The Times, Friday, June 7th, 1940, page 4: Fascist Round-Up
It was stated by the police yesterday that four Suffolk officials of the British Union of Fascists have been taken into custody under the Defence Regulations. They are Ronald Noah Creasy and George Frederick Hoggarth, both of Eye, near Ipswich and Lawrence W. Harding and Raymond Smith, both of Bury St Edmunds.
East Anglian Daily Times, Thursday, October 21st, 2004:
Secret files reveal our enemy within
A top secret list of supposed Nazi sympathisers in Suffolk who it was feared would have supported the Germans in the event of an invasion of Britain has been released for the first time...
Rita Creasy, then aged 35, of Eye heads the Suffolk list as her husband Ronald, already in prison in 1940 because of his political sympathies, was district leader of Oswald Mosley's British Union of Fascists (BUF) and she is described as a “very active” member of the BUF and pro-German.
Relatives of the interned George Hoggarth, the district treasure of the BUF also from Eye, were considered a threat by association, along with their neighbour Patricia Flowerdew.
Ronald Creasy - who I remember as a quiet old gentleman puttering about on a ride-on mower along the verges outside his Cranley Manor home - spent most of the Second World War in prison or prison camps along with some 800 of British fascist Oswald Mosley's leading followers.
Following the fall of France the fear of invasion prompted the May 1940 Defence Regulations 18B and 18B (1A) to be enacted. These resulted in the internment of many British Union (BU) members on the grounds that they might potentially act as a Fifth Column for the enemy.
Creasy was a very active member of Mosley's British Union of Fascists (BUF), which was renamed British Union after the word fascist became unpalatable. Outside the major cities this local farmer was one of the BU's few electoral successes winning a place on Eye council.
In a 1996 interview for The Rune - a far-right publication edited by Nick Griffin, who is now the leader of the BNP - the veteran Blackshirt recalled: “I was elected as a councillor in Eye. Mosley spoke to an enthusiastic crowd at the subsequent victory meeting in Eye Town Hall.”
The BUF claimed 50,000 members at one point and Mosley initially received the support of press baron Lord Rothermere, owner of the Daily Mail and the Evening News. On January 8th, 1934, the Mail carried the front page headline “Hurrah for the Blackshirts!” Mosley's followers donned Blackshirts aping other fascist organisation's uniforms. Pictured are Oswald Mosley and his Blackshirts in the 1930s.
In the early 1930s, the Fascist movement was strong in the Norfolk and Suffolk borderlands, particularly among non-conformist farmers, who recruited the BUF in their campaign against the Church of England's demands for tithes.
Tithes were taxes paid to the local church - people paid one tenth of everything they produced. By the 19th Century there was a great deal of resentment towards the payments, particularly from non-Anglicans, who still had to support the church. They were abolished in 1936.
Famously, there were pitched battles between the police and uniformed BUF members outside Wortham rectory, which the fascists were picketing. Two prominent Suffolk and Norfolk writers, Doreen Wallace (author of The Tithe Wars and East Anglia), and Henry Williamson (author of Tarka the Otter), were fascist sympathisers, and ensured a sympathetic hearing locally.
By 1939, the wearing of uniforms by Fascist groups in Britain was illegal. The BUF had truncated its name to British Union, or BU for short. Creasy, a farmer in Monk Soham, was a BU member, councillor, district leader, and selected as the prospective parliamentary candidate for the Eye constituency. But World War II intervened. Any sympathies the Fascists may have received rapidly diminished and sympathisers were rounded up and interned. The BUF Flag featuring the Italian fasces is pictured.
Creasy told The Rune, which he gave to a villager before his death: “Three local policemen came to my door. ‘Sorry Mr. Creasy, we've got to arrest you.' I was taken to the local police station, then the following morning to Ipswich. Back at home they spent three days combing the house trying to find my records, membership files and the like. But everything had been hidden in advance. We were taken to Liverpool by special train which stopped at every station to pick up more. We were thrown into prison in Liverpool in cells which had been condemned as unfit for criminals. Amid the damp squalor, each contained a Bible - hypocrisy personified! Christian mercy! Then I was moved to Ascot Concentration Camp. The conditions were terrible, some could not endure them. To this day I set aside some time each month to write concerning Prisoners of Conscience around the world.”
He was at the infamous Battle of Cable Street in East London. Today it is commemorated with a plaque and enormous mural of locals turning back Mosley's Blackshirts who had planned to march through the East End.
In the article in The Rune, under the headline RONALD CREASY - Blackshirt, prisoner and gentleman, he had a different view: “I was next to Mosley when he agreed to the police request to call off the march in view of the trouble the Reds had organised to cause. The scream of the mob is the worst thing in the world - they would torture you to death, no animal would behave that way. The police had lost control and it would have been very hard on them as well as on us. We couldn't have got through - the BUF were all unarmed, whereas the Reds had knuckledusters, razors, bike chains and so on. Potatoes with razorblades in them as well. But they were not ordinary East Enders. The Communists were brought in for the day from all over Britain; there was a large contingent from Glasgow. They certainly didn't ‘smash' us - the East London BUF marched along the same route a few days later without opposition or incident.”
In later life, Creasy occupied himself with writing letters to newspapers from Cranley Manor which had the BU logo of a lightning flash in a circle - jokingly called a flash in the pan by Mosley's opponents - as its weathervane, and was often the first person in Suffolk each year to hear the cuckoo. His gravestone is in St. Peter's churchyard in Monk Soham.
East Anglian Daily Times
CREASY - Ronald. Of Eye, Suffolk. Peacefully, on March 31, 2004, individual thinker, loved husband, father and grandfather. Funeral service at Monk Soham Church, on Wednesday, April 7, at 11.30 a.m., followed by burial. Family flowers only please, but donations, if desired, for the Fabric Fund of Monk Soham Church, may be sent c/o. Rackham's Funeral Service, Stanley Road, Diss IP224WS.
East Anglian Daily Times, December 9th, 2008
CREASY Rita Dorothy. Peacefully at home, on December 4, 2008, aged 97, wife of the late Ronald Creasy, dearly loved mother of Karl Creasy and Amanda Daniel and much loved grandmother and great grandmother. Funeral, 11 a.m. at St. Peter's, Monk Soham, on Thursday, December 11, 2008. Family flowers only, donations to The Sinfield Nature Conservation Trust, White House Farm, Hasketon, Woodbridge, Suffolk IP13 6JP.
Illusions of grandeur: Mosley, fascism, and British society, 1931-81
By David Stephen Lewis
...in a few rural areas, notably Suffolk, the party prospered as a result of its aggressive intervention on the side of the farmers in the 1933 tithe disputes.
...physical support was offered in the form of a flamboyant intervention on behalf of the beleagured farming communities of Suffolk during the tithes dispute of 1934.
On one occasion fifty fascists occupied and fortified a farm near Wortham in Suffolk for sixteen days, to prevent the confiscation of farm equipment in lieu of unpaid debts. Nineteen were arrested eventually and bound over. Fascist Week, 30 March - 5 April 1934, p. 5.
Documents released in 2015: Further documents were released in 2015 saying the Creasys were suspected of offering help to the Nazis because “they knew that if Hitler lost the war then Mosley would also lose”.
“As they would do anything to bring Mosley into power, they were willing to help Germany”, it continued, also stating that the couple claimed they had been tipped off by local soldiers about plans for an Allied raid, and pledged to pass on similar information in the future.
It went on: “He promised... that if they got hold of news similar to the Dieppe raid affair or any definite news about the opening of a Second Front he would send Mrs Creasy to London with the news unless some alternative form of communication was suggested.”
According to the report, the Creasys were also willing to rent rooms to German agents in the event of an emergency, or alternatively accept them as paying guests.
Mike Ager 2018