William 'Lord Haw Haw' Joyce

Birth Date 1906
Birth Place United States of America: New York, New York City, Brooklyn
Death Date 03 January 1946
Unit No. 450 Squadron
Place Brooklyn
Conflict/Operation Second World War, 1939-1945

Lord Haw Haw was the most infamous German propaganda broadcaster of the Second World War. He was born William Joyce in Brooklyn, New York, to an English mother and an Irish-American father in 1906. His family moved to Ireland in 1909 and then settled in the United Kingdom in 1922, allowing Joyce to attend London University where he was awarded a first class honours degree in English literature. Joyce was politically active from an early age and joined the British Fascist Party in 1923. He subsequently joined the British Conservative Party in 1925 and the British Union of Fascists in 1933. Joyce became deputy to the Union's leader, Oswald Mosely, but his views were eventually regarded as being too extreme and he was expelled in 1937. Undaunted, he set up his own openly pro-Nazi organisation - the British National Socialist League.

Travelling on a fraudulently acquired British passport, Joyce fled Britain in August 1939 to escape internment. He travelled to Germany and began working for the German English-language broadcaster. Joyce was not the original Lord Haw Haw, the nickname was first applied to another British propaganda broadcaster first heard in April 1939, but Joyce soon adopted it as his own. Joyce's broadcasts were notable for the degree of insight they demonstrated into the conditions being faced by Allied troops, and among the civilian population in Britain it was believed he ran a network of informers. For the troops, Joyce's broadcasts were a source of entertainment and his insults were often turned into badges of honour. The "Rats of Tobruk" is probably Joyce's best know insult, but he also branded the 9th Australian Division "Ali Baba Morshead and his 20,000 thieves" and 450 Squadron, RAAF adopted the title the "Desert Harassers" following another broadcast.

Joyce was captured in 1945 and put on trial for treason. His trial revolved around the issue of his citizenship. Joyce had become a German citizen in 1940 but it was ruled his British passport was valid up until this time, thus he owed allegiance to the British government during the early period of his broadcasts. Joyce was found guilty and hanged on 3 January 1946.


Date of birth 1906
Date of death 03 January 1946

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