The National Fascisti were a splinter group from the British Fascisti formed in 1924. In the early days of the British Fascisti the movement lacked any real policy or direction and so this group split away with the intention of pursuing a more definite path towards a fascist state.
|Founder||Lt. Col. Henry Rippon-Seymour|
|Split from||British Fascists|
The National Fascisti's leader was Lieutenant Colonel Henry Rippon-Seymour. Members of the National Fascisti were dressed in black shirts in imitation of Benito Mussolini and his followers and received some military drilling, although membership was much too small for them to pose any real threat. Despite their frustrations at the lack of policy from the British Fascisti their own ideas were fairly banal, with vague calls for a government of experts being about as far as they went. Strongly anti-communist, they argued that their aim was to "smash the reds and pinks". Anti-Semitism, which at that point was absent from British Fascisti policy, also played a role in the new group. They also called for racial purity and the consolidation of the British Empire.
The group liked to pull stunts to get attention and in 1925 they hijacked a lorry carrying copies of the left-wing newspaper the Daily Herald which they proceeded to crash. The action briefly got them in the headlines as did a meeting at Hyde Park, London where 1000 people attended and finished the day in a pitch battle with Communist Party of Great Britain supporters. The group also ran boxing and fencing clubs to train members although ultimately their strident militarism, which included marching with drawn swords, drew them more derision than support.
Like the British Fascists (BF) they contacted the Home Secretary in the run-up to the 1926 General Strike to offer their services to the Organisation for the Maintenance of Supplies. Rippon-Seymour refused to follow the lead of BF chairman R. B. D. Blakeney in breaking from fascism and so his offer was turned down flat by the government. As individuals National Fascisti members were however allowed to enter the Special Constabulary during the strike, which many did.
Cracks began to show in the group, notably around December 1926 when Rippon-Seymour pulled a sword and an unlicensed gun on Croydon branch leader Charles Eyres after Eyres has accused the leader of defrauding the party out of funds and of dictatorial leadership. Eyres had brought a gang of cudgel-wielding supporters from Kensington to confront Rippon-Seymour whilst the leader's use of the Colt revolver, which actually belonged to "Victor Barker", saw him convicted of both possession of an illegal firearm and common assault at the Old Bailey.
In 1927 a leading member was "Colonel Victor Barker", who was actually Valerie Arkell-Smith. The National Fascisti members did not know he was assigned female at birth and treated him as a man; "Barker" became secretary to Rippon-Seymour as well as training members in the boxing and fencing clubs.
A series of internal struggles saw them change their name to the British National Fascisti under the leadership of Rippon-Seymour. Meanwhile, leading members such as Colonel Ralph Bingham drifted from the group to become active instead in the Organisation for the Maintenance of Supplies. Such a small group could not withstand internal wrangling and the movement faded from the scene fairly quickly after this.
Despite their general failure the National Fascisti remain significant for being the first group in British politics to attempt to develop fascism as a specifically British ideology. They also helped to launch the political careers of William Joyce and Arnold Leese, who had helped to instigate the split from the British Fascisti and who would go on to greater significance.
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 Fascists
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A list of political parties, organizations, and movements adhering to various forms of fascist ideology, part of the list of fascist movements by country.Organisation for the Maintenance of Supplies
The Organisation for the Maintenance of Supplies was a British right-wing movement, established in 1925 to provide volunteers in the event of a general strike. During the General Strike of 1926, it was taken over by the government to provide vital services, such as transport and communications.Rotha Lintorn-Orman
Rotha Beryl Lintorn Lintorn-Orman (1895–10 March 1935) was the founder of the British Fascisti, the first avowedly fascist movement to appear in British politics.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.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.
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Victor Barker, born Lillias Irma Valerie Barker (1895–1960) was a transgender man who is notable for having married a woman. Under various pseudonyms he was an officer of the National Fascisti, a bankrupt, and a convicted criminal.