Douglas Francis Jerrold

Douglas Francis Jerrold (Scarborough 3 August 1893 – 1964) was a British newspaper editor. As editor of The English Review from 1931 to 1935, he was a vocal supporter of fascism in Italy and of Catholic Nationalism in Spain. He was personally involved in the events of July 1936 when two British intelligence agents piloted an aircraft from the Canary Islands to Spanish Morocco, taking General Franco with them, and thereby helped to spark the military coup which ignited the Spanish Civil War.

Douglas Francis Jerrold
Douglas Francis Jerrold.jpg
Born(1893-08-03)3 August 1893
Scarborough, England
EducationMiddle Temple

Early lifeEdit

Jerrold was born in Scarborough, North Yorkshire in 1893, the son of Sidney Douglas Jerrold and Maud Francis Goodrich.[1] He was a descendant of the Victorian dramatist and writer Douglas William Jerrold, one of the founders of Punch.[2] He served as a Lieutenant in the Royal Navy during the First World War and was admitted to the Middle Temple on 20 November 1918, but was not Called to the Bar.[3]


Jerrold was at his core a Tory, and was hopeful of a career in politics, but he was critical of the alliance between the Conservative Party and big business, feeling that the party had become too nakedly capitalist. Such views were not popular with the party leadership, and in 1931 Jerrold's hopes of a parliamentary seat were dashed by Central Office.[4]

English ReviewEdit

Sidelined in mainstream politics, Jerrold became editor of The English Review, which he ran from 1931 to 1935, advocating "real Toryism as opposed to the plutocratic Conservatism represented by the official party" under the relatively liberal leadership of Stanley Baldwin.[4] He was a romantic anti-capitalist and a devout Roman Catholic who was strongly attracted to the Fascism of Mussolini's Italy, to the Catholic nationalism of Franco,[5] and to the rule of Dr Salazar in Portugal as well as to that of Chancellor Dollfuss in Austria. In addition, Jerrold (unlike his English Review colleague, the historian Sir Charles Petrie) was an Imperialist, opposed to Britain's policy in India, a policy which by this time had recognised the inevitability of self-rule. Moreover, Jerrold favoured a greatly strengthened executive government at home, if not outright dictatorship.[6] If not himself a fascist, Jerrold was undeniably sympathetic to fascism.[7]

On 21 November 1933 Jerrold's English Review hosted a dinner, presided over by Lord Carson, which was intended to be the climax of Jerrold's campaign for a new Corporatist approach to government. However, the dinner was not as successful as Jerrold hoped. The 350 guests were united in their opposition to the National Government, but otherwise held divergent views. Soon afterwards, Jerrold gave his views on Parliamentary democracy:

There is no folly more fashionable than the saying that the English will never tolerate a dictatorship. Under constitutional forms of a very flimsy character the English have invariably insisted on being governed either by a close oligarchy or a virtual dictatorship [...] It is because the party machines have notably failed to govern that they are losing the public confidence, and unless Parliament under universal franchise can fulfil the indispensable task of leadership, a dictatorship is not only inevitable but necessary.“

– Douglas Jerrold, Current comments, English Review, December 1933[8]

Fascist sympathiesEdit

In a July 1933 article in the English Review, Jerrold argued that because of the threat of Communism to Britain, "the forcible overthrow of Herr Hitler’s administration would be a disaster".[9] Jerrold also joined the January Club, founded by Oswald Mosley in January 1934 to generate sympathy and some element of respectability for fascism, and in particular to court conservative opinion.[10] The January Club was not explicitly fascist, but was "in sympathy with the fascist movement". Meetings were held over dinners at London hotels, where its leaders advanced a Corporatist agenda and insisted that "the present democratic system of government must be changed."[11] At the same time, Jerrold was no Nazi, and he supported the efforts of Mussolini to avenge the 1934 murder of Dollfuss, which had been carried out by pro-Hitler forces.[citation needed]

Spanish Civil WarEdit

During the Spanish Civil War, he strongly supported the Nationalist cause of General Francisco Franco,[12] and was among those who argued that the destruction of Guernica had been caused not by Nationalist bombers but by retreating Republican forces.[13]

In his 1938 book The Future of Freedom: Notes on Christianity and Politics, Jerrold outlined his support for the pro-Catholic dictatorships of General Franco and Mussolini. He wrote that "Christians not only can but must wish and pray for General Franco's success".[14]

Jerrold had in fact taken an active and personal role in Franco's successful coup. He was involved in the events of July 1936, when Captain Cecil Bebb and Major Hugh Pollard piloted a de Havilland Dragon Rapide aircraft from the Canary Islands to Spanish Morocco, taking General Franco with them, and thereby igniting the Spanish Civil War. The flight itself was planned over lunch at Simpson's-in-the-Strand, where Jerrold met with the journalist Luis Bolín, London correspondent of the ABC newspaper and later Franco's senior press advisor. Jerrold then recruited Pollard to join the enterprise, along with Pollard's daughter Diana and a friend of hers as "cover".[15] Pollard in turn recruited Bebb as pilot.[citation needed]


  • The War on Land, In the Main Theatres of War, 1914–1918, Comprising the Western Front, the Eastern Front, the Italian Front, the Balkans, and the Campaigns against Turkey . Ernest Benn Limited, London (1928)
  • England. (1935). London: Arrowsmith. 240 pages
  • Jerrold, Douglas, p.115, The Future of Freedom: Notes on Christianity and Politics Sheed and Ward, New York (1938) Retrieved 10 July 2012
  • Britain and Europe from 1900 to 1940 . Collins, London (1941)
  • England: Past, Present and Future . Norton, New York (1950)
  • An Introduction to the History of England, from the Earliest Times to 1204 . Houghton Mifflin, New York (1952)
  • The Lie about the West: A Response to Professor Toynbee's Challenge . Sheed and Ward, New York (1954)

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Genealogy of Douglas Francis Jerrold Retrieved 10 July 2012
  2. ^ Banta, Martha, p.24, Barbaric Intercourse: Caricature and the Culture of Conduct, 1841–1936 Retrieved July 2012
  3. ^ Sturgess, H.A.C. (1949). Register of Admissions to the Honourable Society of the Middle Temple. Butterworth & Co. (Publishers) Ltd. Vol. 3. p.830.
  4. ^ a b Pugh, Martin, p.205 Retrieved July 2012.
    Pugh, Martin. Hurrah for the Blackshirts!: Fascists and Fascism in Britain Between the Wars (Pimlico, 2006) ISBN 1844130878.
  5. ^ Griffiths, Richard, p.65 Retrieved 10 July 2012
    Griffiths, Richard. Fascism (A & C Black, 2005) ISBN 0826478565
  6. ^ Baldoli, Claudia, p.102, Exporting Fascism: Italian Fascists and Britain's Italians in the 1930s Retrieved 11 July 2012
  7. ^ Lunn, Kenneth, p.34, British Fascism: Essays on the Radical Right in Inter-War Britain Retrieved 11 July 2012
  8. ^ Griffiths, p.66 Retrieved 10 July 2012
  9. ^ Quoted in Richard Griffiths, Fellow‐Travellers of the Right: British Enthusiasts for Nazi Germany 1933–1939. London: Constable, 1980, ISBN 0094634602 (p.40)
  10. ^ Jones, Nigel, p.87, Mosley Retrieved July 2012
  11. ^ Pugh, Martin, p.146 Retrieved July 2012
  12. ^ BBC news, 27 September 2006 Retrieved 10 July 2012
  13. ^ Buchanan, Tom, p.35, The Impact of the Spanish Civil War on Britain: War, Loss And Memory Retrieved 10 July 2012
  14. ^ Jerrold, Douglas, p.115, The Future of Freedom: Notes on Christianity and Politics Retrieved 10 July 2012
  15. ^ Alpert, Michael, A New international history of the Spanish Civil War Retrieved 6 March 2010

External linksEdit