Arnold Leese

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Arnold Leese

Arnold Spencer Leese (1878 – 18 January 1956) was a veterinarian and British fascist politician. He was the founder of the Imperial Fascist League and the London editor of The Fascist.[1] After the Second World War, during which he was imprisoned Defence Regulation 18B, he led the National Workers Movement and edited the journal Gothic Ripples. His successor was Colin Jordan whose lasting legacy was the British Movement.

Background

Arnold Leese was born in Lytham St Annes, Lancashire, England to a middle class family and was educated at Giggleswick School.

After qualifying as a veterinarian, he moved his practice to British India, where he became an expert on the camel. He worked there for six years before becoming Camel Specialist for the East Africa Protectorate of the British Empire.

He published numerous articles on the camel and its maladies, the first appearing in The Journal of Tropical Veterinary Science in 1909. He had the honour of a camel parasite being named after him: Thelazia leesei.

He joined the Royal Army Veterinary Corps of the British Army at the start of World War I and served on the Western Front and the Middle East. Captain Leese returned to England where he continued his practice, retiring and publishing a book, The One-Humped Camel in Health and in Disease (1928), which would remain a standard work in India for fifty years. He retired from his practice of veterinary surgeon in 1928.[2]

Political Fascist

In 1924 he joined the British Fascists[3] and was elected a councillor in Stamford, Lincolnshire that year, along with fellow fascist Henry Simpson. In his autobiography, Leese wrote "We were the first constitutionally elected Fascists in England".

Imperial Fascist League with Arnold Leese, front, center.

By 1926, having become disillusioned with the British Fascists, Leese became a founding member of the Fascist League.[4] It was during this time when he meet H. H. Beamish who introduced him to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

In November 1928 he joined the Imperial Fascist League and in 1930 became the League's leader. By 1933, the League had been eclipsed and overtaken by Oswald Mosley and the British Union of Fascists. He greatly resented Mosley and dubbed him a "kosher fascist". Leese utilised materials distributed by the Welt-Dienst (World-Service) news service headed by Ulrich Fleischhauer in Germany.

Prison and internment

Leese's recieved a prison sentence in 1936 when he was indicted along with fellow IFL member Walter Whitehead on six counts relating to two articles published in the July issue of The Fascist (the IFL newspaper) entitled "Jewish Ritual Murder," which later appeared as a pamphlet. [1] He was convicted and was jailed for six months in lieu of a fine for causing a public mischief. On his release he edited another pamphlet entitled "My irrelevant trial."

He was one of the last leaders of the fascist movement to be interned in the United Kingdom at the beginning of World War II under the Defence Regulation 18B.

Post-war activities

Released on conditions in December 1943 because of ill health, Leese again returned to prison in 1947 for six months for his part in aiding an attempt by imprisoned Dutch members of the Waffen SS to escape to Argentina.

After the war, Leese formed the National Workers Movement and published his own magazine, Gothic Ripples, which was largely concerned with attacking Jews. A mentor of the young Colin Jordan, Leese left Jordan his Holland Park house (74 Princedale Road, London W11) upon his death (although his widow retained the use of it (usufruit) as a sanctuary), which, known for a short spell as Arnold Leese House, 74 Princedale Road, would become Jordan's base of operations.

In 1951, he published his autobiography Out of Step: Events in the Two Lives of an Anti-Jewish Camel Doctor.

Published works

My Irrelevant Defence

Books

Pamphlets

Notes

  1. Under Cover, p. 192, by John Roy Carlson, (1943)
  2. Fascism in Britain: from Oswald Mosley's Blackshirts to the National Front, by Richard C. Thurlow, page 47
  3. British Fascism: Essays on the Radical Right in inter-war Britain, by Kenneth Lunn and Richard C. Thurlow, page 57
  4. British Fascism: Essays on the Radical Right in inter-war Britain, by Kenneth Lunn and Richard C. Thurlow, page 57

See also

External links

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