Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you in their naked form the timeline of Lord Haw Haw – William Joyce – for both his life and his death (formatting curiosities included):
Let’s put it this way: it’s a lot of history for one play…
24/04/ 06 – born in Brooklyn
09 – family moves back to Galway
14 – WW1
15 – goes to Jesuit secondary school
16 – Easter Rising
17- Quentin born
Conscription imposed in Ireland, then abandoned after protests.
18 WW1 ends
General Election. Sinn Fein wins landslide victory in the 26 counties
Conservatives largest part in Britain. They form part of Loyd George’s
19 – Sinn Fein convenes the first Dail. Westminster does not recognise it. War Of
20 – Father Griffin murdered in November. William implicated.
21 – December IRA try to kill William. They warn his family that they won’t miss the 2nd time.
He flees to England, alone.
Signs up with the Worcester regiment before he leaves Ireland. Falsifies his age.
Physical description of him from their rent. records – Kenney,p76.
22 – January. Irish Free State recognised.
– March. Discharged from the Army for falsifying his age. Moves in with relatives in
– October – Mussolini’s ‘March on Rome’ – becomes Italian PM
-William enrols at Battersea Polytechnic to study Maths and Chemistry
– November; General Election. Conservative Majority. Bonar-Law PM. Labour now 2nd
23 – Joyce family removes to England
– William drops out of Poly
– November; Beer Hall Putsch fails in Munich. Hitler imprisoned.
– December – General Election. Tories largest party but Labour Form Minority govt with tacit support of Liberals.
– British Facisti (first GB facist group) founded. William attends meetings and is censured for heckling and ‘immoderate language’. They tell him they would have thrown him out if he’d actually been a member.
– Joyce joins the Junior Imperial League (informally the conservative youth movement)
He leaves, disillusioned by Conservative acceptance of the status quo with the Irish
24 – October British General Election. Large Tory majority. Baldwin PM
– William is slashed while stewarding a Tory Party meeting in Lambeth
– November, leaves hospital to attend Remembrance Day at the Cenotaph, collapses
and is taken by fellow Birbeck student Hazel Barr to her Chelsea home recover.
– Moseley joins the Labour Party
– The Joyces settle in Dulwich. William moves in.
– William enrols at Birbeck College to study English and History
26 – General Strike
– Moseley elected as a Labour MP
27 – Mussolini has dropped all pretence of democratic rule
– William graduates with a First.
– 30th April William and Hazel marry in secret
– ‘Seduces’ Mary Ogilvey,aged 16.
28 – an active member of the Conservative Party’s Chelsea branch and the junior Imperial League.
– April; applies for a job at the F/O. Declares his true place of birth. They excuse that but a damning reference from the Principal of Battersea Poly sinks him. He makes money tutoring at Victoria college and publishes academic articles. (Kenny,Page 105)
– July. Daughter Heather is born.
29 – May;General Election. Labour in gov.t without an overall majority. Ramsay MacDonald is PM. Moseley is junior cabinet minister.
– October; Wall Street Crash
– Arnold Leese founds the Imperial Fascist league
30 – William is forced to resign from the Chelsea Tory part over his affair with Mary Ogilvey.
William had alienated the branch by being too strident,too anti semitic and by tryingo turn the junior imperial league into a military style organisation
31 – Feb; Moseley launches the New Party with six Labour MP’s , two of whom resign after
only one day and sit as Independents. New Party meetings attacked by left wing
July; Daughter Diana born.
– General Election. Tories win over half the seats but Ramsay Macdonald remains PM
as head of a National Gov.t
32 – Communist Party membership 9000 – Historical Journal
– William on part time post grad studies at King’s College, London while still teaching
– Oct; Moseley founds the BUF
33 – Jan; Hitler becomes Chancellor
– March; Reichstag Elections – Nazis win 44%of the vote.
– April; Moseley visits Italy. He is won over to Italian style fascism as opposed to German
National Socialism. Italian money floes into the BUF.
– July; William granted for British passport. Claims to have been born in Galway.
– August; William joins the BUF. He becomes ‘Area Administrative Officer for West
– William attends the Nuremburg rally.
– National Workers Socialist Party set up in UK.
34 -Jan; ‘Hurrah for theBlackshirts!’ – Daily Mail campaign begins.
BUF Membership 40/50,000 – contemporary Special Branch estimate.
Communist party – 5000 – Historical Journal
– William hired by Moseley as BUF Propaganda Director on £300 p/a. He pushes anti
semitism as a policy rather than Italian style corporatism which is Moseley’s theme.
– Hazel Joyce falls in love with BUF member Eric Hamilton-Piercey.
– 10th June ; BUF Rally at Olympia- “a miracle no one died” ( Pugh, 156)
12,000 audience. 5000 protestors outside. Police arrest 25
protestors and baton charge the BUF goon squad.
– 30th June; Night of the Long Knives in Germany. at least 85 dead –
possibly hundreds. 1000 arrests.
– July; Rothermere withdraws his paper’s support for the BUF
– Aug; Hitler becomes Fuhrer
– Sept; BUF rally in Hyde Park. 2500 fascists, 7000 police,100,0000 anti fascists.
– October; Civil war within the BUF. Moseley expels the opposition.
Hazel pregnant. whose is it? (Needs ref)
– Nov; William ceases his PHD studies
35 – BUF membership 5000 – Special Branch
– Jan; Hazel leaves William for Eric Piercy William voluntarily gave custody of the girls to Hazel. William shows no hostility toward his rival throughout his BUF career.
– Feb: Margaret White attends a rally in Dumfries that William is speaking at.
Love at first sight.
– June; Baldwin replaces MacDonald as PM due to illness
Oct; General Election. Tory overall majority. Stanley Baldwin PM.
Italian Invasion of Abyssinia. BUF mounts ‘Britain should mind its own
36 – BUF membership 15,000 – Special Branch
– William proposes to Margaret. She moves into the flat he shares with fellow fascist
John McNab – 28 Fawcett St, Chelsea. Margaret begins to work for the BUF full
time. William is writing, speaking and tutoring other fascists in rhetoric. Probably the
happiest time of his life. K,129 .
– March; Rhineland reoccupied. Edward VIII threatens to abdicate if Baldwin goes to
– April; William instrumental in persuading Moseley to change the parry’s name to
‘British Union of Fascists and National Socialism’ – BU for short. Launches new
Peace campaign – no clash of interest between British Imperial interests and
German desire for a unified people.
– July; Spanish Civil War starts
– Oct; Battle of Cable Street
– Dec; Abdication Crisis. Moseley convinced this is his moment for a coup. The King
declines his support.
37 – BUF close to bankruptcy despite Italian AND German funding. Moseley mortgages
his estate to finance it.
– Jan; Public Order Act bans the wearing of para military uniforms.
– Jan; Special Branch report to MI5 on growing strife within the BUF. Joyce is at
the centre of it- feels his talents are not recognised.
– Feb; William’s marriage to Hazel formally ended. 3 days later he marries Margaret.
They spend their ‘honeymoon’ canvassing for the LCC elections. Hazel weds
– March; William and fellow fascists stand in London County Council Elections.
William stood in Shoreditch. They all lose. William feels discredited and
believes he was manoeuvred into standing by Mosely to discredit him.
-March; Mussolini informs Mosley that he is ending his subsidy of the BUF. BUF HQ staff cut from 143 to 30. William is made redundant and expelled from the movement with John Becket.
– April; William and former BUF (ex Labour MP) John Becket form the National Socialist League. Membership peaks at 300.
38 – March; Anschluss
– Oct; Sudetenland occupied
39 – BUF membership 22,000 – Special Branch
– April; Spanish Republic defeated in Civil War
– Aug; Nazi-Soviet pact signed
24 Aug; William receives a tip off from an MI5 officer who was an old British Facisti
and friend. William had fed him info previously.
– 26 August; William and Margaret flee to Berlin
Sept; Barrington begins his commentaries on the RRG broadcasts to Britain in the
Daily Express – creating characters for the anonymous voices.
– 1st Sept; Germany invades Poland
– 3rd Sept; GB declares war on Germany
– 6th Sept William makes his first broadcast
– 14th Sept; Barrington creates ‘Lord Haw Haw’ (K, 179) All the papers are fascinated by the question of his identity.
– 17th Sept; Russia invades Poland
– Sept; Quentin Joyce is interned.
– Oct; William is on contract to RRG (K, P175)
– Dec; Hazel recognises William’s voice on air
40 -.Margeret begins broadcasting for RRG
– ‘Twighlight over England’ is published – 100,000 copies. Paid 10,000 Marks.
– William is earning 1200 marks a month – twice as much as any other propaganda star.
– Feb; Margaret meets Nicky von Besack – german broadcaster for the English service
– Feb; William’s father dies.
– 26th Sept; William and Margaret become German citizens
-William has 6 million regular GB listeners and 18 million occasional ones.
– BUF is banned outright after stand in 3 by elections ’39-’40. Candidates polled a max of max of 500 votes. 740 fascists interned during the war.
41 Jan; William tours POW camps to recruit brit broadcasters. POW’s spot the voice.
– March; Lend Lease Act
– April; William identifies himself as Haw Haw.
– Spring; Margaret moves out at William’s request due to her affair. Divorce
– 22nd June; Germany invades Russia (same date as Napoleon) K,229
– Aug 9th Roosevelt and Churchill meet for first time
– 24th William and Margaret divorced. She moves in with Nicky Von Besack
– 7th December; Pearl Harbour
42 – Jan; Wannsee Conference
– Feb; Fall of Singapore. Japan overruns Brit empire in far east. K245
William and Margaret remarry.
– May; Goebbels decides new propaganda tactics required for GB. William too
trenchant and sarcastic in his delivery.
‘Lord Haw Haw’ no longer featured as a character in the British press.
RAF’s first 1000 bomber raid, on Cologne.
– June; William appointed Chief Commentator for England on 1500 Marks p/m plus
5000 Christmas bonus
– Sept; Honeymoon in Norway
Oct; El Alamein “The end of the Beginning”
– Nov; John Amery makes his debut on RRG . K247
43 – Jan; Amery ceases broadcasting. Despite his declining ratings, William has seen off
his last serious rival.
– Feb: German 6th Army surrenders at Stalingrad
– March; Heavy RAF and USAAF raids on Berlin begin. William and Margaret are
shuttle between Berlin and Luxembourg from now on.
– July; Hamburg ‘firestorm’ raid.
– Quentin released from Detention.
– July/August; Battle of Kursk. Germans on the defensive from now on.
– Sept; Allies invade Italy. Fall of Mussolini.
44 – Feb; Nicky von Besack marries Fraulein von Kutz.
– June; D-Day .
As the Allies move through France Luxembourg ceases to be a safe
base for the Joyces.
– Aug; Soviets at the outskirts of Warsaw
– Sept; Western Allies at the German border.
William joins the Volksturm
– William receives the War Merit medal 1st Class. Margaret gets a gong too.
Nov; William and Margaret issued with papers in the name of ‘Hansen’
Dec; Battle of the Bulge – last German offensive in the West.
45 – Jan; Russians take Warsaw
William involved in fight with air raid warden. Charged with ‘sub treason’.
– Feb; American air raid destroys all papers relating to the case.
– March; Allies cross the Rhine. Russia cracks German resistance in Western Poland.
– 15th March; The Joyces leave Berlin for Apen, NW Germany near Dutch border.
William burns his Volksturm uniform
– April; The Joyces flee Apen for Hamburg before it is captured.
– 30th April; Hitler commits suicide.
William makes his final broadcast. “Heil Hitler & Farewell”.
The Joyces leave Hamburg before it is captured. Go to Flensburg.
– May; William and Margaret go to Denmark, looking for passage to Sweden but fail.
They rent a cottage in village of Kupfermuhle as the ‘Hansens’.
– 6th May; Wynford Vaughan-Thomas broadcasts from William’s last studio and on his wavelength. He starts with “Germany calling, Germany calling” and proceeds to lambast William. Next day another broadcaster describes the devastation in Hamburg.
– 5th May; Surrender of German forces in N/W Europe (VE day 8th/9th May)
– 28th May; William arrested by Lt. Perry and Capt. Lickorish. Perry shoots William
as he reaches for his fake I/D, thinking he’s going for a gun.
– 17th Sept; Trial starts
– 20th Sept; Jury finds Joyce guilty after 3 minutes deliberation
– 30th Oct; Appeal hearing starts. After just over a week it is rejected.
– Nuremburg Trial starts
– 15th Dec; House of Lords Appeal. on the 18th 4 Law Lords dismiss the appeal with one
– 19th Dec; John Amery hanged
46 – 3rd Jan; William hanged in HMP Wandsworth
– 4th Theodore Schurche hanged.
– Oct; Nuremburg Executions
48 – Jan; Margaret released from internment camp in Germany. Her application to live in
Eire is ‘lost’. She settle in Germany for a while.
72 – Margaret dies
76 – Williams remains are exhumed from prison and reburied in the protestant section of
the Galway New Cemetery. A Catholic mass celebrated for the event.
89 – Quentin dies
So…best to start at the beginning. Or maybe the end?