Friday, June 20, 2008

Listening to Lord Haw Haw

Ah, the 1940's when things were milder, and voices oozed from wireless and gramophones, and doors were held open, and people stood for the National Anthem, and everyone was so refined...except for the odd matter of a world war, of course.

This morning I came across this very interesting site with snatches of sounds from the forties. I wanted to hear Lord Haw Haw (who was actually three different people according to Wikipedia), but ended up hanging around long enough to hear the doodle bug and 'a heavy air raid' too. They are both really evocative. I could easily imagine my mother listening to this. She was too young to be frightened, she says - all that mattered was that her parents were with her.

The Lord Haw Haw recording is quite moving. My grandmother did a particularly good Lord Haw Haw - pinching her nose to get his upper class nasal drawl: 'Germany calling, Germany calling, Germany calling...' Apparently 6 million people listened to him - I suppose perhaps because they were advised not to - never fails, that one!

Lord Haw Haw's (or William Joyce's) last broadcast is dramatic. He is obviously drunk. He gives a final defiant 'Heil Hitler' before promising to return in a few months and fading away. But he is followed by the man from the BBC (who actually sounds a bit like Lord Haw Haw, but somewhat crisper) and tells the long-suffering listeners that William Joyce 'has been most unfortunately interrupted in his broadcasting career, and has left rather hurriedly on vacation - a very short vacation if the second British army has anything to do with it...'

It must have been a joyous moment.

Lord Haw Haw was later captured and hung for treason.


Blogger Jan said...

VOices "oooozzzed"...
Classic Clare Dudman!!

Sat Jun 21, 10:15:00 am  
Blogger JL said...

I've always strongly suspected that Lord Haw-Haw was a major influence on the creators of Monty Python...


Sat Jun 21, 02:56:00 pm  
Blogger Clare Dudman said...

Jan: Not as good as your blushing metaphor methinks!

JL: You're right! I hadn't thought of that before...

Sat Jun 21, 04:33:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

'hanged' for treason, Clare, not 'hung'.

Only meat is 'hung'.

Sun Jun 22, 12:41:00 pm  
Blogger Clare Dudman said...

Thanks RPG - although according to my dictionary 'hanged' is just 'preferred' to 'hung' 'Hung' is not actually wrong - but I shall use 'hanged' in future (though not very often, I suspect).

Sun Jun 22, 12:53:00 pm  

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