Jan 19, 2016

The B.U.F. and the Silvertown By-election of 1940

via Britannia

Tommy Moran
The Silvertown By-election of 22 February, 1940, was the last election ever contested by the British Union of Fascists. Three months later, on the 30th May, 1940 the BUF was dissolved and its publications were banned.

The B.U.F. candidate for the Silvertown By-election was Tommy Moran.


Tommy Moran was born in Newcastle on the 12th of December 1900. Formerly a member of the Labour Party, Tommy joined the B.U.F. in July 1933. Immediately on joining, he became a very active member and helped considerably in planting the seeds of Fascism in the North East of England.

In those early days, the Movement was fighting one of its biggest battles - its right to free speech - and in Newcastle Moran, almost more than anybody, established Fascist rights. Night after night he led his little band of followers out, facing the mob hooliganism of the Reds, and slowly but surely wore down the physical resistance to Fascist speakers.

Although he had never spoken in public, he soon became a first class speaker, and he was sent round the country putting the Fascist creed before many large audiences.

Moran's wife Toni, also became a BUF member and was a regular speaker in Manchester. [1] Sometimes they would share the same platform.

In September of 1934 Tommy went to Manchester to combat the "Drive Mosley out of Lancashire" compaign. While in the North East he regularly played Rugby for Vickers Armstrong, and as a member of the R.N.V.R. he won the light heavyweight boxing championship of the Navy. [2] Tommy boxed professionally between 1919 and 1926 competing in 33 professional bouts. [3]

Tommy will always be remembered for his heroic fight against the Reds on October 4, 1936. Tommy, along with a small group of companions, were on their way to join their B.U.F. column assembly point at Royal Mint Street, East London. They were set upon soon after leaving Mark Lane Station. His companions soon lay sprawled in the street, Tommy with his back to the wall put up a terrific fight against a dozen or so men who were attacking him simultaneously. One after another he sent them reeling with clean boxing blows, until he himself was felled by a chair leg.

Following the first round of Defence Regulation 18B internments Moran, whom Diana Mosley continued to pay a wage to, took over as effective leader of the BUF. [4]  Eventually he was detained under the regulation himself. Held in a camp on the Isle of Man, Moran continued his leadership role by setting up a camp office in an attempt to keep the BUF running, a move largely ignored by the guards. [5]

Tommy Moran had the honour of being the last candidate ever to stand for the British Union of Fascists.


Tommy Moran's election leaflet for the Silvertown By-election, 22 February, 1940

Silvertown was a safe Labour seat, and none of the major parties stood against the Labour candidate. With Britain already at war with Germany, a Fascist candidate was never going to get many votes. 

 By-election, 22 February 1940: Silvertown

Labour              James Henry Hollins     14,343       92.8%  (+11.8%)
Communist       Harry Pollitt                      966         6.2%
British Union    Thomas P. Moran              151         1.0%
of Fascists 

References:

1. J. V. Gottlieb, Feminine Fascism: Women in Britain's Fascist Movement, London: I.B.Tauris, 2003, p. 324

2. ACTION No 59, page 8, April 3rd 1937 (Morrell)

3. boxinghistory.org.uk - Find your boxing ancestor (Morrell) 

4. Dorrill, Blackshirt, p. 505 

5. G. Macklin, Very Deeply Dyed in Black, London: IB Tauris, 2007, p. 14 

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