Nazis in Norfolk

The ever excellent Malcolm Redfellow has another gem of a story on his blog about the author Henry Williamson, his Fascist leanings, his love of the Nazis and the fact that his North Norfolk house is for sale.

I cannot really add much more than that which has been written by Malcolm, but I wanted to add my own local knowledge on the subject of Henry Williamson.

From 2003 to 2005 I "adopted" Stiffkey, the wartime home of Henry Williamson. By adopted I mean I took responsibility for getting out Lib Dem leaflets to Stiffkey four or five times a year. In doing this, I got to know where all the letter boxes were, and started to bump in to the same people over and again and started to be able to chat with people about the local history of Stiffkey.

One man who had lived in Stiffkey all his life, told me that he and his parents knew Henry Williamson, and like many, they didn't care for him very much.

Aside from his arrest which Malcolm Redfollow writes about, according to the chap I knew, Wells police would regularly call on Mr Williamson, checking his house out regularly for radio equipment, and reminding him of the blackout precautions. Now it appears this was Williamson's biggest problem as he would light his house up well and leave the windows open for the light to shine out. So the story goes, he was asked by a group of locals who spoke to him about this, if he would close his curtains so that Stiffkey wouldn't be bombed, and Williamson's response was "Oh don't worry. I can assure you we won't be bombed".

Local's took this to be that Williamson was allowing the light from his house to be used as a marker as to where the North Norfolk coast was in order to aid German bombers.

Whatever the excuse, it appears that Williamson was a gullible fool if he believed the Nazi message. It is though pleasant to know that despite people liking to maintain Norfolk is a place full of easily fooled simple country folk, local people were never taken in by him.


Johnny Norfolk said...

Look how many believe labours message. See what it has done to us.

Fat Councillor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DespairingLiberal said...

The usual slur on working-class people from Johnny Norfolk - accusations of unpatriotism would be better levelled against those many (doubtless Tory-voting) aristocrats who actively colluded with the Nazis during the first few years of the war. Not to mention leading parts of the British system like the Daily Mail.

On the wartime Norfolk Nazi sympathisers theme, I recall a BBC programme a couple of years ago that looked into it in some detail - they revealed material from the archive releases showing a number of suspected drop points for German paratroopers had been prepared by British Nazis along the East coast - one particularly important one was I think in Lincolnshire. The farmer there was put under surveillance - the British intelligence officers investigating thought he was the organiser of a ring but could not get further evidence, so instead they just made it clear to him he would be given special treatment if the Nazis did make a showing - from the Brits!

Anonymous said...

When we said norfolk has a history of radicalism and progressive politics

I dont think anyone ever suggested it was the Conservatives

Long live "Hodge" the agricultural workers of Norfolk

Lord Haw haw was in the Tory Youth section and lets see what the establishment in Jersey did when the Germans goosestepped into town

ever Jewish person escorted to the prison camps and death - with the help of the British establishment and a friendly British Bobby

Cannot recall all those in the jersey Resistance movement but non were Conservatives

Paul said...

Stiffkey is is my favourite hamlet. Who wudda thunk it had a racy history?