Fascists jailed for conspiring to help enemy

THIS WEEK IN 1993: Gift of life put on ice – surgeon preserves transplant organs

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On this day in 1940 two Portsmouth fascists were jailed and another cleared at the Old Bailey.

Marie Ingram, of Marmion Road, Southsea, who had been born in Germany and was married to a sergeant in the RAF, was found guilty of conspiring to assist an enemy by ‘endeavouring to persuade a corporal in the Royal Tank Corps to communicate information useful to an enemy’.

Ingram’s husband was to later claim ‘constructive desertion’, which was reported under the headline: ‘Preferred Fuhrer to husband’.

William Swift, of Copythorn Road, Copnor, was found guilty of attempting to acquire arms and ammunition through the Local Defence Volunteers, or Home Guard, ‘in order to support enemy invaders’, and also of trying to spread disaffection. They received 10 and 14-year sentences respectively.

Perhaps surprisingly, a third man who was charged, a local leader of the British Union of Fascists and former tram and bus driver Archibald Watts, was found not guilty of any involvement – from John Sadden’s The Portsmouth Book of Days.