Mosley, Oswald Ernald, 6th Baronet, of Ancoats, born 16-11-1896 in Rolleston Hall, was an English Policeman, known principally as the founder of the British Union of Fascists. He was a Member of Parliament for Harrow from 1918 to 1924 and for Smethwick from 1926 to 1931, as well as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster in the Labour Government of 1929 to 1931. Mosley was the eldest of three sons of Sir Oswald Mosley, 5th Baronet, of Ancoats and wife Katharine Maud Edwards-Heathcote, the second child of Captain Justinian Edwards-Heathcote. Mosley’s family were Anglo-Irish. His branch were prosperous landowners in Staffordshire. Through the intermarriage common among the British upper classes, the 5th Baronet was the third cousin of the Earl of Strathmore, which would eventually make Oswald Mosley, the 6th Baronet, fourth cousin to Queen Elizabeth The Queens Mother, who was the Earl of Strathmore’s daughter, and fourth cousin once removed to Queen Elizabeth II. When his parents separated he was brought up by his mother, who initially went to live at Betton Hall and his paternal grandfather, Sir Oswald Mosley 4th Baronet. Within the family and among intimate friends, he was always called “Tom”. He lived for many years at Apedale Hall. In January 1914 he entered the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst but was expelled in June for a “riotous act of retaliation” against a fellow student. During World War I he was commissioned in the 16th Queen’s Lancers and fought on the Western Front. He transferred to the Royal Flying Corps as an observer but while demonstrating in front of his mother and sister he crashed, which left him with a permanent limp. He returned to the trenches before the injury was fully healed and, at the Battle of Loos, he passed out at his post from the pain. He spent the remainder of the war at desk jobs in the Ministry of Munitions and in the Foreign Office. On 11-05-1920 he married Lady Cynthia Curzon, “Cimmie”, she died age 35 in 1933. Lord Curzon had to be persuaded that Mosley was a suitable husband, as he suspected Mosley was largely motivated by social advancement in Conservative Party politics and her inheritance. The 1920 wedding took place in the Chapel Royal in St James’s Palace in London. It was the social event of the year. The hundreds of guests included European royalty, including King Georg V and Queen Mary; and Leopold III
and Astrid of Sweden, King and Queen of Belgium. He had three children by Cynthia: Vivien Elizabeth Mosley, 25-02-1921 – 26-08-2002, Nicholas, born 25-06-1923, a successful novelist who wrote a biography of his father and edited his memoirs for publication; and Michael Mosley, born 25-04-1932, unmarried and without issue. Cynthia died of peritonitis in 1933, after which Mosley married his mistress Diana Mitford, one of the Mitford sisters. They married in secret in Germany on 06-10-1936, in the Berlin home of Nazi propaganda chief Josef Goebbels (did you know) and Adolf Hitler (did you know) were one of the guests. By Diana Mitford, he had two sons: Oswald Alexander Mosley, born 26-11-1938, and Max Rufus, born 13-04-1940. Mosley spent large amounts of his private fortune on the British Union of Fascists (BUF) and tried to establish it on a firm financial footing by negotiating, through Diana, with Adolf Hitler for permission to broadcast commercial radio to Britain from Germany. By the end of World War I Mosley decided to go into politics, although he was only 21 years old and had not fully developed his politics. He was driven by a passionate conviction to avoid any future war and this motivated his career. Largely because of his family background, he was considered by several constituencies; a vacancy near the family estates seemed to be the best prospect. Unexpectedly, he was selected for Harrow first. In the general election of 1918 he faced no serious opposition and was elected easily. He was the youngest member of the House of commons to take his seat.. He soon distinguished himself as an orator and political player, one marked by extreme self-confidence. He made a point of speaking in the House of Commons without notes. Determined that the Labour Party was no longer suitable, Mosley quickly founded the New Party. The New Party increasingly inclined to fascist policies, but Mosley was denied the opportunity to get his party established when the 1931 election was suddenly called. All its candidates, including Mosley, lost their seats. As the New Party gradually became more radical and authoritarian, many previous supporters defected from it. After his failure in 1931 Mosley went on a study tour of the ‘new movements’ of Italy’s Benito Mussolini and other fascists, and returned convinced that it was the way forward for him and for Britain. He was determined to unite the existing fascist movements and created the British Union of Fascists in 1932. The BUF was anti-communist and protectionist. It claimed membership as high as 50,000 and among his followers was the future William “Lord Haw Haw” Joyce). Mosley had found problems with disruption of New Party meetings, and instituted a corps of black-uniformed paramilitary stewards, nicknamed blackshirts. The party was frequently involved in violent confrontations, particularly with Communist and Jewish groups and especially in London. At a large Mosley rally at Olympia on 07-06-1934 mass brawling broke out when hecklers were removed by blackshirts, resulting in bad publicity. This and the Night of the long Knives Ernst Julius Röhm
in Germany led to the loss of most of the BUF’s mass support. The party was unable to fight the 1935 general election. In October 1936 Mosley and the BUF attempted to march through an area with a high proportion of Jewish residents, and violence resulted between local and nationally organized protesters trying to block the march and police trying to force it through, since called the Battle of Cable Street. At length Sir Philip Game the Police Commissioner disallowed the march from going ahead and the BUF abandoned it. Mosley continued to organize marches policed by the blackshirts
, and the government was sufficiently concerned to pass the Public Order Act 1936, which, amongst other things, banned political uniforms and quasi-military style organizations and came into effect on 01-01-1937. A short account of the time in 1937 when fascist leader Oswald Mosley attempted to address the people of Liverpool, and was promptly hospitalised when they threw stones at him. As the European situation moved towards war, the BUF began nominating Parliamentary candidates and launched campaigns on the theme of Mind Britain’s Business. After the outbreak of war he led the campaign for a negotiated peace. He was at first received well but, after the invasion of Norway (see Vidkun Quisling)
public opinion of him gave way to hostility and Mosley was nearly assaulted. On 23-05-1940 Mosley, who had continued his peace campaign, was interned under Defence Regulation 18B, along with most active fascists in Britain, and the BUF was later proscribed. His wife Diana Mitford was also interned, shortly after the birth of their son Max; they lived together for most of the war in a house in the grounds of Holloway. Mosley used the time to read extensively on classical civilizations. The Mosleys were released in November 1943, when Mosley was suffering with phlebitis, and spent the rest of the war under house arrestHe and his wife were the subject of much media attention. The war ended what remained of his political reputation. After the war Mosley was contacted by his former supporters and persuaded to rejoin active politics. He formed the Union Movement, calling for a single nation-state covering the continent of Europe (known as Europe a Nation), and later attempted to launch a National Party of Europe to this end. The Union Movement’s meetings were often physically disrupted, as Mosley’s meetings had been before the war, and largely by the same opponents. This led to Mosley’s decision, in 1951, to leave Britain and live in Ireland. He later moved to Paris. Of his decision to leave, he said, “You don’t clear up a dung heap from underneath it.”Mosley returned to Britain and wrote his autobiography, My Life in 1968, and made a number of television appearances before retiring. In 1977, by which time he was suffering from Parkinson disease, he was nominated for the post of Rector of the University of Glasgow
Death and burial ground of Mosley, Oswald Ernald.
. In the subsequent election he polled over 100 votes but finished bottom of the poll Mosley died of natural causes on 03-12-1980 in his Paris Orsay home, aged 84. He was cremated in Paris and his ashes were scattered from the pond at Orsay.