On This Day: 'Lord Haw-Haw' hanged 1945

Julian Gavaghan
Yahoo News.

June 18: A Nazi propaganda broadcaster nicknamed 'Lord Haw-Haw' was charged with treason on this day in 1945 after being captured in Germany by British troops.

William Joyce, whose nightly transmissions, which always began with ‘Germany calling’, attracted 18million listeners despite Britons being urged not to tune in.

The American-born agitator was convicted of treason in London despite insisting that he was a U.S. citizen and that his British passport was falsely obtained.

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Joyce, who had been a prominent member of the British Union of Fascists and fled to Germany days before the outbreak of war in 1939, was later hanged.

His capture in Flensburg, near the Danish border, was applauded by Britons who were glad to see their posh-sounding nightly tormentor get his comeuppance.

A British Pathé newsreel, mockingly titled 'Re Joyce', showed him walking beside a British military guard while taking his daily exercise outside Luneberg Hospital.

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His menacing mouth-to-ear scar, which the anti-Semite claimed to have received following a razor attack by a British Jewish communist in 1924, was clearly visible.

The Pathé reporter points out that the footage would be the last time he would be seen in Germany, which he jokingly pronounces ‘Gairmany’ to imitate Lord Haw-Haw.

Joyce, who was born in New York to Irish parents took American citizenship before returning to Ireland a few years later, was not eligible for a British passport.

Yet the Catholic, who was unusually pro-Unionist, obtained one after he moved to England in 1921 at age 15 amid fears he would be killed by Irish Republicans.

The former public schoolboy later claimed he helped the hated British Black and Tans during the Irish War for Independence, which lasted from 1919 to 1921.

He joined the BUF – eventually becoming its deputy until 1937 when Oswald Mosley sacked him – after getting a First Class degree from Birkbeck College, London.

Yet despite 18 years in the UK, he appealed against his treason conviction by saying he could not hold allegiance to Britain since he was not a British citizen.

But the House of Lords decided that even a falsely obtained British passport would entitle him to UK protection and so he could also be branded a traitor.

In January 1946, while aged 39, Joyce was hanged in Wandsworth Prison, south-west London.

The scar on the right side of his face is said to have split wide open due to the pressure to his head during the execution by long-serving hangman Albert Pierrepoint.



































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