History buffs to probe Lord Haw Haw Derbyshire rumours

William (Lord Haw Haw) Joyce (left) with Oswald Mosley (middle) and other members of the British Union of Fascists Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption William Joyce (left), later known as Lord Haw Haw, with Oswald Mosley (middle) and other members of the British Union of Fascists

History campaigners are hoping to get to the bottom of decades-long rumours surrounding the infamous wartime traitor Lord Haw Haw.

William Joyce was the voice behind Nazi propaganda radio programme 'Germany Calling', which amassed UK audiences of nine million during World War Two.

He was hanged as a traitor in 1946.

Renishaw St Matthew's Church Group has won funding to investigate rumours the American-born broadcaster lived in Derbyshire in the interwar years.

'Mists of time'

Richard Godley, from the group, said rumours he lived in North East Derbyshire and South Yorkshire "have circulated for decades".

"I've heard multiple people talk about him being resident in the area down the years," he said.

"It's going to be interesting to confirm if one of the most notorious figures of the war was here and, if he was, what he was actually doing here.

"The stories have been lost in the mists in time, but we think there is no smoke without fire."

The group has given £31,700 in Heritage Lottery funding to work on the project.

It will work with local schools and churches to explore "stories of local family connections to World War One" and raise awareness of wartime history.

Who was Lord Haw Haw?

Image copyright Getty Images
  • Born in Brooklyn to Irish parents in 1906, he moved back to Ireland at a young age
  • He joined the British Union of Fascists, led by Sir Oswald Mosley in 1932
  • He left England in 1939 and travelled to Germany where he worked for the Nazis in Hamburg
  • He was a broadcaster of Nazi propaganda to the UK during World War Two and became known as Lord Haw Haw
  • His words "Germany calling, Germany calling" were a familiar sound across the airwaves
  • In 1945, Joyce was captured and returned to Britain, where he was hanged for treason at Wandsworth Prison

Source: BBC News archives

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