Frank McLardy

George Frank McLardy MPS (17 November 1915[1] – 16 December 1981[2])[3] was a member of the British Union of Fascists, a British Nazi collaborator and an Unterscharführer[4] in the Waffen-SS British Free Corps during the Second World War.

Frank McLardy
George Frank McLardy

17 November 1915
Died16 December 1981 (aged 66)
Other namesFrank Wood, McLaren, McLeod
EducationSt Edmund's School, Waterloo
St Mary's College, Crosby
OccupationBritish Free Corps; pharmacist
Political partyBritish Union of Fascists

Early life

George Frank McLardy was born at 8 Sweden Grove, Waterloo, Lancashire in 1915, the eldest son of a draper, George McLardy, and his wife Mary (née Wood) McLardy. He had two younger brothers. He attended St Edmund's School, Waterloo and St Mary's College, Crosby, where he was a member of the First XV rugby and First XI cricket teams.[5] Academically bright, McLardy progressed into St Mary's College Sixth Form.

Upon leaving school in 1934 he studied pharmacy at the Liverpool School of Pharmacy.[6] McLardy subsequently moved with his family to live in nearby Formby, where he was articled to a chemist. He qualified as a Member of the Pharmaceutical Society in October 1939.

That same year he joined the British Union of Fascists (BUF), becoming first district treasurer, then district leader in Waterloo. McLardy sold the BUF magazine Action around Crosby and Waterloo, and held his BUF meetings in a local public house, The Crosby Hotel. The intelligence service MI5 began monitoring his activities in July 1937.

World War II

On the outbreak of World War II, McLardy volunteered for the Royal Army Medical Corps. He was posted to Aldershot, and owing to his qualifications, was promoted to the rank of sergeant. On 9 May 1940, he landed in France with the British Expeditionary Force. After pushing as far north as Brussels, his unit was beaten back by the Germans towards Dunkirk.

McLardy was captured near Wormhoudt on 31 May 1940. It was suspected that he deliberately became separated from his unit to be captured. He was sent first to Stalag XX-A at Thorn, and soon on to Stalag XXI-A at Schildberg (both in Poland). For three years McLardy remained in Schildberg as an ordinary prisoner of war, performing medical duties for his fellow prisoners in the camp hospital.

Around this time McLardy began complaining of "heart trouble" and "ear problems." He hoped for repatriation to the UK. His hopes were dashed in September 1943, however, when he was told that instead he would be moving to Stalag XXI-D at Posen, reputedly the worst camp in Poland.


McLardy claimed that he "would not survive another Polish winter", and recalled a conversation with a "Dutch officer" in Stalag XXI-A who stated that he had applied to join the Waffen-SS with a view to ultimately escape. McLardy approached a surprised Abwehr officer at Schildberg with the request that he might join the Waffen-SS. His application, written in his own hand in English was translated into German, then typed and forwarded to Berlin.

It stated "I hereby apply to offer my services to Germany in the common struggle against Bolshevism and I express my willingness to serve as a soldier against Soviet Russia." Frank McLardy thus became the first British POW of World War II to volunteer to join the German armed forces. A reply was received three weeks later when an Abwehr guard arrived at the camp to escort him to Berlin.

British Free Corps

Two early members of the BFC, SS-Mann Kenneth Berry and Sturmmann Alfred Minchin, with German officers, April 1944

McLardy was taken first to Stalag IIID/517S at Genshagen, south of Berlin. This was a "holiday" or Propaganda Camp established by the Germans in early 1943. Batches of prisoners from other camps were regularly sent there and offered special privileges in an attempt to undermine their loyalty.

A recurring dream of Hitler's was the propaganda value of a battalion of British POWs who might be persuaded to go into battle against the Russians. An early attempt at recruitment had ended in abject failure. The Legion of St George had been the brainchild of John Amery. He toured the internment camps of France, distributing leaflets entitled "Why die for Stalin? Why die for the Jews?"

His only recruit was Kenneth Berry, a 17-year-old deckhand from a sunken ammunition ship, and Amery was soon sidelined by the Germans. But a group of men at Stalag IIID now caught the Germans' eye as the potential nucleus for another attempt to form such a foreign legion. Soon to be known as the "Big Six", they were William Brittain, New Zealander Roy Courlander, Canadian Edwin Barnard Martin, Seaman Alfred Minchin and McLardy.

These men were packed off to a requisitioned bierkeller in Pankow, Berlin and placed under the tutelage of Thomas Haller Cooper, a half-German who had already served in the SS Totenkopf and SS Polizei Division and boasted of committing atrocities against Jews and Russian POWs in Poland. The group decided among themselves to change the name of the Legion to the British Free Corps and soon set about designing uniforms and recruitment leaflets.

McLardy was given the rank of SS-Unterscharführer, and put in charge of propaganda. Most members of the BFC changed their names on enlistment, and McLardy went under his mother's surname of Wood. He regularly travelled to prisoner of war camps, dressed as a civilian, dropping off leaflets and interviewing likely recruits, claiming that there were two full divisions of the BFC – one, led by British officers, supposedly already fighting the Russians with the approval of the British government.

In expectation of a surge of recruits, in February 1944 the BFC were moved to an SS barracks at Hildesheim, a former monastery converted into the SS Nordic Study Centre. The optimistic Germans had 800 Waffen-SS uniforms made, sporting a collar patch with three lions, and a union jack shield on the sleeve together with a "British Free Corps" armband in Gothic script.

Recruits, many realising they had been duped, were subjected to lectures from McLardy on Economics, Bolshevism and the German language, and forced to give Nazi salutes to McLardy and the other ringleaders of the BFC. He would later be described by them as "capable and intelligent", a "fanatical fascist", who "hoped for a fascist England", but "a physical and moral coward", "very anti-Jewish and anti-Russian", "a very learned man of high education", "reserved", but who when aroused "would talk for hours on National Socialism."

Some members of the BFC stayed in it merely for an easy time, the beer and the chance to fraternise with local women. Others attempted to sabotage it, or demanded to be sent back to their POW camps. A schism developed in April 1944, when a group took exception to McLardy's increasingly pro-Nazi, anti-British harangues, and fisticuffs ensued. Thereafter McLardy, Courlander and Co. slept in a separate room, under pictures of Hitler, Himmler and the Nazi flag, while newer recruits occupied a room in which a picture of the Duke of Windsor had pride of place.

On Hitler's birthday, 20 April 1944, the BFC paraded in full uniform for the first time. The Corps continued to be riven by intrigue with Cooper, McLardy and Courlander all jockeying for control, at odds among themselves and with their German masters. Fewer than 60 men ever joined the BFC and its strength never rose above 27, three below the number Hitler had stipulated as the minimum for it to go into battle. By August 1944, McLardy, realising the British Free Corps was a failure, decided to abandon it and volunteered for the Waffen-SS Sanitätswesen (Medical Corps).


He was posted to the SS medical supply depot at Lichtenberg, and in his own words "wore an ordinary SS uniform and lived the life of a German soldier." Towards the end of 1944, McLardy was selected for officer training. He was sent first to Graz, then to Stettin to commence his training. He realised the end of the war was near, and had no intention of becoming part of a last-ditch effort of the SS to defend the Third Reich. On reporting to Stettin in January 1945 he reported sick and was excused duties, and allowed to return to Berlin.

McLardy went to the SS Head Office and was offered work at the Rundfunkhaus and with the SS-Standarte Kurt Eggers. Desiring neither, he managed to dupe the SS into granting him leave, thinking he had accepted both. McLardy donned civilian clothes and went to ground in Berlin, living at 33 Sächsische Strasse, while he plotted his escape from the crumbling capital.

In early April he learned that the Propaganda Ministry's Büro Concordia was abandoning Berlin for Helmstedt, and persuaded them to take him along. He declined the job of broadcaster, but instead offered to "monitor" Allied broadcasts. McLardy left Berlin on 10 April 1945. By the time they reached Helmstedt the Reich was falling apart, and after a week McLardy told his associates he was heading for Hamburg.

Instead, he posed as a Belgian, and after hiding on a farm at Döhren for two days, surrendered to the arriving Americans. He was handed into British custody on 19 April 1945 and repatriated to the UK on 13 May 1945.


McLardy was charged with voluntarily aiding the enemy whilst a prisoner of war. He was court-martialled at Blacon Camp, near Chester and sentenced to life imprisonment on 1 January 1946.[7]

Security Service files on him are held by the National Archives under references KV 2/251 and KV 2/252. The sentence was later commuted to 15 years, of which McLardy served seven. McLardy received the heaviest sentence of those convicted of membership of the British Free Corps. He served his sentence first at HM Prison Parkhurst, then in open prisons. During his imprisonment McLardy studied for an external degree in chemistry from Cambridge University.

Last years

Upon his release in 1953, he emigrated to Germany, married a German woman and had two sons. He worked as a pharmacist and died in 1981 at Ingelheim am Rhein, near Mainz, aged 66.

In popular culture

The British Free Corps is featured in Jack Higgins' World War II thriller The Eagle Has Landed. In 2010, an episode of Foyle's War concerned a member of the BFC put on trial for treason after the war.


Frank McLardy in 1934

Frank McLardy, St Mary's College First XI cricket team, 1934

Frank McLardy RAMC

Sergeant McLardy in RAMC uniform, 1940

See also


  1. ^ GRO Register of Births: DEC 1915 McLardy, George F, mother's surname Wood WEST DERBY 8b 397
  2. ^ GRO Register of Overseas Deaths: 1981 McLARDY, George Frank, DoB=17 November 1915 Frankfurt C110/1982
  3. ^ Some later references spell the surname MacLardy or Maclardy, but these are incorrect.
  4. ^ Weale, Adrian (12 November 2014). Renegades (Kindle Location 2342). Random House. Kindle Edition
  5. ^ St. Mary's College Yearbook, 1934 pp 15, 35-39
  6. ^ Founded 1849, now part of Liverpool John Moores University
  7. ^ "Life Sentence For Aiding Enemy", Times, London, 30 January 1946: pg. 2 via Times Digital Archive; accessed 20 March 2015.


  • Security Service File from the National Archives
  • Renegades: Hitler's Englishmen, Adrian Weale, 2002 Pimlico: ISBN 978-0-7126-6764-7
  • "Life Sentence For Aiding Enemy." Times, London, England, 30 January 1946, pg. 2, via Times Digital Archive, 18 February 2015.

External links

Adam Marshall Diston

Adam Marshall Diston (1893–1956; born in Scotland) was a journalist for the Sunday Dispatch and ghostwriter for Winston Churchill. He had 'close affinities' to Oswald Mosley's British Union of Fascists. He had a military background, serving in a Scottish regiment from 1914-1918.

British Free Corps

The British Free Corps (German: Britisches Freikorps) was a unit of the Waffen-SS during World War II, consisting of British and Dominion prisoners of war who had been recruited by Nazi Germany. The unit was originally known as the Legion of St George. Research by British historian Adrian Weale has identified 54 men who belonged to this unit at one time or another, some for only a few days. At no time did it reach more than 27 men in strength.

English Defence League

The English Defence League (EDL) is a far-right, Islamophobic organisation in the United Kingdom. A social movement and pressure group that employs street demonstrations as its main tactic, the EDL presents itself as a single-issue movement opposed to Islamism and Islamic extremism, although its rhetoric and actions target Islam and Muslims more widely. Founded in 2009, its heyday lasted until 2011, after which it entered a decline. It is presently chaired by Tim Ablitt.

Established in London, the EDL coalesced around several football hooligan firms protesting the public presence of the small Salafi Islamist group Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaah in Luton, Bedfordshire. Tommy Robinson, a former member of the British National Party (BNP), soon became its de facto leader. The organisation grew swiftly, holding demonstrations across England and often clashing with anti-fascist protesters from Unite Against Fascism and other groups, who deemed it a racist organisation victimising British Muslims. The EDL also established a strong social media presence on Facebook and YouTube. Moving towards electoral politics, it established formal links with the far-right British Freedom Party, a breakaway from the BNP. The EDL's reputation was damaged in 2011 after supporters were convicted of plotting to bomb mosques and links were revealed with Norwegian far-right terrorist Anders Breivik. In 2013 Robinson—supported by the Quilliam think tank—left the group; he claimed it had become too extreme, and established the rival Pegida UK. The group's membership declined significantly following Robinson's departure and various branches declared independence.

Ideologically on the extreme-right or far-right of British politics, the EDL is part of the international counter-jihad movement. Officially, it presents itself as being opposed to Islamism, Islamic extremism, and jihadism, although its rhetoric repeatedly conflates these with Islam and Muslims more broadly. Rejecting the idea that Muslims can truly be English, the EDL presents Islam as an intolerant, primitive threat seeking to take over Europe. Political scientists and other commentators have characterised this Islamophobic stance as culturally racist. Both online and at its events, EDL members have incited violence against Muslims, with supporters carrying out violent acts both at demonstrations and independently. The EDL's broader ideology features nationalism and populism, blaming a perceived decline in English culture on high immigration rates and an uncaring political elite. It distinguished itself from Britain's traditional far-right by rejecting biological racism, anti-Semitism, and homophobia. Although several of its leaders were previously involved in fascist organisations and some neo-Nazis and other fascists attended EDL events, commentators differ on whether the EDL itself is ideologically fascist or not.

Headed by a small leadership team, the EDL sub-divided into over 90 local and thematic divisions, each with considerable autonomy. Its support base consisted primarily of young, working-class white British men, some from established far-right and football hooligan subcultures. Polls indicated that most UK citizens opposed the EDL, and the group was repeatedly challenged by anti-fascist groups. Many local councils and police forces discouraged EDL marches, citing the high financial cost of policing them, the disruptive influence on community harmony, and the damage caused to counter-terrorism operations.

Football Lads Alliance

The Football Lads Alliance (FLA) is a movement in the United Kingdom founded by John Meighan in 2017. According to The Times, "the movement was set up as a self-proclaimed 'anti-extremist' movement" but has increasingly become associated with far-right politics and far-right activists.The Premier League has warned clubs that "the group is using fans and stadiums to push an anti-Muslim agenda". Concern has also been expressed that the Alliance is "giving cover to the far right" and "uses a secret Facebook page full of violent, racist and misogynistic posts".


Formby is a civil parish and town in the Metropolitan Borough of Sefton, Merseyside, England, which had a population of 22,419 at the 2011 Census.Historically in Lancashire, three manors are recorded in the Domesday Book under "Fornebei", Halsall, Walton and Poynton. Cockle raking and shrimp fishing lasted into the 19th century. By 1872, the township and sub-district was made up of two chapelries (St. Peter and St. Luke), Birkdale township, the hamlets of Ainsdale and Raven-Meols and Altcar parish. Formby was built on the plain adjoining the Irish Sea coast a few miles north of the Crosby channel.A commuter town for Liverpool, it is also a popular tourist destination in the summer months, with day trippers attracted to its beaches, sand dunes and wildlife, particularly the endangered red squirrel and natterjack toad. The area is conserved by the National Trust, and designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

Kenneth Berry (British Free Corps)

Kenneth Edward Jordan Berry was a British seaman who was taken prisoner of war in 1940 when his ship was sunk. While in prison camp he was persuaded to join the British Free Corps of the Waffen-SS as an SS-Mann during the Second World War. He was associated with the unit until 29 April 1945, when he could not be found when the Corps were leaving Neustrelitz, and was left behind. He received a nine-month sentence after the War, 'the lightest sentence passed on any traitor'.

List of Christian Brothers school alumni

Since 1802, the Congregation of Christian Brothers have been engaged in education throughout the world. The religious institute, founded by Blessed Edmund Rice, opened its first school on Waterford's New Street in 1802. The following is a list of alumni of Christian Brothers educational institutions.

This list does NOT contain alumni of institutions operated by the French organization, De La Salle Brothers (also known as the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools, the Brothers of the Christian Schools, the Lasallian Brothers, and the French Christian Brothers).

The alumni are listed as follows:

Name – occupation or significance – school

List of members of the British Free Corps

This is a list of members of the British Free Corps. It is based on the list printed in Appendix 5 of Adrian Weale. Renegades: Hitler's Englishmen. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1994. ISBN 0-7126-6764-4. The Corps (German: Britisches Freikorps) was a unit of the Waffen SS during World War II consisting of British and Dominion prisoners of war who had been recruited by the Nazis. The Corps used the SS rank structure. The column 'MI5 no.' refers to the number allocated to the member in question in MI5's Report on the British Free Corps dated 27 March 1945, which is printed in Appendix 1 of 'Renegades'. Starting in February 1944, BFC members were ordered to adopt aliases for official purposes, although several declined to do so.After the War, some members of the Corps were prosecuted. Of those members, those who had been serving in the armed forces were court-martialed, while the merchant seamen and other civilians were tried in the Old Bailey. The column 'Seymer Category' refers to a list prepared by Colonel Vivian Home Seymer of MI5 on 30 August 1945 and which is held in file KV 2/2828, entitled 'The British Free Corps. Papers about the military unit established by the German authorities to exploit renegade British prisoners of war' in the National Archives

Another list, containing at least 165 names, appears in Richard Landwehr, Britisches Freikorps PP77–88, Lulu, 2008. ISBN 0-5570-3362-4. However: -

The author records many members of the Corps separately under their real names and their aliases, as set out in the list below.

He includes Wilhelm August 'Bob' Rössler (4), Walter Plauen (100) (an alias used in 'Jackals of the Reich' PP 20 ff for "Hauptmann Werner Plack of the England Committee … Amery’s aide-cum-minder") and ‘Fred’ Stürmer (156) (who appears on page 106 of 'Jackals of the Reich' as Captain Harry Mehner (106)) who were Germans connected with the Corps.

He includes men who served in other German units (see list below), without citing any reference stating that they were also in the British Free Corps.

He includes John Amery (1), George Logio (86) and Maurice Tunmer (90), who were involved with the 'Legion of St George', a forerunner of the Corps - 'Tunmer, through contacts in the French Resistance, was organizing a journey across the Pyrenees so that he could travel to Britain and join de Gaulle’s Free French forces in England.'

He includes Raymond Davies Hughes (47), Arthur Chapple (52), Carl Hoskins (159), R. Spillman (161), William Humphrey Griffiths (163) who were 'Service renegades [who had] been employed in editing, writing scripts, and broadcasting for the enemy, and in certain cases the same men [were] also employed in journalism'. - this category also covers Railton Freeman and Walter Purdy who also served in the SS-Standarte Kurt Eggers.

He includes Gordon Bowler (20), John Henry Owen Brown DCM (49) (a British espionage agent), Douglas Maylin (76), Joseph Trinder (84) and RAF Bombardier Marshall (85), who had all been on the ‘staff’ at a 'holiday camp' set up by the Germans in Genshagen, a suburb of Berlin, in August 1943 - Maylin decided to join the Corps but was prevented from doing so by Thomas Haller Cooper

He includes Sgt. Cushing (60), Pte. Walsh (61), Pte. O’Brien (62) and Pte. Murphy (63), "four Irishmen who ... eventually found themselves incarcerated in a special compound of Sachsenhausen concentration camp as German doubts about their essential loyalties grew. The Germans were right to be sceptical: none of the four had any real intention of working for the Nazis ... they finished the war with no stain on their characters." See Friesack Camp#Training.

He includes John Welch (92), who was on the 'staff' of an interrogation camp at Luckenwalde.

He includes 'Lieutenant Tyndal of the US Army Air Corps - this man is referred to as 'Lieutenant Tyndall' on page 80 of 'Jackals of the Reich', whose author states on page 10 that he has 'given every man a pseudonym'. This may be a reference to Martin James Monti, but Landwehr gives no reference that he was either a British subject or a member of the British Free Corps.

He includes Harold Cole (158), a British soldier who assisted and later betrayed the French Resistance during World War II, and who was killed while resisting arrest after the war ended. He cites no reference that Cole was a member of the Corps.


McLardy is a surname. Notable people with the surname include:

Alexander McLardy (1867–1913), Scottish footballer

Andrew McLardy (born 1974), South African golfer

Frank McLardy (1915–1981), English fascist and Nazi collaborator

Roy Courlander

Roy Nicolas Courlander, (6 December 1914 – 1 June 1979), nicknamed 'Reg', was a British-born New Zealand soldier who became an Unterscharführer in the German Waffen-SS British Free Corps during the Second World War.

Sharon Ebanks

Sharon Elizabeth Ebanks (born 1967 or 1968) is a former member of the British National Party and one of the founder members of the New Nationalist Party. In 2006, she was wrongly declared elected to Birmingham City Council.

St Mary's College, Crosby

St Mary's College is an independent Roman Catholic coeducational school in Crosby, Merseyside, about 7 miles (11 km) north of Liverpool. It comprises an early years department "Bright Sparks" (age 4 and under), preparatory school known as "The Mount" (age 4-11) and secondary school with a 6th Form (age 11-18). It was formerly a direct grant grammar school for boys, founded and controlled by the Christian Brothers order. Notable alumni include John Birt, Roger McGough, Tony Booth and Cardinal Vincent Nichols.

Stalag XX-A

Stalag XX-A was a German World War II prisoner of war camp located in Thorn/Toruń, Poland. It was not a single camp and contained as many as 20,000 men at its peak. The main camp was located in a complex of fifteen forts that surrounded the whole of the city. The forts had been built at the end of the 19th century to defend the western border of Kingdom of Prussia.

The Link (UK organization)

The Link was established in July 1937 as an 'independent non-party organisation to promote Anglo-German friendship'. It generally operated as a cultural organisation, although its journal, the Anglo-German Review, reflected the pro-Nazi views of Barry Domvile, and particularly in London it attracted a number of anti-semites and pro-Nazis. At its height the membership numbered around 4,300.

The Link was opposed to war between Britain and Germany, and because of this attracted the support of some British pacifists. When The Link and the Anglo-German Review were included among a number of peace organisations across the political spectrum in the Peace Service Handbook (a publication put out by the Peace Pledge Union), the Daily Telegraph and The News Chronicle published articles accusing the PPU of supporting Nazism. In response, PPU member Stuart Morris wrote to the papers stating there was no connection between the PPU and The Link, and that the former organisation did not support the German demand for colonies or peace at the expense of smaller nations. The PPU also sent a letter to its group leaders dissociating The Link from the PPU, and ceased publishing the Peace Service Handbook.The organisation was investigated by Maxwell Knight, head of counter-subversion in MI5 and future role model for James Bond's boss M. The organisation closed shortly after the start of World War II in 1939.

Barry Domvile was interned in 1940 as someone who might "endanger the safety of the realm".According to Anthony Masters, the Link was allegedly resurrected in 1940 by Ian Fleming, then working in the Department of Naval Intelligence, in order to successfully lure Rudolf Hess (deputy party leader and third in leadership of Germany, after Adolf Hitler and Hermann Göring) to Britain in May 1941.

Thomas Haller Cooper

Thomas Haller Cooper, (29 August 1919 – 1987), also known as Tom Böttcher, was a member of the German Waffen-SS British Free Corps and former member of the British Union of Fascists.

Waterloo, Merseyside

Waterloo is an area of the Metropolitan Borough of Sefton, in Merseyside, England. Along with Seaforth the two localities make up the Sefton Ward of Church. The area is bordered by Crosby to the north, Seaforth to the south, the Rimrose Valley country park to the east, and to the west the Crosby Beach and Crosby Coastal Park.

Crosby Beach begins in Waterloo at the Crosby Marine Park and stretches 3 miles up to Hightown and is the location of Antony Gormley's Another Place. Waterloo is home to The Plaza Community Cinema, an award-winning volunteer ran cinema and host of local community public events.

The area is connected to Liverpool in the south and Southport to the north by Merseyrail Northern line at Waterloo railway station.

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