The British Empire and its effect on Plymouth

Oswald Mosley

Oswald Mosley identified the port city of Plymouth as being favourable territory to launch his British Union of Fascists in the Westcountry. He sent Richard Plathen to establish an elaborate headquarters on Lockyer Street complete with barracks, gym, bars and a canteen. Mosley himself visited the city twice. In the first visit he spoke at Plymouth Guildhall in December 1933. However, his party started losing support in 1934 as Hitler's methods became more apparent and Oswald's blackshirts started to become discredited. In an attempt to shore up support in the West Country, Mosely flew into Plymouth Airport in October to give a speech in the Drill Hall on West Hoe. With 50 attendant blackshirts acting as guards in a hall of nearly 4,000 it descended to farce when the electricity blew and the lights went out. Blackshirts lashed out and as a photographer from the Western Morning News tried to take a photograph of the fighting, he himself became a target of the heavies. The press turned on his BUF and financial difficulties led to Moseley winding up the Plymouth Fascist headquarters and leaving the city the following year.

Empire in Your Backyard: Plymouth Article | Significant Individuals

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by Stephen Luscombe