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A


t 19.00 hours on 4 May 1945, Lieutenant Geoffrey Perry picked up the microphone in the broadcasting studio at Radio Hamburg. As he was to be the radio announcer for the next few days, Perry began speaking from the very place, with the very same microphone, that the infamous William Joyce had made his last broadcast from just two days earlier.


William Joyce was the most notable of the English-speaking radio broadcasters employed by the Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda immediately before and during the Second World War. These individuals, who worked on the radio program Germany Calling, soon came to be known by the nickname “Lord Haw Haw”. Whilst it is believed to have first been connected with Wolf Mittler, a


German journalist of Polish descent who had delivered broadcasts in 1939 with an exaggerated English accent, the nickname, over time, has become most commonly associated with Joyce.


In Britain, Joyce was more enjoyed than despised. The BBC news bulletins were factual and dull but, a secret report to the BBC stated, “when someone tunes in to Lord Haw Haw, the whole room gets up and gathers round the wireless”. Part of his appeal was that he was insulting the people in authority which no-one in Britain had ever dared to do on radio. Joyce’s outrageous statements often gave his audience much amusement. Britain, he once remarked, was run by old men: “In England a man cannot be regarded as a serious politician until the first stages of arterial sclerosis have set in, by


With the final capitulation of the German forces in May 1945, the round-up of their leaders began. The people that had led the world into war, along with their accomplices, would be made to pay for their actions. Amongst the latter was William Joyce – the notorious “Lord Haw Haw” – who had spewed German propaganda from Berlin and Hamburg to the United Kingdom. John Grehan tells the story of his capture.


which time he may be described as a coming man.”


Such diatribes as, “We have no time for Churchill’s dialectical evasions and rhetorical equivocations. His terminological inexactitudes belong to another world – a world that is crumbling before his eyes” had more of the style of music hall compere than a news announcer.


Whilst the British and Americans condemned the lack of freedom in Germany, Joyce, an avid admirer of Fascism, had no interest in such ideals. “The most nauseating feature of all this whining about freedom, and the traditions of freedom, lies in the public- school system”, he once declared.


His claim that “There are no unemployed


MAIN PICTURE: Lieutenant Geoffrey Perry delivers the first Allied broadcast from Radio Hamburg with the microphone last used by William Joyce just two days before. Radio Hamburg had fallen silent at 10.26 hours on 3 May 1945, at which point many of the staff and broadcasters fled – William Joyce included. The British Army took control at 10.00 hours the following day. (Courtesy of Geoffrey Perry and the author Helen Fry)


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