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British Union of Fascists

Article about: Would appreciate thoughts on the authenticity of this British Union of Fascists pin-back badge? These are unfamiliar territory for me so any information will be gratefully received.

  1. #31
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    Default Re: British Union of Fascists badge?

    Here are some BUF posters which sold on eBay some years ago.Click image for larger version. 

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  2. #32
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    Default Re: British Union of Fascists badge?

    Eddy, thank you for those posters – fascinating. They were sent out each week from BU National Headquarters (NHQ) to districts with their order of Action and Blackshirt. Action was the main propaganda medium of the movement and considerable efforts were expended in getting it out on the streets. In fact, selling the paper was one of the obligations of being an Active or '1st Diversion' Blackshirt. I’ve included a picture or two of the posters in use by paper sellers (late 1930s) – they originated in the Life archive. There is also a press picture of paper sellers outside the town hall in Northampton in 1936.

    When BU introduced their military style uniform in February 1936 -- peaked cap, breeches, jackboots and tunic -- it was officially the Action press seller’s livery. See below for a contemporary cartoon satirising the new uniform; some BU members were themselves unsure that it was a good thing and it certainly contributed to the banning of political uniforms under the Public Order Act (1936). See below for a cartoon issued at the beginning of 1937 mourning the loss of the uniform but looking forward to the day of the fascist revolution when it could be donned again. It was probably by Alexander Bowie ('Bowie'), the most successful of the movement's cartoonists.

    I especially like the 'Hands off Cyclists' poster. When I was researching the history of the BU branch in Northampton, I had the good fortune to interview the former District Treasurer and his wife. Both of them had also been keen cyclists in the 1930s, as were many other of the local members. BU had a disproportionate share of young men and women in the 16-25 age range and so many members keen on cycling and on cars, motorbikes and even flying. There was a BU Cycling Section or 'Blackshirt Wheelers' that organised a few runs and similar activities. In terms of collecting, there were also pennants and other accoutrements targeted at the cyclist.

    As to the ‘politics’, I just concentrate on researching the past in the fullest way I can and then write about it in as fair and accurate a way as I can.

    Philip C.

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  3. #33
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    Default Re: British Union of Fascists badge?

    Follow this link and there is some film from around the outbreak of war that shows BU Action sellers: Steven Spielberg Film and Video Archive -- RG-60.4063 The film is from the US 'March of Time' series. The archive has some rare material, including some original BUF propaganda film (Steven Spielberg Film and Video Archive -- RG-60.3350). Note that the BU film starts at 1.02 mins, being preceded by some home movies attributed to Hitler's butler! Such films do survive in private hands but this is the only public source that I know of.

    P

  4. #34

    Default Re: British Union of Fascists badge?

    Briish Pathe News also has a few B.U.F. news clips:
    B.U.F - British Pathé
    I collect, therefore I am.

    Nothing in science can explain how consciousness arose from matter.

  5. #35
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    Default Re: British Union of Fascists badge?

    Some nice pictures and illustrations Philip, most I these I've never seen before. Also many thanks for the information, bits I knew but most I didn't or had forgotten.I did know that the posters were distributed with the newspaper, a friend has an 'Action' poster and it is numbered with the edition number on the bottom right hand corner. Incidentally, the posters shown above (plus a few he didn't sell)were apparently found by a dealer all rolled up in an attic, he destroyed a number that mentioned Hitler / Jews which is the same as burning money and a crazy thing to do. I hate to think what an example of the car/cycle pennant would sell for.

  6. #36
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    Default Re: British Union of Fascists badge?

    Quote by 4thskorpion View Post
    Briish Pathe News also has a few B.U.F. news clips:
    B.U.F - British Pathé
    Just had a look many thanks a great find.

  7. #37
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    Default Re: British Union of Fascists badge?

    Quote by DrPMC View Post
    Follow this link and there is some film from around the outbreak of war that shows BU Action sellers: Steven Spielberg Film and Video Archive -- RG-60.4063 The film is from the US 'March of Time' series. The archive has some rare material, including some original BUF propaganda film (Steven Spielberg Film and Video Archive -- RG-60.3350). Note that the BU film starts at 1.02 mins, being preceded by some home movies attributed to Hitler's butler! Such films do survive in private hands but this is the only public source that I know of.

    P
    It just shows that there is film out there, however, as you say very little is in the public domain. I am told that there is still a considerable amount in Italy. That should keep me busy this evening. Many thanks once again !

  8. #38
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    Default Re: British Union of Fascists badge?

    QUOTE=EddyR;933058]It just shows that there is film out there, however, as you say very little is in the public domain. I am told that there is still a considerable amount in Italy. That should keep me busy this evening. Many thanks once again ![/QUOTE]


    Is this archive films from the BUF? - I'd be interested to hear more about this.

    It would make sense if there were such films in Italy. Those less acquainted with the history of the British Union of Fascists may not be aware of how significant the links between the BUF and the Italian Fascist state were. The centrepiece of Mosley's 'Greater Britain' was a corporate state with similarities to the Italian model and obviously the BUF also used the fasces as their main symbol until the mid-1930s. Most important was the large subsidies passed from Rome to the BUF from 1933 until 1937, when their sudden ending caused a crisis in the movement. I suppose it would have made a lot of sense to send films to show Mussolini what he was getting for his money. Dependence on Italian funding may have also partly explained the considerable campaigning of the BUF against intervention or sanctions following the Italian invasion of Abyssinia in 1935. There were also a number of BUF branches in Italy, which catered for ex-pats.

    I've included a few pictures relating to the Italian link: There is a well known one of Mosley with Mussolini on the occasion of the former's visit to Rome in spring 1933. In another, the British visitors are displaying the banner that they were given during the visit. This isn't really seen after the visit to Italy and seems to have disappeared, although I have heard rumours that it survives in private hands somewhere. There is also a picture taken outside of the exhibition for the tenth anniversary of the Fascist revolution (Mostra Rivoluzione Fascista) during the same visit. The Mostra Rivoluzione Fascista was a matter of great prestige and favourite backdrop for official photographs - I've included an image of its striking facade. Although the quality is appalling I have also scanned a picture of Mosley inspecting Italian veterans of the 'March on Rome' on a reciprocal visit during the Summer of 1933. Kay Fredericks, the BUF photographer, suggested that one of the party was discovered in the wine cellar of Mosley's house at Denham, having indulged in more than one vintage bottle!

    Philip


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  9. #39

    Default Re: British Union of Fascists badge?

    Thanks to all for an excellent, interesting and informative thread!

    Cheers, Ade.
    Had good advice? Saved money? Why not become a Gold Club Member, just hit the green "Join WRF Club" tab at the top of the page and help support the forum!

  10. #40
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    Default Re: British Union of Fascists badge?

    I understand the film on the BUF was taken by the Italian Fascist film organisation (whose name I can't remember), I guess this was a bit like Hoffman who sent a photographer over from Germany in 1936 to take photos of the BUF, various shots exist of the BUF NHQ, the interior of the Bethnal Green offices etc , all with the Hoffman stamp and German address on the reverse.
    Some more nice photos Philip, more for my records.
    I've attached another leaflet for a Mosley meeting, I would think 1939.

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