On this day: Lord Haw-Haw sentenced to death

September 19 1945: The last man hanged for treason in Britain is sentenced

By Jennifer Lipman, September 19, 2010
William Joyce

William Joyce

William Joyce, known by the moniker Lord Haw-Haw, grew to notoriety for his virulently antisemitic radio broadcasts during the Holocaust.

Having fled Britain in 1939 in order to avoid imprisonment for his links with Oswald Mosley’s fascists, he became the Nazi radio broadcaster, transmitting messages urging for Britain to surrender and blaming the war on the Jews.

The name “Haw-Haw” was coined by a Daily Express journalist. In April 1945 he made his final broadcast, and was captured at the end of the war in Europe.

During a three-day trial at the Old Bailey he was found guilty of high treason on the legal technicality of having fraudulently obtained a British passport by claiming to be an Irish, rather than American, citizen.

An appeal was later dismissed and he was hanged on January 3 1946.

What the JC said: Joyce’s broadcasts from Germany often took the form of foul and scurrilous attacks against the Jews. He was notorious for his Jew-baiting in this country before the war, when, as propaganda director of the British Union of Fascists, he was one of Sir Oswald Mosley’s chief lieutenants.

See more from the JC archives here

Last updated: 10:36am, September 19 2010