The Nazis next door – Suffolk couple who offered to aid Hitler and help Blackshirts seize power in Britain
- Credit: PA
At the church of St Peter, in Monk Soham, near Framlingham, a headstone marks the grave of Ronald Creasy – unrepentant in its declaration of his parliamentary candidacy for the British Union in 1939.
He and his wife’s activities before, during and after the Second World War have been brought to light in a stack of files, released for the first time at the National Archives at Kew, dating from September 1939 to February 1957.
The documents give a fascinating insight into the extent to which the couple – and many other Britons at the time – supported the ideologies of fascism.
Among communications intercepted by the Secret Service was a Christmas card sent by the Creasys to the founder of the British Union of Fascists (BUF), Oswald Mosley, in 1943.
The previous spring, an intelligence report explained how the Creasys offered to pass on useful information to the Germans in order to assist the Blackshirt leader and Hitler sympathiser.
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To some who knew the couple, they were “strange” and treated with suspicion or even outright revulsion locally. But the Creasys were not alone in the region, with BUF membership up to 1,800 at its height.
Eddie Coe, from Fressingfield, was a young blacksmith and engineer at nearby Redlingfield when he first met Ronald Creasy, a customer of his father.
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“He used to speak to me but I didn’t understand all he said, so I would nod in what I thought were the right places,” said Mr Coe.
“He was a well-educated and very particular man. He wasn’t liked at the beginning of the war. How he got mixed up with that side, I don’t really know.”
Mr Coe maintained an interest in the controversial local’s life, keeping a number of newspaper and magazine cuttings, including a 1996 interview from far-right publication The Rune, in which he recalled: “I was elected as a councillor in Eye. Mosley spoke to an enthusiastic crowd at the subsequent victory meeting in Eye Town Hall.”
As a member of the British Union (formerly the BUF) Ronald Creasy became district leader and ran for parliament.
In an article titled Ronald Creasy: Blackshirt, prisoner and gentleman, he also told The Rune about he and his wife’s arrest and internment in Liverpool and then a prisoner of war camp in Ascot, where he described conditions as “terrible”, and added: “To this day I set aside some time each month to write concerning Prisoners of Conscience around the world.”
The newly-released documents include a report which suspects the Creasys 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.
Dave Lock, of Lowgate Garage Services, in Eye, serviced the Creasys’ cars – a Rover 200 and a Metro – from the age of 16.
He recalls the weather vane at the Creasys’ Cranley Manor home, near Eye, bearing the British Union logo of a lightning flash in a circle.
Now 43, Mr Lock said: “I was scared to death of him at that age but I later got to know him. It (Creasy’s political ideology) was always known about, especially by people who were around during the war. But he never said much about it – he used to speak more to my uncle. He used to give him copies of a magazine, which my uncle would just chuck to one side.
“He was quite a strange bloke. He collected birds’ nests and had half-a-dozen on the dashboard of his car.”
According to MI5, it was Mrs Creasy who was “easily the more pro-Nazi of the two and by far the more dangerous to the British”.
Another file claimed the pair were “delighted” to have been given a photograph of Adolf Hitler.
Professor Christopher Andrew, the official historian of the Security Service, said that the Creasys were victims of a lone MI5 agent who secretly penetrated the ranks of Britain’s wartime Nazi sympathisers. Documents released last year revealed how the agent – operating under the alias Jack King – controlled the activities of hundreds of “Fifth Columnists”, neutralising the threat to Britain’s war effort.
Prof Andrew said: “The latest declassified files identify two more members of the Jack King network .
“In 1943, Ronald Creasy offered to provide safe accommodation for both German agents and parachutists who landed in England. Like the rest of the Jack King network, he had no idea that King passed his offer not to the Gestapo but to MI5.”
Ronald Creasy died in March 2004. Rita Creasy died at home in December 2008, aged 97. She is also buried at the church of St Peter in Monk Soham.