Sir Oswald Mosley was born in 1896 at Rolleston Hall, near Burton-on-Trent to an aristocratic family of prosperous landowners. He was educated at Winchester and went on to train for a military career at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst.
At the outbreak war in 1914, Mosley was commissioned into the Queens Lancers. He later transferred to the Royal Flying Corps, the predecessor of today’s Royal Air Force, where sadly he was injured when his plane crashed. He was hence transferred to his unit and fought in the second battle of Ypres. At the end of the war in 1918 Mosley witnessed the first major betrayal of our brave servicemen by the government. Instead of returning from the war to “a land fit for heroes” as promised, returning soldiers, sailors and airmen faced unemployment, poor housing and poverty. This betrayal inspired Mosley to stand for Parliament himself and in the election of 1918, aged just 22, he was elected as the Conservative MP for Harrow. Four years later, in 1922 Mosley, frustrated with the lack of action by the Conservative government, left and stood as an Independent in the 1922 general election. He was re-elected in Harrow. In 1924 Mosley was enticed into joining the Labour Party and following its election victory in 1929 he became a Minister, with special responsibility for unemployment.
Mosley tacked this task with relish but his plans for job creation were resisted by elements of big business. The Labour government showed no sign of taking on the business barons, and so Mosley resigned his seat in 1931. Mosley was always a keen observer of European politics and became fascinated with the success of the Italian Fascist leader, Benito Mussolini in tackling unemployment in Italy. Convinced that Mussolini’s economic policies could work for Britain, Mosley formed the British Union of Fascists on the 1st of October 1932. Learning a lesson from his time in the armed forces that a common uniform unites people of every class, Mosley’s “Blackshirts” became the only uniformed political party in Britain. During the next few years Mosley visited Germany to witness the National Socialist economic revolution of Adolf Hitler, and Italy for discussions with Mussolini. The Blackshirts were gathering massive support in Britain with outdoor meetings regularly attended by tens of thousands of people. But unfortunately the clouds of another war were gathering. Mosley viewed the situation in Europe as being nothing to do with Britain and launched a peace initiative under the title… “Mind Britain’s Business”. Unfortunately, Mosley’s Peace campaign failed and the internationalists and the warmongers committed another generation of Britons to destruction and slaughter. At the outbreak of war, Mosley, ever the patriot, instructed his members to “Stand by the King and fight for Britain”. It is somewhat ironic that the first two recorded British casualties of the war were both members of the Blackshirts, flying a plane, fighting in a war that they didn’t believe should be happening.
The establishment figures and their often shadowy backers, who had been advocating war with Germany since 1933 could not forgive Mosley for nearly ruining their plans for war and had him interned as a political prisoner, a threat to national security, under the now infamous “Defence Regulation 18B”. Mosley was incarcerated in Brixton prison. All over Britain members of the BUF were being arrested as threats to national security, and it was a complete farce. For instance in 1940, Eric Hamilton Piercy a former Blackshirt official took his small boat “The Advance” to France to rescue British troops from the beaches of Dunkirk. Piercy and a fellow Blackshirt, Colin Dick collected over 500 British soldiers from the beaches and ferried them to larger waiting ships. Most of this time they were under attack by German Stuka dive-bombers. On arriving back in Britain, Piercy and Dick were arrested and imprisoned under 18B. The warmongers were extracting their revenge!
In 1948, with Britain slowly recovering from six years of war Mosley re-entered politics with a new party, Union Movement and a new concept, Europe a Nation!
Mosley saw the need for a strong unified Europe if the European peoples were to survive sandwiched between Communist Russia and the United States. He took care to emphasise that Europe a Nation would preserve individual language, culture and identity.
Europe a Nation would simply be “a people or peoples who have decided to have the same government”. An “extension of patriotism”. By the mid 1950s Union Movement could put upwards of 1000 men plus a drum and flag corps on to the streets. They had three premises in London and offices in Manchester and Birmingham. In local elections they regularly polled between 20% and 33%. In 1970 Union Movement fielded 32 candidates in the London GLC elections and polled over 10,000 votes. But the days of mass street marches were effectively over and television became the way to the masses. Of course the television media was strictly controlled by Mosley’s enemies and for Mosley this was the beginning of the end. He retired to France and sadly died in 1980 aged 84.