Joyce, William, born 24-04-1906, nicknamed Lord Haw-Haw in New York, was an American-born fascist politician and Nazi propaganda broadcaster to the United Kingdom during World War II. He was hanged for treason by the British as a result of his wartime activities, even though he had renounced his British nationality. His father was Michael Francis Joyce (09-12-1866 – 19-02-1941), an Irish Catholic from a family of farmers in Ballinrobe, County Mayo, who had taken U.S. citizenship on 25-10-1894. His mother was Gertrude Emily Brooke (1878-1944), who although born in Shaw and Crompton, Lancashire, England, United Kingdom, was from a well-off Anglican Anglo-Irish family of medical practitioners associated with County Roscommon.
A few years after William’s birth, the family returned to Salthill, Galway, Ireland. Joyce attended Coláiste Iognáid, a Jesuit school in Galway, from 1915 to 1921. His parents were unionist and hostile to Irish nationalism, and his mother was strongly Anglocentric and devoutly Protestant. There were tensions between her and her family because she married a Catholic. Joyce’s father bought houses, and rented some to the Royal Irish Constabulary.
Although Joyce was still only in his mid-teens, he was recruited during the Irish War for Independence by Captain Patrick William Keating as a courier for British Army intelligence in Galway, then fighting against the Irish Republican Army (IRA). He was known to associate with Black and Tans at Lenaboy Castle, and was linked to the murder of Father Michael Griffin, age 28 on 14-11-1920 a known Irish republican sympathiser, in 1920. Keating arranged for Joyce to be mustered into the Worcester Regiment soon after, taking him out of the dangerous situation in Ireland to Norton Barracks in England. He was discharged a few months later after it was found out he was
Joyce and his father were strongly Unionist. Joyce later said that he aided the Black and Tans during the Irish war for independence and became a target of the Irish Republican Army. Following what he alleged to be an assassination attempt in 1921, he left for England. He joined the Royal Worcester Regiment in 1921 but was discharged when it was discovered that he had lied about his age. He also developed an interest in fascism, and he worked with, but never joined, the British Fascisti of Rotha Lintorn-Orman. Rotha Beryl Lintorn Lintorn-Orman born 07-02-1895, was the founder of the British Fascisti, the first avowedly fascist movement to appear in British politics. She died on 10-03-1935, age 40 at Santa Brígida, Las Palmas, Canary Islands, with her organisation all but defunct.
In 1924, while stewarding a Conservative Party meeting, Joyce was attacked and received a deep razor slash that ran across his right cheek. It left a permanent scar which ran from the earlobe to the corner of the mouth. Joyce was convinced that his attackers were “Jewish communists”. It was an incident that had a marked bearing on his outlook. n 1932 Joyce joined the British Union of Fascists (BUF) under Sir Oswald Mosley (see Diana Mitford)
(see Unity Mitford) and swiftly became a leading speaker, praised for his power of oratory. The journalist and novelist Cecil Roberts described a speech given by Joyce: Thin, pale, intense, he had not been speaking many minutes before we were electrified by this man … so terrifying in its dynamic force, so vituperative, so vitriolic. Joyce was sacked from his paid position when Mosley drastically reduced the BUF staff shortly after the 1937 elections. Joyce promptly formed a breakaway organisation, the National Socialist League . Unlike Joyce, Mosley was never a committed antisemite, preferring to exploit antisemitic sentiment only for political gain. After 1937, the party turned its focus away from antisemitism and towards activism, opposing a war with Nazi Germany. Although Joyce had been deputy leader of the BUF from 1933 and an effective fighter and orator, Mosley snubbed him in his autobiography and later denounced him as a traitor because of his wartime activities. In late August 1939, shortly before war was declared, Joyce and his second wife Margaret Margaret Joyce, a 28-year-old typist from Carlisle, fled to Germany in 1939 with her husband, who was Sir Oswald Mosley’s “right-hand man” in the British Union of Fascists, fled to Germany. Joyce had been tipped off that the British authorities intended to detain him under Defence Regulation 18B. Joyce became a naturalised German in 1940. In Berlin, Joyce could not find employment until a chance meeting with fellow Mosley Dorothy Eckersley, second wife of the Chief Engineer of the British Broadcasting Corporation, Peter Eckersley a pioneer of British broadcasting, the first Chief Engineer of the British Broadcasting Company Limited got him an audition at the Rundfunkhaus, radio centre. Eckersley died age 71, on 18-03-1963.
Death and burial ground of Joyce, William Brooke “Lord Haw-Haw”.
Despite having a heavy cold and almost losing his voice, he was recruited immediately for radio announcements and script writing at German radio’s English service. When Joyce became the best-known propaganda broadcaster, the nickname Lord Haw Haw was transferred to him. Joyce’s broadcasts initially came from studios in Berlin, later transferring, due to heavy allied bombing, to Luxembourg and finally to Apen near Hamburg, and were relayed over a network of German-controlled radio stations. Although listening to his broadcasts was officially discouraged, but not illegal, they became very popular with the British public. At the height of his influence, in 1940, Joyce had an estimated 6 million regular and 18 million occasional listeners in the United Kingdom. The German broadcasts always began with the announcer’s words “Germany calling, Germany calling, Germany calling” ,because of a nasal drawl this sounded like “Jarmany calling”. These broadcasts urged the British people to surrender, and were well known for their jeering, sarcastic and menacing tone. Joyce recorded his final rambling broadcast on 30-04-1945, during the Battle of Berlin. He chided Britain for pursuing the war beyond mere containment of Germany, and warned repeatedly of the “menace” of the Soviet Union. He signed off with a final defiant “Heil Hitler and farewell” At the end of the war, Joyce was captured by British forces at Flensburg, like Gross Admiral, Karl Dönitz
, Armament Minister, Albert Speer while shaving himself and Generaloberst of the OkW, Alfred Jodl near the German border with Denmark. Spotting a disheveled figure while resting from gathering firewood, intelligence soldiers – including a Jewish German, Geoffrey Perry, born Horst Pinschewer , who had left Germany before the war – engaged him in conversation in French and English. After they asked if he was Joyce, he reached for his pocket, actually reaching for a false passport; believing he was armed, they shot him through the buttocks, leaving four wounds.
Two intelligence officers then drove him to a border post, and handed him to British military police Joyce was tried at the Old Bailey, London on three counts of high treason. Joyce sentenced to death and was executed on 03-01-1946 at Wandsworth Prison, aged 39. His last words: I am proud to die for my ideals and I am sorry for the sons of Britain who have died without knowing why. He was the penultimate person to be hanged for a crime other than murder in the United Kingdom. William Joyce is reburied on the New Cemetery in Galway, England. Joyce married with his first wife Hazel had two daughters Heather Piercey-Joyce. Hazel, who later married Oswald Mosley’s bodyguard, Eric Piercey. Heather, is clearsighted about her father. She excuses nothing he did, accepting that he was a traitor and a racist. She thinks he shouldn’t have been been hanged, but so, these days, do most lawyers who have given it any thought. He was a good, kind, loving father to her, and she returns his love and always will; she thinks there was a sort of muddled nobility about him.