[British Union of Fascists]. Manuscript Notes and Essays By C.F. Watts. Ascot and Peveril: No Publisher, 1940. First Edition. 12mo. Hardback. Manuscript. Good. pp, (of text, many others blank), manuscript notebook, approximately 115mm x 165mm in size, dated 1940 and 1941.
Binding in fair condition only, back strip loose and defective, front joint weak but holding, worn to extremities. Internally fairly bright and clean.
Notes by C.F. ‘Charlie’ Watts, a district leader (Westminster St George) in the BUF, who had been “charged by some of our comrades to keep it, get it out of camp and hand it to you [Mosley] in person”. The first section, in a neat hand, details the British Union’s organisation and objectives at Ascot Camp, in October 1940, where many 18b internees were held (people suspected of Nazi sympathies).
The second section details the celebrations held in the camp to mark Mosley’s birthday, with a drawing in ink of the stage set up, noting “it is a great pity that we are separated from our Leader at Brixton and our womenfolk at Holloway”, regional leaders of the BUF then give speeches, with the BUF choir then singing songs seemingly composed at the camp. The lyrics to these songs are then noted.
The third section lists many (all?) those interned at the time, with their names, district and ‘rank’.
The fourth section relates to another account of Mosley’s birthday, reported by C. Hill, to Watts, this is followed by a poem ‘To an Unknown Blackshirt’, later identified as [George] Palmer Thompson of High Wycombe, who died while interned in Walton Jail, followed by a song, ‘Defiance Song’, composed by J. Finnie in the Ascot Camp.
The final section is a retrospective look at life in the Ascot Camp, again written by Watts, by now interned in Peveril ‘Concentration’ Camp (on the Isle of Man). Watts notes that “I do not profess to be a great man and I realise only too well my limitations. I am just an ordinary person – fixed with a passionate regard for Oswald Mosley and interested solely in the spiritual aspect and destiny of British Union and when I look back on these days at Ascot, it is with profound pride”. Watts, once of the R.A.F., apparently served with T.E. Lawrence during the First World War. Many, but not all, of the men listed as internees are found in the online 18b detainees list.
Watts’ experiences in the camps were apparently later written down and called ‘It Has Happened Here’, but are unpublished; this note book could well be the original source of this later account