Right Wing extremists

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Right Wing extremists

Charles Bentinck-Budd (KV 2/2309-2313)

Budd has a position of some prominence in the history of the British Union of Fascists (BUF) as its first elected county councillor, in West Sussex. An associate of Oswald Mosley and friend of William Joyce, Budd was watched closely by the authorities, as can be seen from these files.

KV 2/2309 runs from 1933, when the local police began to report Budd's connections to the BUF in some detail, to 1940. There is correspondence relating to his arrest for riot and assault with Mosley in 1934 in Worthing, where Budd had his base. The file includes reports of his activities and some intercepted correspondence. It also contains references to his unstable mental state on account of the injuries received in the First World War. Budd was detained in June 1940 under section 18B of the defence regulations, and correspondence relating to this and to his appeal against internment are in KV 2/2310 (1940). This file also includes the original postcards sent to Budd from Germany in 1938 by his secretary, Miss Baker. One of these includes her brief first-hand account of her visit to a rally addressed by Hitler.

Budd was released from internment in May 1941, after a judge ruled that the original detention had been mishandled by the Home Office following Budd's application for a writ of habeus corpus. The case concerned staff at the Home Office, and one account on the file (KV 2/2311) states: "The Bentinck-Budd case has caused a serious commotion in the Home Office. They are shaken to the core about it…" Budd was re-interned on a new order in July 1941, and this new order stood up to legal scrutiny (as detailed in this and in KV 2/2312, covering 1942-1943). Budd was eventually released from internment due to ill-health, and the file shows how the Security Service intervened to prevent him re-enlisting in the Army. As Budd grew less active, the file on his activity gradually thins, but there is one last item of interest in KV 2/2313 (1944-1954), an original file taken from the Italian archives in Rome in 1946 of correspondence relating to Budd, including his appeals for copies of signed photographs of Mussolini. Budd himself wrote in June 1937: "It is unnecessary for me to say how proud I would be to be able to meet The Duce, before returning to England, to take up my Fascistic duties."

British Union of Fascists post 1940 (KV 3/277-283)

This collection of reconstructed files of Security Service information about the BUF after it was banned in 1940 give a detailed picture of the organisation and its activities from 1940 to 1945. The files, in reports from police authorities, memoranda, minutes and intercepted correspondence, give an account of the activities of the remaining adherents of the BUF after its leaders were interned in 1940.

KV 3/277 (1940-1942) includes reports on the effect of the internments on BUF activities, which ceased more or less entirely (serials 1701A and following). Roger Hollis's decision to implement the internments is noted at serial 1693B, and the file includes a photograph of seized BUF and Nazi badges. Towards the end of the file (e.g. at serial 1735A) we begin to see reports of the developing organisation of ex-BUF members led by Thomas Moran, which held meetings in pubs and in Hyde Park.

Further action against these ex-BUF members was considered and rejected in KV 3/278 (1942), where E B Stamp minuted on 15 June 1942: "We have a nucleus of a Fascist organisation which we are in a very strong position to watch. So long as it does no harm it seems to me a lot better to let it run than drive it into channels where we are not well placed to watch it." This opinion is backed up by an informant in the organisation, whose frequent reports on internal matters and communications (M/A reports) are found throughout these files. The report on Fascist activity since 1940 (the first of several in these files) at serial 1757A includes details of the early development of the British National Party (BNP).

A further report on the BNP drawn up for Regional Security Liaison Officers (RSLOs) is at 1802Z in KV 3/279. By October 1942, Stamp's view had changed and he recommended internment for more ex-BUF members (minute 1809 in KV 3/280).  KV 3/281 (1942-1943) contains much detail of the 18B Publicity Council's activities as it opposed such detentions, and the effect on ex-BUF members of the release of detainees, including Mosley, when it came in 1943, is recorded in KV 3/282 (for example at serial 1931A: "The only effect of MOSLEY's release on ex-BU members…has been to encourage some mild celebrations, chiefly health drinking.").

Branimar Jelic (KV 2/2307-2308)

Jelic was one of the foremost leaders of the Croatian Ustase movement in the inter-war period. His name is associated with the assassination of King Alexander of Yugoslavia in Marseilles in 1934, but these files reveal in some detail his wartime and post-war activities.

Jelic fell into British hands right at the start of the war, having been taken off an Italian ship, Conte di Savoia, as it returned to Europe from the United States. KV 2/2307 (1934-1946) describes how in an intelligence based operation a British destroyer intercepted his ship and removed him to Gibraltar in October 1939. The Yugoslav authorities declined to seek his deportation for fear of the political repercussions, and Jelic was sent to Britain where he was interned on the Isle of Man in June 1940. It was believed at the time (serial 10A) that Jelic's mission was to return to Europe to assassinate the Prince Regent of Yugoslavia. Safely interned, the authorities were able to keep a close watch on Jelic's correspondence, and though most have been weeded from the file, a few examples remain and it is possible to recreate the full cast of his contacts from the minute sheets. Jelic's own account of his activities is at serial 87A.

KV 2/2308 (1946-1953) covers Jelic's career after he was released. Somewhat to the dismay of the authorities, Jelic delayed some time before leaving Britain - the decision having been taken that he could not be deported to Yugoslavia because of his well-known opposition to Tito. It was not until 1949 that Jelic left to set up home in Germany.