Rotha Lintorn-Orman

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Rotha Lintorn-Orman (1895-1935) was an early British fascist and was the founder and sometime leader of the British Fascisti, the first avowedly fascist movement to appear in British politics.

Early life[edit]

Born as Rotha Beryl Orman in Kensington London, she was the daughter of Charles Edward Orman, a Major from the Essex Regiment, and his wife, Blanch Lintorn, née Simmons. Her maternal grandfather was Field Marshal Sir John Lintorn Arabin Simmons.[1] She would later adopt the name of Rotha Lintorn-Orman.

She served in World War I as a member of the Women's Reserve Ambulance and was decorated for her contribution at the Great Thessaloniki Fire of 1917.[2] She also served with the Scottish Women's Hospital Corps.[3] In these early years she developed a strong sense of British nationalism, and became a staunch monarchist and imperialist. She continued her work in the field of military medicine after the war, becoming head of the Red Cross Motor School to train drivers in the battlefield.[4]

Fascism[edit]

Following her war service, she placed an advert in the right-wing journal The Patriot seeking anti-communists.[5] This led to the foundation of the British Fascisti in 1923 as a response to the growing strength of the Labour Party, a source of great anxiety for the virulently anti-Communist Lintorn-Orman.[6]

Financed by her mother Blanch, Lintorn-Orman's party nonetheless struggled due to her preference for remaining within the law and her continuing ties to the fringes of the Conservative Party.[6] Lintorn-Orman was essentially a Tory by inclination but was driven by a strong anti-communism and attached herself to fascism largely because of her admiration for Benito Mussolini and what she saw as his action-based style of politics.[7] The party was subject to a number of schisms, such as when the moderates led by R.B.D. Blakeney defected to the Organisation for the Maintenance of Supplies during the 1926 General Strike or when the more radical members resigned to form the National Fascisti, and ultimately lost members to the Imperial Fascist League and the British Union of Fascists when these groups emerged. For her part Lintorn-Orman would have nothing to do with the BUF as she considered Oswald Mosley to be a near-communist,[8] although it was to this group that she lost much of her membership when Neil Francis Hawkins became a member in 1932.[9]

Final years[edit]

Dependent on alcohol and other drugs,[10] rumours about her private life began to damage her reputation, until her mother stopped her funding amid lurid tales of alcohol, other drugs and orgies.[11] Taken ill in 1933, she was sidelined from the British Fascists, with effective control passing to Mrs D.G. Harnett, who sought to breathe new life into the group by seeking to ally it with Ulster loyalism.[12] She died in March 1935 at Las Palmas, Canary Islands, with her organisation all but defunct.

Bibliography[edit]

  • 'Feminine Fascism': Women in Britain's Fascist Movement, Julie V. Gottlieb (I.B. Tauris, 2000)
  • 'Hurrah for the Blackshirts!': Fascists and Fascism in Britain between the Wars, Martin Pugh (Random House, 2005)

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Benewick, Robert, Political Violence and Public Order, London: Allan Lane, 1969, p. 27
  2. ^ Thurlow, Richard, Fascism in Britain, London: IB Tauris, 1998
  3. ^ M. Durham, 'Britain', K. Passmore (ed.), Women, Gender and Fascism in Europe 1919-45, Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2003, p. 216
  4. ^ Richard Griffiths, Fellow Travellers on the Right, Oxford University Press, 1983, p. 85
  5. ^ Durham, 'Britain', p. 215
  6. ^ a b Thurlow, Fascism in Britain, p. 34
  7. ^ Griffiths, Fellow Travellers on the Right, p. 86
  8. ^ S. Dorril, Blackshirt – Sir Oswald Mosley and British Fascism, London: Penguin, 2007, p. 204
  9. ^ Benewick, Political Violence, p. 36
  10. ^ Dorril, Blackshirt, p. 198
  11. ^ Thurlow, Fascism in Britain, p. 37
  12. ^ Griffiths, Fellow Travellers on the Right, p. 92