Stewards (paramilitary organization)
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The Stewards also informally referred to as Blackshirts were the paramilitary wing of the British Union of Fascists (BUF). They served a similar role as the Blackshirts of the National Fascist Party of Italy and also wore black uniforms. The Stewards were officially an organization of guards that were to protect Oswald Mosley and eject groups of hecklers from the audience of speeches by BUF officials. In practice the Stewards physically assaulted hecklers and political opponents with truncheons of rubber or lead.
Olympia, June 1934
During a gathering of 12,000 BUF members at Olympia on 7 June 1934, the Stewards counterattacked an anti-fascist attempt to disrupt a speech by Mosley. The savagery of the attack - anti-fascists used knives and knuckledusters. The continuous violent outbreaks between violent Communists and defending Stewards led to Lord Rothermere, the owner of the Daily Mail, to withdraw the support of his paper, mainly out of pressure of government officials. The resulting poor publicity from left-wing led newspapers also led to a decline in BUF membership.
- David Stephen Lewis. Illusions of grandeur: Mosley, fascism, and British society, 1931-81. Pp. 115-117.
- David Stephen Lewis. Illusions of grandeur: Mosley, fascism, and British society, 1931-81. Pp. 115-116.