described how Joyce could quote Virgil and Horace
freely. Besides being able to speak German, he spoke French fairly well, and some Italian. He was not
only gifted in mathematics but had a flair for teaching it. He was also widely read in history,
philosophy, theology, psychology, theoretical physics and chemistry, economics, law, medicine,
anatomy and physiology. He played the piano by ear.
This was a period of international upheaval and uncertainty. The "Russian" Revolution and bitter civil
war were now over. Events had delivered that great nation to the tyranny of international Jewish
revolutionaries. Bankers such as New York‑based Kuhn, Loeb and co., who shared their ilk and
presumably the ensuing opportunity for profit, had financed these revolutionaries.
Europe was horrified at what appeared to be the relentless flames of revolution licking at their own
shores. Winston Churchill was on record as saying:
"It may well be that this same astounding (Jewish) race may at the present time be in the actual
process of providing another system of morals and philosophy, as malevolent as Christianity was
benevolent, which if not arrested, would shatter irretrievably all that Christianity has rendered possible
... at last this band of extraordinary personalities from the underworld of the great cities of Europe and
America have gripped the Russian people by the hair of their heads and have become practically the
undisputed masters of that enormous empire".
SLASHED FROM MOUTH TO EAR
Against this background the young William Joyce on 6th December 1923 joined Miss Linton‑Orman's
British Fascisti Limited; an organisation set up to counter red revolutionary activity. Joyce was soon
to come face to face (literally) with red revolutionaries. During an election meeting a Communist thug
leaped on the eighteen‑year old activist's back and with an open razor slashed him from mouth to ear.
It was a scar that Joyce carried with him to gallows.
During this period of international upheaval, membership of a Fascist organisation and the defence of
the British Empire were one and the same thing. Indeed it was so in Germany, Italy and many other
European nations then battling against the Communist struggle for world domination. The political
event, which Joyce was defending when attacked, was an election meeting for the Unionist
Parliamentary candidate, Jack Lazarus.
In 1933, the Financial Times brought out a special eight‑page supplement under the caption "The
Renaissance of Italy: Fascism's Gift of Order and Progress." As late as 11th November 1938 Winston
Churchill opined: "Of Italian Fascism, Italy has shown that there is a way of fighting the subversive
forces which can rally the masses of the people, properly led, to value and wish to defend the honour
and stability of civilised society. Hereafter no great nation will be unprovided with an ultimate means of
protection against the cancerous growth of Bolshevism."
Only later would the defeated British Empire genuflect to the triumphant airs of "The Internationale".
William Joyce, reluctant to commit himself to existing anti‑communist organizations, eventually opted
for Oswald Mosley's newly formed British Union of Fascists. He remained sceptical, however, of Sir.
Benito Mussolini. His scepticism was due to the Italian leader's apparent lack of concern at the threat
posed by organised world Jewry. On the other hand he had the greatest admiration for Germany's
recently elected leader, Adolf Hitler.
THE FORBIDDEN PASSPORT
Fired by the prospect of accompanying BUF leader Oswald Mosley to Germany with the possible
opportunity of meeting the Fuhrer, the young Joyce was to unwittingly sign his own death warrant.
Realizing that as an American citizen it would be impossible to obtain a British passport, he lied
about his place of birth to obtain the document. Obviously such a document is invalid but Britain's
judiciary would later be happy to make an exception to the rule if it would provide opportunity for a
legalized hanging. Ironically the proposed trip to Germany never did take place.
An excellent speaker, William Joyce often deputized for Oswald Mosley. He regularly addressed
large audiences, including a major Fascist rally in Liverpool on the 26th November 1933 attended by
an estimated 10,000 Fascists. Of him AK Chesterton wrote: "William Joyce, brilliant writer, speaker,
and exponent of policy, has addressed hundreds of meetings, always at his best, always revealing the
iron spirit of Fascism in his refusal to be intimidated by violent opposition."
John Beckett, the former Labour Member of Parliament, on attending a meeting addressed by Joyce
said: "Within ten minutes of this twenty‑eight year old youngster taking the platform, I knew that here
was one of the dozen finest orators in the country."
"A SPEECH TERRIFYING IN ITS DYNAMIC FORCE"
Cecil Roberts, who heard Joyce at a political dinner in London's Park Lane Hotel, described the event
years later: "Thin, pale, intense, he had not been speaking many minutes before we were electrified by
this man. I have been a connoisseur of speech‑making for a quarter of a century, but never before, in
any country, had I met a personality so terrifying in its dynamic force, so vituperative, so vitriolic."
During this period Oswald Mosley was speaking at the largest political rallies ever held in Britain. "We
know that England is crying for a leader," William Joyce told a Brighton audience in 1934, "and that
leader has emerged in the person of the greatest Englishman I have ever known, Sir Oswald Mosley."
Joyce's political sympathies, however, were unambiguously in favour of National Socialism, and by
1936 he had coined the slogan: "If you love your country you are a National. If you love her
people you are a Socialist. Therefore, be a National Socialist".
He was equally uncompromising on the Jewish question. Then as now (Lord Levy's donation to
Labour Party funds!) it was usual for Jewish financial interests to buy a country by buying the party in
power. In the summer of 1934 the British Union of Fascists was offered £300,000 by a Jewish
businessman prominent in the tobacco trade. It was sufficient to finance the BUF for two years.
Without consulting his party's leader, Joyce rejected the offer "with an impolite message."
WORKING CLASS HERO
Joyce, if nothing else, was an indomitable champion of the working class for whom all his efforts were
directed. It was hardly surprising that he was as consistently scathing of Jewish capitalists and
communists; not to mention the decadent English bootlickers who he described as "the parasites of
Joyce, by then divorced, knew one other great passion, his love for fellow party worker, Margaret
Cairns White. Upon the announcement of their engagement, a mutual friend of them both said to her:
"Well, I do hope you will be happy, but it may be uncomfortable being married to a genius. And
William is a genius, you know!"
By 1937 the English establishment's enthusiasm for Fascism had waned. The Fleet Street‑based
propaganda machine, backed by Jewish interests, was in its ascendancy. The success of National
Socialist Germany and Italian Fascism, rather than being seen as a template for European solidarity
and revival, was now seen as a threat to British interests, the establishment and its aristocracy.
(T)here were more readers of Fleet Street's poisonous press than there were readers of the British
Union of Fascists' tabloid, The Fascist. The BBC, then as now, had always leaned towards Marxism.
Riding on the back of organized anti‑Fascist propaganda and red violence, the government banned the
wearing of political uniforms and torchlight processions. Their further tightening up of The Public Order
Act hit ‑ as intended ‑ the Fascist movement hard.
BRITAIN BECOMES A DICTATORSHIP
As the police turned a Nelson's eye to red riots, the owners of public halls, most of them Labour
authority controlled, denied venues to the Fascists. Their presses were seized and their members
intimidated and harassed.
The war clouds were now looming, and the British Fascists last chance to form (a) peaceful alliance
with burgeoning racial‑nationalism in Europe was fading fast. There would be no more elections until
1945. (Britain in essence was an elected dictatorship from 1937 to 1940, a parliamentary dictatorship
from 1940 to 1945).
On the retreat and burdened with unsustainable overheads the BUF staff was reduced by 80%.
Within a month of his wedding to his Maria Callas look‑alike bride, William Joyce was unemployed.
His enforced redundancy owed much to his disenchantment with Mosley who he now privately referred
to as "the bleeder". William Joyce was intolerant of weakness exemplified by Mosley's concessions to
the then Government.
THE NATIONAL SOCIALIST LEAGUE
Subsequently William Joyce, John Beckett and John Angus MacNab set up the National Socialist
League, which was dismissive of copying the German structure. This Joyce considered to be an insult
to the German Leader who disdained imitation. "His way is for Germany, ours is for Britain; let us
tread our paths with mutual respect, which is rarely increased by borrowing.
"Nationalism stands for the nation and Socialism for the people. Unless the people are identical with
the nation, all politics and all statecraft are a waste of time.
A people without a nation are a helpless flock.. a nation without people is an abstract nothing or a
By studying these words carefully, one can perceive why Britons today, deprived of their nationhood
through open‑door immigration and foreign ownership, have become a flock without a shepherd and in
many respects, especially abroad, a perpetual nuisance.
By now the war clouds were darkening, leaving Joyce on the horns of a dilemma. He could not
support a war arranged by corrupt politicians acting on behalf of international finance. Yet evasion of
National Service was unthinkable. (...) William Joyce and his wife Margaret were already marked
down for arrest and detention for the duration of the coming war. In fact, people were sentenced to long
terms in prison merely for peaceful activities aimed at stopping England's war against Germany.
One such was Anna Wolkoff, the daughter of an admiral in the Russian Imperial Navy. On November
7th 1940 Judge Justice Tucker sentenced her to ten years imprisonment. Coincidentally' the same
judge four years later would try William Joyce at the Old Bailey. At the Wolkoff trial he described the
absent William Joyce as a traitor; a well publicized remark that should have eliminated him from
presiding over the fugitive's later trial.
William Joyce's plan was to renew his false passport and that of Margaret. Their intention was to go
to Ireland, which would resolve their dilemma. However the Munich Agreement made their departure
unnecessary and the couple went instead to Ryde on the Isle of Wight where Joyce experienced a
spiritual visitation, the impact of which kept him awake and talking all night.
What followed was a period of much soul‑searching. Events forced the young couple to decide on
Berlin as being the best option to escape an English gaol. Angus MacNab had already established
that both Joyce and his wife would be granted German citizenship if they chose to resettle in
Time was fast running out. The House of Commons was being recalled the following Thursday to pass
all stages of the Emergency Powers (Defence) Act. This would effectively turn the British Government
into a dictatorship.
Joyce was under no illusions. He and tens of thousands of others who had pursued peace with
Germany would be summarily arrested and detained indefinitely without trial. He applied for the
renewal of their passports. As National Socialists working for peace between the two nations, there
was now only one country where the Joyces presumed they would not be imprisoned. Germany. It
was an argument strongly favoured by Margaret.
"GET OUT OF ENGLAND... NOW!"
At about midnight on August 24th the couple's telephone rang. It was a call from an MI5 Intelligence
officer warning Joyce that he was due to be arrested under the Emergency Powers (Defence) Act. He
had at most two days to make good their escape. On 26th August 1939, five days before Germany
retaliated against repeated Polish attacks on her borders, William and Margaret Joyce left London.
Arriving in Berlin they found the city seething with defensive preparations. There the English visitors
found that Christian Bauer, their contact and ticket to a new life, had exaggerated his influence and
could offer little by way of assistance. In the confusion of events there was even the possibility they
might be interned, should Britain declare war on Germany.
Disconsolate and footsore, the pair tramped the streets of the German capital, coming up against one
obstacle after another. Finally, without work and running short of money, they decided in unison to
return to England. Yet again fate was against them.
William had changed all of his money into Deutsch marks, a currency that was now invalid for
journeys beyond Germany's borders. British Embassy staff were unhelpful. At Margaret's suggestion,
the couple fatefully decided to stay in Berlin; a decision reinforced when next day Joyce landed a job
as a part time freelance interpreter.
During the night of August 31st, 1939 Poland ‑ which six months earlier had invaded Czechoslovakia
and which already controversially occupied German territory looted after the 1st World War ‑ crossed
the German border. It was a little after midnight when radio broadcasts were interrupted by an
announcement that the small German border town of Gleiwitz had been attacked and occupied by
Polish irregular formations. Within hours Germany retaliated.
ENGLAND GETS THEIR WAR
Two days later a delegate of the Labour Party met with the British Foreign Minister Lord Halifax. "Do
you still have hope?" he was asked. "If you mean hope for war," answered Halifax, "then your hope will
be fulfilled tomorrow." "God be thanked!" replied the representative of the British Labour Party.
In Germany the mood was less jubilant. The shocked population listened to their country's leader,
Adolf Hitler, as he addressed the Reichstag on September 1st:
"Just as there have occurred, recently, twenty‑one border incidents in a single night, there were
fourteen this night, among which three were very serious... Since dawn today we are shooting back. I
desire nothing other than to be the first soldier of the German Reich. I have again put on that old
coat, which was the most sacred and dear to me of all. I will not take it off until victory is ours or ‑ I
shall not live to see the end. There is one word that I have never learned: capitulation."
Back in London the police were raiding the Joyce's apartment to find the tipped‑off couple had already
gone. Though free in Germany, they felt lonely, helpless and homesick. They had no ration cards;
William's meager earnings reduced them to living on acts of charity. Every job opportunity turned out
to be a disappointment, a vague promise and nothing more. Reduced to destitution he was finally
asked: "Have you ever thought of working for the radio?" Joyce replied that he had not and moments
later an interview was being arranged.
THE RELUCTANT BROADCASTER
Though desperate for competent English speakers, the Reichsrundfunks Foreign Service was not
impressed with Joyce's performance ‑ he was suffering a heavy cold that week ‑ but reluctantly
provided employment to the equally reluctant Joyce. Faced with possible internment or certain
destitution, he had little choice but to accept the post offered.
The rest is history.
Joyce spent the rest of England's war providing English‑speaking listeners with the German point of
view on the conflict's unfolding events. He was one of many various nationalities carrying out the same
task. The same could be said for the internationally‑recruited staff serving the British Government
through the BBC at London's Bush House.
William Joyce was never the "Lord Haw‑Haw" of Fleet Street mythology. He was given this
nom‑de‑plume by Daily Express journalist, Jonah Barrington, who had mistaken Joyce's broadcast for
that of Norman Baillie‑Stewart, a Seaforth Highland Regiment veteran who, like many others, had
decided to fight for the triumph of European interests rather than Capitalism and international Jewry.
Much of the comment made about Joyce's broadcasts is similarly myth. His biographer, J.A Cole
conceded that: "To this day he is quoted as having made statements he never uttered. Most of what
people think they know of him is false and not fact ...an extraordinary viciousness has characterized
much of the writing about him, but what was written in anger (about Joyce) now looks spiteful and even
Claims that Joyce sneeringly provided accurate predictions that certain areas or buildings had been
chosen for air strikes were also wide of the mark. The Government's Ministry of Information, having
already refuted claims that Germany had detailed topical knowledge, felt the need to issue a further
statement: "It cannot be too often repeated that Haw‑Haw made no such threats."
Joyce's biographer concluded by remarking: "And the legend lives on to this day. Mention Haw‑Haw in
any gathering and out come the stories of what people heard, as they will insist, with their own
ears. Joyce was a man who is remembered ‑ for what he did not say."
William L. Shirer, the author of the notable distortion, "Rise and Fall of the Third Reich'" who worked
in Berlin with Joyce, described him as "No.1 personality of World War 2" (and) "...an amusing and
What is beyond question is that Joyce's broadcasts, with the benefit of hindsight, seem compellingly
accurate. In the first radio talk definitely established as William Joyce's the expatriate spoke of
Britain's position in the war.
ENGLAND, "FIGHTING TO THE LAST FRENCHMAN . . ."
In this broadcast, Joyce commented on the hypocrisy of England's government "fighting to the last
Frenchman (Pole, Belgian, Norwegian... making promises it couldn't keep." Ironically, the
(explanations) as Joyce presented them are more in accordance with the facts than those presented
by the subsequent British explanation of events.
England's pact with Poland, its reason for declaring war on Germany, was later found to be illegal.
Furthermore the British government's promise of direct aid to Poland, 9,500 planes for instance, came
to nothing ‑ as did other promises. (Likewise promises made to Norway ‑ whose neutrality was to be
desecrated by British invasion.)
By now the German government had documents setting out the most fulsome English promises of
assistance to Holland and Belgium if their territories could be used to launch attacks on Germany.
These promises were subsequently found to be similarly false.
Joyce spoke passionately of the French British Expeditionary Force's "Dunkirk debacle": "What was
England's contribution? An expeditionary force which carried out a glorious retreat, leaving all its
equipment and arms behind, a force whose survivors arrived back in England, as the Times admitted,
"Whatever excuses may be found for their plight, the men who made the war were reduced to boasting
of a precipitous and disastrous retreat as the most glorious achievement in history. Such a claim
could only besmirch the proud regimental standards inscribed with the real victories of two
centuries. What the politicians regarded, or professed to regard, as a triumph, the soldiers regarded as
a bloody defeat from which they were extremely fortunate enough to survive."
"DROPPING BOMBS ON FIELDS AND GRAVEYARDS"
"The next test of Britain's might was the Battle of France. All the professions of brotherly love and
platonic adoration which Churchill had poured forth to the French politicians resolved themselves into
ten divisions, as compared with eighty five divisions which had been in France at the height of her
struggle in the last war.
As the world knows, the effect was nil, and when Reynaud telegraphed madlynight and day for aircraft
he was granted nothing but evasive replies. The glorious RAF was too busy dropping bombs on fields
and graveyards in Germany to have any time available for France. But after the final drama of
Compiegne and the defeat and the utter collapse of the French, the heroic might of the British lion
suddenly showed itself at Oran."
"That inspired military genius, Winston Churchill, discovered that it was easier to bomb French ships,
especially when they were not under steam, than to save the Weygand line. If it was so hard to kill
Germans, why not, he reasoned, demonstrate Britain's might by killing Frenchmen instead? They were
beaten and would be less likely to resent it."
Joyce in this first broadcast went on to scorn Churchill's "cowardly" response to Germany's success
in fighting back.
"Churchill, the genius, has his answer ready. What is it? First, Germany's ambulance planes are to
be attacked wherever seen. They can easily be identified by the Red Cross that they bear, and they
are unarmed, so the great brain conceives another possibility of victory. The fact that these planes
have saved many British lives weighs as nothing in comparison with the triumph that can be achieved
by shooting them down."
ENGLAND'S BOMBING CAMPAIGN "ILLEGAL AND COWARDLY"
"The second part of the answer is to be found in the instructions issued to British bombers flying over
Germany. In reply to the charge that these machines were dropping bombs on entirely non‑military
places, Mr. Churchill, with another flash of genius, replies, "Of course. The planes have to fly so high
that the targets cannot be distinguished!" ...Otherwise, the Germans would shoot them down. In
consequence of this instruction, harmless civilians have been murdered at Hanover and in other towns.
"The British Prime Minister has abandoned all pretence that these bombing operations have military
objectives. The principle is, 'Drop the bombs wherever you can, without being seen, and what they hit,
"It is unnecessary to say that a terrible retribution will come to the people who tolerate as their Prime
Minister the cowardly murderer who issues these instructions. Sufficient warnings have already been
J.M Spaight, CB. CBE. Principal Secretary to the Air Ministry afterwards admitted Churchill's role in
flouting international law by bombing civilians. "Hitler only undertook the bombing of British civilian
targets reluctantly three months after the RAF had commenced bombing German civilian
targets. Hitler would have been willing at any time to stop the slaughter. Hitler was genuinely anxious
to reach with Britain an agreement confining the action of aircraft to battle zones."
In a later broadcast on the 4th January 1944 the thirty‑seven year old William Joyce asked: "How can
the ordinary British soldier or sailor understand why he should be expected to die in 1939 or 1940 or
1941 to restore an independent Poland on the old scale, whilst today he must die in order that the
Soviets rule Europe? Surely it must occur to him that he is the victim of false pretences?"
BRITONS DYING FOR STALIN AND ROOSEVELT
Speaking on the 17th April 1944, Joyce said: "There are today hundreds of thousands of British
soldiers who will cease to live during the attempt to invade Western Europe. They are prepared to
sacrifice their lives, but for what? For their country? Demonstrably not! Britain has only the stark
prospect of poverty before her.
For the rights of small nations?
Certainly not. What British politician wants to hear of Poland today? For what, then, are these men
to die? They are to die for the Jewish policy of Stalin and Roosevelt. If there is any other purpose to
their sacrifice, I challenge Mr. Churchill to tell them what it is."
Perhaps it was the accuracy of Joyce's analysis of events that would later place his head in the
vengeful British noose.
EXTRACTS : VIEWS ON THE NEWS ‑ JOYCE'S LAST BROADCAST. HAMBURG, 30th
(Note ‑ first few words missed) " ...that the German resistance continues despite the successes
which the Allies have gained during the past few days. Germany is sorely wounded but her spirit is not
broken. Her people are conscious of their duty and of their nation. In this hour of supreme trial, they
seem to understand the European position with a clarity which is, unfortunately, denied to the people
of Britain, and they realize that the great alternative lies between civilization and Bolshevisation.
"That is the dominant truth, in comparison with which other considerations have to take second rank
or such lesser place as they merit.
"How modest, how harmless does Germany's request for the return of Danzig seem in contrast to the
immense acquisitions of the Soviet Union and the further ambitions of the Kremlin.
"Stalin is not content with Poland, Finland, and the Baltic States, Rumania, Bulgaria, Hungary, and
Eastern Slovakia. He wants the whole of Central Europe, with Norway, Turkey and Persia thrown in.
And if these territories fall to him, the lust for aggrandizement will only be stimulated further. He sees
now the Bolshevik dream of a world proletarian revolution changing into a substantial prospect of
bachelor (?) politics.
"Such is the attitude of the Red Dictator who menaces the security of the whole world, and whose
power today constitutes the greatest threat to peace that has existed in modern times.
"Britain's victories are barren; they leave her poor; and they leave her people hungry; they leave her
bereft of the markets and the wealth that she possessed six years ago. But above all, they leave her
with an immensely greater problem than she had then. We are nearing the end of one phase of
Europe's history, but the next will be no happier. It will be grimmer, harder, and perhaps bloodier. And
now I ask you earnestly, can Britain survive? I am profoundly convinced that without German help she
(Editor's note. Ironically the major talking point in England today is how it is being dragged into
Europe and is increasingly subordinate to Germany ‑ on Germany's terms).
Part of the blackening of Joyce's character is the claim that his speeches were universally ridiculed.
In fact, his broadcasts were widely listened to in Britain and far from everyone found them as laughable
as was claimed by the newspapers of the time.
His biographer, J.A Cole describes an event at which two visitors were having afternoon tea with David
DAVID LLOYD GEORGE IMPRESSED BY JOYCE
The statesman interrupted the conversation to switch on the radio so that the Hamburg service could
be listened to. The former prime minister listened attentively, and once he remarked: "The
Government ought to take notice of every word this man says."
Life magazine accorded Germany the lead in the radio war. The influential American magazine
calculated, probably correctly, that 50% of the English listened to Joyce's broadcasts from Hamburg.
The BBC disagreed, but it would.
The manager of the East Riding Radio Relay Service complained, "We are inundated with requests for
Lord Haw‑Haw broadcasts which we are not allowed to give."
As the war drew to a close, several attempts were made to save Joyce and his wife from English
vengeance, but they came to naught. Dr. Joseph Goebbels, before his death, enquired whether a
submarine could be used to take the fugitives to Galway in neutral Ireland. Though not dismissed out
of hand it was impractical and the idea was not pursued. A further plan to allow escape to Sweden
was blocked by the Swedes, but at that late stage an escape was unlikely to succeed anyway.
Denmark was in a state of near chaos and Communist bands roamed, a law unto themselves.
In fact Joyce was not inclined to either run or to take his own life, preferring to allow fate to deal with
him as it might. The couple ended their days in defeated Germany much as they had begun; as
wandering victims of events. (...)
THERE IS A GREEN HILL FAR AWAY
The beginning of the end came on Monday morning on May 28th. Joyce had climbed to his favourite
spot, the crest of the hill overlooking Flensberg's beautiful harbour. There, to use his own words, he
seemed to have "fallen into a trance‑like state and with the utmost earnestness (I) prayed for help and
guidance." Later, realising that his wife would be searching for him, Joyce took one final look at his
beloved harbour below before turning to search for her.
Following the path down the hill, the former broadcaster encountered two British army officers
gathering wood. Perhaps realising that silence would be regarded as suspicious, Joyce speaking in
French to the servicemen said, "here are a few more good pieces."
Whatever aroused their suspicion we may never know. Captain Alexander Adrian Lickorish of the
Reconnaissance Regiment, and Lieutenant Perry, an interpreter, followed and overtook the limping
"You wouldn't happen to be William Joyce, would you?" Perry asked. The conditioned response for
anyone so challenged was to do as Joyce did. Reaching into his pocket he fingered the official
document that would disprove the officer's suspicion.
Before he could present it, Perry drew and fired his revolver. It was never felt necessary to explain why
such a standard response to a simple request should have resulted in Joyce being shot down. The
bullet entered Joyce's right thigh and then through his left leg, causing four wounds. As he fell to the
ground he cried: "My name is Fritz Hansen."
The grim irony is that the "officer" who shot Joyce, Lieutenant Perry, was no Englishman, nor was he
a soldier. Perry was not his real name; the Lieutenant was an armed German‑Jew serving with the
The wounded fugitive was handed over to the guard commander at the frontier post where his true
identity was revealed.
During the ensuing raid on the couple's lodgings, a lieutenant and a party of ten infantrymen, two Bren
gun carriers and a lorry, arrested his wife, Margaret. "Your husband has been arrested," he snapped,
adding that he was to arrest everyone in the house, including the children.
"WOUNDED MEN ARE NOT PEEP SHOWS"
Held at the frontier post for several hours, a door was eventually flung open and the sight of soldiers
confronted Margaret as they emerged, carrying her husband on a stretcher. He looked pale, his face
sunken. As the party passed, he looked up and waved. "Erin gro braa!" ("Ireland forever!") she called
out to him.
Her claim that the occupants of their lodgings had not known their true identity brought the group's
release. On returning to their home, the family discovered that it had been ransacked by the troops;
even their meagre food supply had been "liberated".
Joyce's arrest and subsequent imprisonment were treated as something of a freak show for the
entertainment of his captors. To one of his tormentors the wounded fugitive responded: "In civilized
countries wounded men are not peepshows." Newspaper hacks, unable to afford the slightest dignity
to the captured pair, referred to Margaret as "his alleged wife" or "the woman who claims to be his
THE MACABRE DEATH PROCESSION OF BRITISH JUSTICE
The macabre death procession of British justice, a parade of grim reapers garbed in the accoutrement
of state legislature, now began the long march to the gallows. The subsequent trial ran its murderous
course and few today question that it was a judicial lynching.
Joyce was not of course British and much of the rest of the proceedings were equally questionable.
Never from the moment of his arrest to his present predicament had Joyce ever denied his role, his
purpose or his belief in National Socialism. To the end he took the view that friendship with Germany
being in the best interests of the English people, he could not therefore be a traitor. On the contrary,
those who conspired with Jewish Bolshevism to subvert and overrun civilization were indeed the
In a letter to his friend, Miss Scrimgeour, he wrote: "One day, I hope, it will be recognized that,
whether or not I aided the King's enemies (and who made them enemies?) I was no enemy to Britain:
But I had no intention of offering any apology or excuse for my conduct, which history will surely
vindicate . . . As the days go by, it will become more and more obvious that the policy which I
defended was the right one.
PEERS THE REAL TRAITORS
Well aware that he was being hanged for opposing a war, which cost the British Army alone 350,000
dead, whilst England's bunker‑bound warmongers lined their pockets and gained their peerages
through war profiteering, Joyce ended his letter:
"I cannot quite restrain my contempt for those who would hang me for treason. Had I robbed the
public and impeded the war effort by profiteering on ammunitions, a peerage would now be within my
reach if I were willing to buy it."
In a later letter to the same recipient Joyce wrote: "You may be sure that the Jewish interests in this
country will make every conceivable effort to liquidate me."
Whatever the rituals of the court procedure, its day‑to‑day events were a parody, a judicial circus for
the mob who, inflamed by Fleet Street, wished nothing other than the gallows (for words he never
uttered). Joyce's fate had already been decided upon, despite the illegality of the charge laid against
Undeniably, he was an American citizen and therefore could not be subject to England's hastily
improvised Treason Act, 1945.
It must be said that Joyce's defence counsel under the circumstances acquitted themselves well.
Joyce recounted afterwards how in the cell below the court, he had discussed his prospects with his
They remarked in unison that they had both been threatened with assassination if the court found in
his favour. Counts1 and 2. were dismissed on the grounds that Joyce was undoubtedly an alien. The
crucial legal ruling as to whether he owed allegiance to the Crown had yet to come.
J.A Cole described how "the sparkling display of mental agility and legal erudition fascinated him
(Joyce) as lawyers argued over nationality matters of mind‑numbing complexity. Rumours swept the
streets and public ignorance in legal complexities caused a near riot when misinterpretation (the first
two charges, the assumption that he was British, being dropped) of findings suggested that the
hangman had been thwarted.
Joyce however was convinced that a state lynching was quite certain. He was under no illusions. He
was a spectator and a foil; he was lending his presence to the fabrication of the spurious legitimacy of
a show trial.
In the outcome Judge Justice Tucker decided that Joyce's passport, obtained fraudulently on 24th
August 1939 for the purpose of making his escape from England caused the defendant to owe
allegiance to the Crown. No doubt the same judge would have regarded an Irish Kerry Blue to be a
British bulldog had its owner falsified its Kennel Club papers!
In respect of the single remaining charge, a particular broadcast deemed to be (treasonous), there
was considerable doubt. The prosecution's case hung (if you will excuse the expression) on what a
detective‑inspector "thought he had recognized". In fact, the inspector's case was afterwards
undermined. But it was on this third count that Joyce was found "guilty" ‑ "assisting the King's
enemies by a specific broadcast".
THE JUDICIAL LYNCHING OF JOYCE
"William Joyce! The sentence of the court upon you is; that you be taken from this place to a lawful
prison and thence to a place of execution, and that you be there hanged until you are dead; and that
your body be afterwards buried within the precincts of the prison in which you shall have been confined
before your execution. And may the Lord have mercy on your soul."
The chaplain murmured: "Amen!"
Joyce stared defiantly at Judge Tucker as he pronounced the death sentence, then turned sharply
and walked as smartly from the dock as he had entered it. Joyce... was denied the right to express an
opinion as to why the death sentence should not be carried out. In a letter to his wife, he wrote: "I
thought of interrupting the judge and demanding my undoubted right to make a reply, but my contempt
for the judgment, combined with a somewhat belated respect for my own dignity, kept me silent."
JUDGE TUCKER'S "VAMPIRE CHAPEAU"
Joyce afterwards reflected on the judge's reluctance to hold his gaze as he donned the black cap and
read out the sentence:
"It gave me no small degree of satisfaction to see that His Lordship, complete with vampire chapeau,
after once meeting my eyes, read his precious sentence into his desk. Ah! My dear, those were a
proud few minutes of my life." He added: "Some papers, I am told, have stated that my expression
was contemptuous: it probably was. But whether I bore myself becomingly is, after all, for others to
judge: but I do believe that I did nothing to shame me in the eyes of my lady: and I am therefore
Whilst the condemned cell in London's grim Wandsworth prison was being prepared, William Joyce
was held in a Wormwood Scrubs cell. Though his counsel began the appeal procedure, Joyce was
under no illusions.
"Distinguished lawyers were laying 50 to 1 on an aqquittal: I was not," he wrote.
Initially the date for Joyce's execution was set for November 23rd, 1945, and on the 17th of that month
his wife Margaret was transferred from the Belgian gaol, where she was being held, to Holloway
Prison, the womens gaol in London.
The execution date having passed due to the appeals process, Joyce retracted nothing of his original
statement, and he advised his wife not to
"Morally, if not legally," he wrote, "it is highly pertinent that we firmly believed ourselves to be serving
the best ultimate interests of the British people ‑ a fact which was appreciated and respected by the
best of our German chiefs. And it was always our thesis that German and British interests were, in
the final analysis, not only compatible but mutually complementary."
The Manchester Guardian was not alone in expressing doubt as to the legality of Joyce's forthcoming
"One can say that this document, which he ought never to have possessed, has been ‑ unless the
Law Lords judge differently ‑ the deciding factor in Joyce's sentence. One would wish that he had
been condemned on something more solid than a falsehood, even if it was one of his own making . . .
Even in these days of violence, killing men is not the way to root out false (unpopular) opinions."
RESIGNED TO GOD'S WILL
Despite the dangers of association, William Joyce was far from alone in his beliefs and he received
many letters of support. He wrote: "I feel overwhelmed by the generosity of my friends and these
tributes from complete strangers. I am really embarrassed." A couple living on the Plimsoll line in
Kensington, seeking to preserve the bygone decencies' had sent a cheque for £50. Typically a small
Suffolk farmer contributed ten‑shillings "for a very brave gentleman".
On the morning of December 18th the appeal was heard and dismissed. The death sentence was to
be carried out on January 3rd 1946.
On December 28th, he wrote to his friend, Miss Scrimgeour:
"I trust, like you, that the works of my hand will flourish by my death; and I know there are many who
will keep my memory alive. The prayers that you and others have been saying for me have been and
are a great source of strength to me: and I can tell you that I am completely at peace in my mind, fully
resigned to God's will, and I am proud of having stood by my ideals to the last.
"I would certainly not change places either with my liquidators, or with those who have recanted. It is
precisely for my ideals that I am to be killed. It is the force of ideals that the Hebrew masters of this
country fear; almost everything else can be purchased by their money: and, as with the Third Reich,
what they cannot buy, they seek to destroy: but I do entertain the hope that, before the very last
second, the British public will awaken and save themselves.
"They have not much time now."
In his last letter to his wife on New Year's Day, 1946 he wrote:
"As I move towards the Edge of Beyond, my confidence in the final victory increases. How it will be
achieved, I know not: but I never felt less inclined to pessimism, tho' Europe and this country will
probably have to suffer terribly before the vindication of our ideals... Tonight I want to compose my
thoughts finally: the atmosphere of peace is strong upon me: and I know that all is ready for the
"A SPIRITUAL SENSE OF PEACE"
Visitors beside his wife found Joyce in a spiritual sense of peace. Angus MacNab expressed his
feelings with these words: "In his last days, although in perfectly good health, his actual body seemed
spiritualised, and without what you would call pallor, his flesh seemed to have a quasi‑transparent
quality. Being with him gave a sense of inward peace, like being in a quiet church."
William Joyce in a letter to his wife recalled the spiritual visitation he had experienced at Ryde just
before the outbreak of England's war. "It was, in those hours, as if some shadowy foreknowledge were
given to me, causing a convulsion of what you might rightly call "burning of energy". I knew that all I
had and more was required of me: and I suppose I was in an emotional state arising out of
"knowledge" hidden from the conscious mind.
"My fear on each occasion was that you would be physically torn from me: but far stronger was the
feeling that we should never be spiritually separated. And the hill ‑ our hill ‑ over Flensburg harbour
provides the final clue."
(Joyce was a firm believer in the soul outliving mortal existence).
Such was the esteem with which Joyce was held that on the night of his execution former teachers at
Birkbeck College, who remembered their likeable, hardworking, although strange student, sent a
message to the Governor of Wandsworth Prison. "They recalled him as they had known him and if it
were within the rules they would like the Governor to tell him that they wished him well."
FAITH WILL TRIUMPH OVER TEARS
In the last letter, which his wife would receive posthumously, the condemned American wrote: "I never
asked you if you wanted to receive posthumous letters: the question was too delicate, even for me: but
I assumed your wish. For I think you are sufficiently strong now to overcome the grief of this blow, and
that your faith will triumph over tears. For my part, I want to write as long as I can and then mend the
snapped cable in an eternal way."
At this point his letter was interrupted by his wife's final visit. When she had gone he continued in a
smaller, neater hand.
"Oh, My dear! Your visit! With no words can I express my feelings about it: I want the children to take
leave of me, of course, as they will this afternoon: but now I am anxious to die. I want to die as soon
as possible, because then I shall be nearer to you.
"With the last glimpse of you, my earthly life really finished. With you,dear, it is otherwise, because
you are destined to stay for a time and will have me with you to help: I am more confident than ever
that we shall be together: but, after I have seen the children, the lag‑end will be of no use to me except
in one way; that I can still write some lines to you. Let me tell you, though, that spiritually, an
unearthly joy came upon me in the last instants of your visit. And you will know exactly why.
"You would not blame me for being impatient to go Beyond. Still, despite my impatience, I shall be
glad to talk this evening to my kind, good Chaplain, who has done so much for me and who will give
me Communion tomorrow morning. There will be a great chorus of prayer as I pass beyond."
He advised his wife to read the Gospel of John repeatedly... "To me it has recently been a
revelation. It has contributed much to my understanding. Try it. I need hardly say that I have no fear of
dying: for there will be no 'death'. (...)"
"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 aggressive Imperialism of the Soviet Union".
"May Britain be great once again... I am proud to die for my ideals; and I am sorry for the
sons of Britain who have died without knowing why."
William Joyce ‑ Rest In Peace
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