Six million radios across England and Ireland crackled to life each night with “Jairmany calling! Jairmany calling!” A nasally voice echoed, “The Luftwaffe is on its way … better scurry into your holes like rats!” For almost 6 years, Lord Haw Haw’s nightly “Views on the News” broadcasts threatened the imminent destruction of the British Empire, often airing demoralizing recordings from British prisoners of war. His voice was terror.
His last broadcast was a taped recording originating in Hamburg as Berlin was under siege by the Red Army. He was noticeably drunk, and unrepentant. “Germany will live because the people of Germany have within them the secret of life: endurance, will and purpose. Ich liebe Deutschland. Heil Hitler and farewell,” he slurred. On this same day two hundred and fifty kilometers away in Berlin, the Führer bit into a cyanide capsule, placed his gun to his temple and pulled the trigger.
Four weeks later near the Dutch border, Lord Haw Haw was living as Wilhelm Hansen when he encountered two officers from the Royal Armoured Corps collecting kindling for a fire. Boldly, he approached and spoke to them first in French and then in English, “there are a few more pieces over here.” The officers immediately recognized his terrible voice. There was a gunshot and Lord Haw Haw fell to the ground, bleeding from the hip.
At 9 a.m. on January 3rd, 1946, Albert Pierrepoint, the Hangman at Wandsworth Prison, pulled the operating lever to the gallows. The trap door opened, and the rope fell the ten feet towards “the pit” and its shiny varnished floors. It stopped abruptly, snapping the neck of William Joyce as it did. Born American, raised Irish, naturalized German, and found guilty of treason as a British citizen, Lord Haw Haw’s voice was silenced forever.