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Arrested for Being a (British Union) Traitoricon for Recommended story

by Paul Shepherd

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Paul Shepherd
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14 August 2003

I was eight years old in 1939. I have one particularly graphic recollection of 1940; it was when the Special Branch visited my home early in the morning to say that my father had been arrested under 18B, the act that repealed Habeas Corpus.

He was taken first to Brixton and eventually to the Isle of Man. His crime was that he had been an active member of Oswald Mosley's British Union and was obviously considered a security risk.

His family, left with no means of support, knew how ridiculous this was; like most BU members he was intensely patriotic; he would never have considered giving support to the country's enemies. But I can see the reasons for what happened.

After three years on the Isle of Man, he was released and almost immediately conscripted into the army, which seems a strange way to deal with a traitor. Thank goodness, after more post-war contact with Oswald Mosley, his views were completely changed and he ended his life a good socialist, which he had always really been despite the temporary aberration.

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Message 1 - black socialism

Posted on: 02 October 2003 by Researcher 249201

From what I've read and heard, a lot of Mosley's Blackshirts were socialists.


Message 2 - black socialism

Posted on: 17 August 2004 by John Phillip Thornton

With regard to the theory that most Mosleyite’s Black shirts were socialists ? What a contradiction in terms.

I worked for five years with an ex- Mosley supporter named Ray Dawe. Ray was a Nationalist, and as such had a concrete mind — all mixed up and well set.

In his youth Ray thought he supported socialism, but with Mosley teaching it became National Socialism . The fracas in Brick Lane, London where Mosley tried to preach anti-Semitism in the Jewish neighbourhood were to evoke problems ( much as Protestantism in Ireland) and, caused a number of arrests both Semite and anti-Semite. Ray was confined in a Police cell with a Semite lad. Ray didn’t know his cellmates views until they exchanged ideas on Mosley. His cellmate were bigger, Ray decided to curb his anti-Semite views.

Later that day they were released with a caution and went for a pie and a pint, and became good friends, Ray even attended Labour movement gatherings.

Ray, his wife and his friend, a taxi driver and his wife loved to dance, and at the weekend on a Friday evening visit a restaurant for an evening meal. The first time they exchanged visits to one-another’s flat, Rays wife were upset when the guests were ‘picky’ eating just salad and drinking only tea with the meal.

It wasn’t until they paid a return visit to Ray’s friend that the lack of meat and liquor were broached, Ray offering his friend ‘ a few bob’ only then realising his friend, wife and family were Jewish albeit not strictly orthodox.

I am glad to admit that Ray became a socialist — more of a New Labourite and, a trade unionist in later life, albeit he never obtained an official position in the trade union movement as the ‘ black listing’ follows one through life.

You have to remember life divides people into three camps. Left wing, Right wing and the, not so bright.


John Thornton ID 785835


Message 3 - black socialism

Posted on: 08 November 2005 by adamannand

It is interesting that the antidote to the racism of National socialism was getting to know the perceived "other" and breaking bread together. In the continued fight against racism it seems to me that this is a key lesson. Thanks for your story.

Message 1 - At least one BUF member became a spy

Posted on: 30 October 2003 by L Jackson


"Schurch, of Swiss parents was born in London. In his teens he joined the Fascist party who later recruited him into their intelligence branch. In 1936 he was ordered to join the Army and to apply for a Middle East posting. In Jerusalem he passed on information of the movements of General Wavell and other senior officers of the HQ Palestine Command. He later applied for a posting to Egypt and there he was able to cross over to the enemy and be active under Italian Intelligence."

Message 1 - Thanks for your interesting and unusual account

Posted on: 31 October 2003 by L Jackson


Thanks for your interesting and unusual account of your Father's internment, due to his decision to join the British Union of Fascists. It was unfortunate that his internment meant hardship for your family. It's ironic that the same draconian internment measures were applied to refugees from Europe fleeing Nazi persecution.

Presumably if he had an income, it wasn't unemployment that drove him to join the BUF. Was it perhaps fear of Communism or patriotic fervour that drew him to Mosely?

You say that "... like most BU members he was intensely patriotic; he would never have considered giving support to the country's enemies." There was at least one BUF member who did become a spy - see:

I mention this not as criticism of your father (who wasn't), but by way of explanation for his arrest. As you say, "... I can see the reasons for what happened."

Both Hitler and Mussolini thought of themselves as intensely patriotic. The BUF attempted to march through the Jewish East End of London to intimidate the inhabitants. Didn't the "patriotism" of the BUF also included a desire to rid their country of ethnic minorities, remove the perceived weakness of democratic government and eliminate left-wing political opponents?

It may be of interest to note that Mussolini started off as Communist, before inventing Facism and inspiring Hitler. Also the German National Socialist (Nazi) Party was much closer to Communism than Facism before the Bavarian Army's Intelligence/Propaganda section ordered Adolph Hitler to infiltrate it, see: links

There are some obvious similarities between Communism (an authoritarian form of Socialism) and Fascism, but they did't make Fascism desireable.

I hope this is of interest, L Jackson.

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