Part 1 was the background to the origins of the Right Club and introduced some of the members who via various other shady organisations eventually joined the club. The very first fascist organisation in the UK was the British Fascisti, exactly that written in the Italian style.Mussolini predated Adolf by more than 10 years. It was founded by Rotha Lintorn-Orman in 1923. Once more William Joyce’s name turns up, he seemed to be a member of all of these organisations. Quickly renamed the British Fascists, the group lasted until 1934 when it merged with Oswald Mosley’s British Union of Fascists. One of the group’s major claims to fame were its repeated boasts of membership numbers. It claimed 200,000 in 1926 whereas in reality it had at most a few thousand. It’s a bit like lefties these days making exaggerated claims of the number of people turning up for their marches and demonstrations.
Rotha Beryl Lintorn-Orman turned up with her friend Nesta at the 1909 Crystal Palace Scout Rally, they both wanted to join the scouts but instead the Girl Guides were founded. Rotha was very anti-Communist but ended up an alcoholic with some associated lurid tales of drink drugs and orgies finally dying at the age of 40 in the Canary Islands.
When Archibald Ramsay started the Right Club, its aims were to expose and oppose organised Jewry, he kept a list of members in a red book. There were 135 male and 100 female members. Maxwell Knight of MI5 managed to infiltrate 3 of his agents into the Club to keep tabs on what they were up to.
One of the last members to join was Tyler Kent, an American who worked at the US Embassy and as a result had diplomatic immunity. He was the one who kept the membership lists presumably for diplomatic immunity reasons.
What did the Right Club get up to in the few years it was functioning. The members were nearly all upper class, peers and MPs. They were using the Club as a way to communicate and plot. During the phoney war they distributed leaflets and pamphlets. Their objective was an honourable peace rather than war. They started meeting at the Russian Tea Room in South Kensington. This belonged to Anna Wolkoff, one of their members. Anna had been under MI5 surveillance since 1935 because of her right wing contacts. Wallis Simpson was one of her many friends.
Anna Wolkoff proved to be the catalyst of their downfall. She had visited Germany in 1935 and MI5 had been keeping an eye on her ever since. She was also close to Wallis Simpson, one-time lover of von Ribbentrop, and it was feared one or both might be passing information to the Germans. Wolkoff’s route for her messages to Berlin was via the Duke del Monte, an Italian military attache. William Joyce, fearing arrest, had fled to Berlin in 1940 and was transmitting as Lord Haw Haw. Anna sent a few suggestions on suitable subjects for his ridiculous broadcasts. Her contact with the Duke was through Helen de Muncke, a Belgian member of the Club who was working for Maxwell Knight (though other versions name another of MI5’s plants in the Club), and of course she handed the correspondence to MI5 before it went any further.
In February 1940 Anna met Tyler Kent, a cipher clerk at the US Embassy. Tyler had views that fitted in well with the Right Club and he became a regular visitor. Kent later revealed to Wolkoff and Ramsay that he had some documents from the Embassy at home. This included correspondence between Roosevelt and Churchill. In April Wolkoff went to Tyler’s flat to borrow some of the documents to have them photographed.
In May 1940 Wolkoff and Kent were arrested and charged with violating the Official Secrets Act. She got 10 years and he got 7. Tyler’s justification for his treason was that he feared the US would be dragged into a war with Germany. He said he hoped Ramsay would pass the details on to American politicians hostile to FDR. The wireless interception service picked up messages between Rome and Berlin that proved that the Abwehr had copies of the Roosevelt-Churchill documents.
When the police raided Kent’s flat they found the red ledger that contained the names of the members of the Right Club. This was the end of the Club but certainly not of its ideals.
When I hear Lord Haw Haw’s ridiculous broadcasts it puts me in mind of something out of Monty Python. I know he was hanged for treason in 1946 but the fact that his name pops up in just about every Fascist organisation of the 1930s makes me wonder if he was ever working for MI5. Probably not but stranger things have happened.
In the meantime Ramsay was an outspoken opponent of internment but ended up being interned himself. He tried to claim breach of Privilege in Parliament but failed. He was detained until September 1946 when he resumed his seat in the HoC. One of his last acts was to try to reinstate the 1275 Statute of Jewry that had been passed by Edward I. He didn’t stand again in 1946 but wrote an autobiography that basically blamed all the ills of the world, past and present, on the Jews. He finally met his maker in 1955, presumably there is a section in both heaven and hell with no Jews present. A bit of a sad life really.
As an example of the delusions Ramsay and his ilk lived under one of his less publicised objectives was the discrediting and removal of Churchill to be replaced by a government that was prepared to negotiate a peace with the Germans. Ramsay predicted that Hitler would overrun Europe and Britain would be a protectorate, of course with himself as leader. His wife was not quite so deluded, she thought he might end up as Commissioner for Scotland.
Anna Wolkoff was also a bit of a dreamer. She told Helen de Muncke that during the “triumphal procession” when the Nazis took over “You will ride in the same car as Himmler”, the unspoken assumption being that Anna and Ramsay would be alongside the Führer. Such are the follies of these loonies.
© well_chuffed 2019
The Goodnight Vienna Audio file