Sunday, 22 November 2015

High Treason!

The famous cases of treason and the culprits being executed were William Joyce (Lord Haw-Haw) just after WW2 and Sir Roger Casement in WW1. A name not generally thrown into the mix is that of John Amery.  Is the reason because his father was a member of the Churchill War Cabinet?  However, Amery led a spoiled life due to the prominent position, and expected daddy to be there to bail him out every he ended up in financial trouble.  Amery had married whilst a young man but he ran in trouble in Paris when he could not meet his expenditure by cheque.  He was arrested by French Police and sent to prison.  After release, he was extradited back to England and taken to court by his creditors.  But his parents finally refused to clear his debts and so he was made bankrupt.  He then left the country to travel to Spain and joined the Spanish Civil War and began gunrunning for Franco`s forces.  He then became a fascist.  He moved onto France after the conflict ended and the Germans recruited him in 1940.  He began making propaganda films for the Nazis and tried to convince British prisoners of war, to fight the Russians on behalf of the Fuhrer.

    He was so well thought of by the Nazis that he was asked to go to Italy and meet Mussolini but this did not occur.  Amery was taken prisoner by Italian partisans who in turn, handed him over to the British.  He was immediately transported to England to face charges of high treason.  His defence was that he was officially a Spanish citizen and therefore could not be charged as a traitor.  Asked to produce proof, all he had was a residence permit.  He decided he was on a loser and so he put his hands up.  He pleaded guilty.  He was prosecuted by Sir Hartley Shawcross and defended by Mr Slade.  The judge, Mr Justice Humphreys passed the sentence of death.  The proceedings lasted just under ten minutes.  Amery was hanged at Pentonville Prison on December 19th 1945 by Albert Pierrepoint and Henry Critchell.