11/21/08

Lord Haw Haw

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.

8 comments:

Bill Austin said...

Your site has won a Blog of the Day Award (BOTDA)

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Thank you,

Bill Austin

cyurkanin said...

Thanks, Bill.

Roger said...

Lord Haw-Haw's talks were actually called "Views on the News", not "News with Views". His voice did strike terror into many listeners but he was also an object of satire.

I understand that he was shot in the buttocks rather than the hip!

cyurkanin said...

You're absolutely right Roger, thanks. I don't know how I ended up shortening it. I guess it stuck in my head in trying to maintain the 300 words. Thanks, I'll be editing it for correction soon.
And of course, like Baghdad Bob of more recent example, his voice and messages were only terrifying when there was the uncertainty of outcome. When it became apparent that what he was saying was all garbage, then did he became laughable. Joyce, however, was also a reminder to all Brits that a lot of their boys were still prisoners and people hung onto his words to the end hoping for word of their missing loved ones. Also, his voice was just like theirs, making it all the more unsettling that he was spouting the enemy cause. Who else was secretly a traitor?
Thanks again for the correction on his radio program.

cyurkanin said...

Fixed!

Indeterminacy said...

I never felt sorry for Lord Haw Haw about his fate. Read a book about him ages ago, and heard one of his programs - the same one you mention here, I think.

john said...

My name is john david gille I live in South Ozone Park New York.I live near JFK Airport.Its not just OZ ist OSWALD.My grandfather was on a german uboat in ww1.He illegally entered the US in brooklyn ny.He was an illegal alien until 1944.He went through canada in 1944.ANYWAY lord haw haw was from galloway.(hawtree street where I live)Margaret gillars was axis sally.That was my grand mothers name(first name).When I went to get german papers in nyc(I don't speak german)Those bugged out when I showed up.They have a SECRET"where were you during the war?" list. NO MONEY or PAPERS for you.ALL of my relatives were in the wehrmacht or german navy except him.They kept writing him ALL the time.He never showed or left brooklyn(until the end of the war).Then AUGUST GILLE CAME TO NYC.(THEY BOMBED HIS HOUSE IN HAMBURG).In my OPINION lord HAW HAW and AXIS SALLY was a grudge against him.YOU WILL SERVE THE FATHERLAND.

cyurkanin said...

John, not quite sure I understand the history you provide. Can you email me?