Norman Baillie-Stewart

Norman Baillie-Stewart (15 January 1909 – 7 June 1966) was a British army officer known as The Officer in the Tower when he was imprisoned in the Tower of London. An active sympathiser of Nazi Germany, he took part in German-produced propaganda broadcasts and is known as one of the men associated with the nickname Lord Haw-Haw.

Norman Baillie-Stewart
Baillie-Stewart in the uniform of the Seaforth Highlanders (1929–1933)
Norman Baillie Stewart Wright

(1909-01-15)15 January 1909
Died7 June 1966(1966-06-07) (aged 57)
  • British (1909–1940)
  • German (1940–1966)
Other namesJames Scott
Alma materRoyal Military College, Sandhurst
Known forSpying for Germany, making propaganda radio broadcasts during World War 2
Criminal charge(s)
Criminal penalty
  • Five years imprisonment (1933)
  • Five years imprisonment (1946)
Parent(s)Lieutenant Colonel Cron Hope Baillie Wright (father)
Military career
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branch British Army
Years of service1927–1933
UnitSeaforth Highlanders

Early lifeEdit

Baillie-Stewart's father was Lieutenant Colonel Cron Hope Baillie Wright,[1] an officer in the British Indian Army who served in the 62nd Punjabis during the First World War.[2] His mother was from a family with a long tradition of military service.

Baillie-Stewart attended Bedford School and the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, where as a cadet, he served as an orderly to Prince Henry, a younger son of King George V.[3]

In January 1929, still a cadet, he changed his surname from Wright to Baillie-Stewart,[3][4] perhaps under the belief that he was looked down upon by more senior officers. He graduated tenth in the order of merit and in February 1929 received a commission as a subaltern in the Seaforth Highlanders[5] although he soon grew to dislike army life.[6]

In 1929, Baillie-Stewart was posted to the Seaforth's Second Battalion in India. In 1930, he saw active service on the North West Frontier, where he was reprimanded by his company commander for removing a native banner from an Afridi tribal graveyard, which aggravated tensions with local tribesmen. He later replaced the banner on the orders of a senior officer.[7] A campaign medal was authorised for that campaign, but Baillie-Stewart did not receive it. The roll of recipients compiled in September 1933, after his conviction, noted against his name, "No medal, forfeited. Cashiered".[8]

He returned to England in early 1931 after he had applied for transfer to the Royal Army Service Corps.[9]

1933 court martialEdit

The Vickers A1E1 Independent tank, the only example that was built, preserved at the Bovington Tank Museum (2010).

In the spring of 1933, Baillie-Stewart was court-martialled at Chelsea Barracks under the Official Secrets Act for selling military secrets to a foreign power. Because Britain was not at war, Baillie-Stewart was not in danger of the death penalty, but the ten charges against him carried a maximum sentence of 140 years in jail. He pleaded not guilty to all charges.

The court was told that Baillie-Stewart began to offend in 1931 when he met and fell in love with a German woman while he was holidaying in Germany. He decided to become a German citizen and wrote a letter to the German Consul in London to offer his services. Receiving no answer, he travelled to Berlin without permission to take leave, where he telephoned the German Foreign Ministry and demanded to talk to an English-speaker. That resulted in him making contact with a Major Mueller under the Brandenburg Gate, where he agreed to spy for Germany.[10]

Using the pretext of studying for Staff College examinations, he borrowed from the Aldershot Military Library specifications and photographs of an experimental tank, the Vickers A1E1 Independent,[11] as well as a new automatic rifle and notes on the organisation of tank and armoured car units.[Note 1] It was charged that he had sold this material to a German known as "Otto Waldemar Obst" in return for which he received two letters signed "Marie-Luise", one containing ten £5 notes and the other four £10 notes. Evidence was also produced that he had also made several trips to the Netherlands to meet his handlers. MI5 files have since shown that Marie-Luise had been merely a figment of his controller's imagination. Major Mueller's covername was Obst (fruit) and Baillie-Stewart's was Poiret (little pear), and Marie-Luise, a type of pear, was used to conceal their correspondence.[10] Ballie was convicted of seven of the ten charges against him and was imprisoned for five years. He was released from Maidstone Prison on 20 January 1937.[12] He was initially held at the Tower of London and was the last British subject to be held there as a proper prisoner, rather than as one awaiting transfer.[Note 2]

German collaborationEdit

After his release from prison in 1937, Baillie-Stewart moved to Vienna, where he applied for Austrian citizenship. However, it was refused since he did not meet the residency qualification. In August 1937[citation needed], the Austrian government, led by Kurt Schuschnigg, suspected him of being a Nazi agent and gave him three weeks to leave Austria.[Note 3] Baillie-Stewart's disenchantment with Britain was increased when the British embassy in Vienna refused to help him. Rather than return to Britain he went to Bratislava, which was then in Czechoslovakia.

Following the Anschluss, Baillie-Stewart was able to return to Austria, where he made a modest living by operating a trading company. He applied for naturalisation, but the application was delayed by bureaucracy at the ministry, and he did not become a German citizen until 1940.

In July 1939, Baillie-Stewart attended a friend's party in which he happened to hear some German English-language propaganda broadcasts. He criticised the broadcasts and was overheard by a guest at the party who happened to work at the Austrian radio station. He informed his superiors of Baillie-Stewart's comments, and after a successful voice test in Berlin, Baillie-Stewart was ordered by the German Propaganda Ministry to report to the Reich Broadcasting Corporation (Reichsrundfunk) in Berlin, where he became a propaganda broadcaster in August 1939, taking over as chief broadcaster from Wolf Mittler.[13] Baillie-Stewart made his first broadcast reading pro-Nazi news on the Germany Calling English-language service a week before the United Kingdom declared war on Germany.

It has been speculated that it was Baillie-Stewart who made the broadcast that led the pseudonymous Daily Express radio critic Jonah Barrington to coin the term "Haw-Haw". The nickname possibly referenced Baillie-Stewart's exaggeratedly aristocratic way of speaking, but Wolf Mittler is usually considered a more likely candidate. When William Joyce later became the most prominent Nazi propaganda broadcaster, Barrington appended the title and named Joyce "Lord Haw-Haw" since the true identity of the broadcaster was then unknown.[14] Another nickname possibly applied to Baillie-Stewart was "Sinister Sam".[15]

By the end of September 1939, it had been clear to the radio authorities that Joyce, originally Baillie-Stewart's backup man, was more effective.[16] Baillie-Stewart, who had gradually become disenchanted with the material that he had to broadcast, was dismissed in December 1939, shortly after his last radio broadcast. He continued to work in Berlin as a translator for the German Foreign Ministry and lectured in English at Berlin University. In early 1940, he acquired German citizenship.

In early 1942, Baillie-Stewart made a brief return to radio under the alias of "Lancer". He made several broadcasts for both the Reichsrundfunk and Radio Luxembourg. He spent much time avoiding the more blatant propaganda material he was asked to present. He translated to English the words of "Lili Marleen", which were sung by Lale Andersen as a form of propaganda towards Allied soldiers but then taken up strongly by the Allies themselves.[17]

In 1944, Baillie-Stewart had himself sent to Vienna for medical treatment, where he was arrested in 1945 in Altaussee, while he was wearing "chamois leather shorts, embroidered braces and a forester's jacket", and was sent to Britain to face charges of high treason.


Baillie-Stewart avoided execution only because the Attorney-General, Hartley Shawcross, did not think he could successfully try him on charges of high treason since he had German citizenship and instead decided to try him on the lesser charge of "committing an act likely to assist the enemy". The Security Service (MI5) reportedly lobbied for him to be sent to the Soviet occupation zone of Germany, where there would be no "namby-pamby legal hair-splitting".[10] The depositions from his trial are available in the British National Archives under reference CRIM 1/1750.

Baillie-Stewart pleaded guilty to the charge and was sentenced to five years' imprisonment, and he then moved to Ireland under the pseudonym of James Scott, married, and settled in the Dublin suburb of Raheny.[18] He had two children before he died of a heart attack after collapsing at a pub in Harmonstown[19] in June 1966.[20][21] At the time of his death, he had just completed his autobiography, which he had co-written with John Murdock and was published in 1967.[22]


  1. ^ The Vickers A1E1 Independent was a large tank with five turrets; its experimental prototype was delivered in 1926. Several countries had an interest in multi-turret tanks during the Interwar period, and Germany produced the Neubaufahrzeug between 1934 and 1936. The Vickers Independent also provided inspiration for the Soviet T-35. Experience during the early part of the Second World War showed that such tanks generally performed poorly in combat.
  2. ^ The Kray twins were imprisoned for a few days in the Tower of London in 1953 while they awaited transfer to Shepton Mallet Prison. See List of prisoners of the Tower of London.
  3. ^ Before it was overthrown by the 1938 Anschluss, the authoritarian Austrofascist government of Austria was very hostile to German Nazism.


  • Baillie-Stewart, Norman and Murdoch, John. The Officer in the Tower, London: Leslie Frewin, 1967.
  • Murphy, Sean. Letting the Side Down: British Traitors of the Second World War, PP 50–60, 217–218. London: The History Press Ltd, 2005. ISBN 0-7509-4176-6
  • West, Rebecca (1949). "Chapter II: The Insane Root – John Amery and Norman Baillie-Stewart". The Meaning of Treason. London: Macmillan & Co Ltd.
  • "Baillie-Stewart Trial." Times, London, England, 10 Jan. 1946: 2. The Times Digital Archive. Web. 20 Mar. 2015.
  • "Baillie-Stewart Sentenced." Times, London, England, 11 Jan. 1946: 2. The Times Digital Archive. Web. 13 Apr. 2017.


  1. ^ "Mr. N. Baillie-Stewart". The Times. No. 56652. 8 June 1966. p. 14.
  2. ^ "No. 30011". The London Gazette. 6 April 1917. p. 3334.
  3. ^ a b "Prisoner in the Tower". Time. 3 April 1933. Archived from the original on 25 October 2012. Retrieved 23 July 2008.
  4. ^ "No. 33455". The London Gazette. 8 January 1929. p. 296.
  5. ^ "No. 33462". The London Gazette. 1 February 1929. p. 772.
  6. ^ Baillie-Stewart, Norman and Murdoch, John. The Officer in the Tower. pp. 21–40. Published Leslie Frewin, London. 1967.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  7. ^ Baillie-Stewart, Norman and Murdoch, John. The Officer in the Tower. pp. 35–38. Published Leslie Frewin, London. 1967.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  8. ^ "The National Archives, India Medal roll".
  9. ^ Baillie-Stewart, Norman and Murdoch, John. The Officer in the Tower. p. 39. Published Leslie Frewin, London. 1967.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  10. ^ a b c Smith, Michael (1 October 1996). "How the first Lord Haw-Haw escaped death". The Daily Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on 22 November 2002. Retrieved 23 July 2007.
  11. ^ Suttie, William (2015). "3, Vehicle Testing in the Interwar Years". The tank factory : British military vehicle development and the Chobham establishment. Stroud: The History Press. ISBN 978-0-7509-6122-6. OCLC 899703041.
  12. ^ "Ex-Seaforth Officer Released". The Times. No. 47588. 21 January 1937.
  13. ^ M. A. Doherty, Nazi Wireless Propaganda: Lord Haw-Haw and British Public Opinion in the Second World War, Edinburgh University Press, 2000, p.9.
  14. ^ Freedman, Jean Rose (1998). Whistling in the Dark: Memory and Culture in Wartime London. University Press of Kentucky. p. 43. ISBN 0-8131-2076-4.
  15. ^ M. A. Doherty, Nazi Wireless Propaganda: Lord Haw-Haw and British Public Opinion in the Second World War, Edinburgh University Press, 2000, p.13.
  16. ^ Kater, Michael H. (1992). Different Drummers: Jazz in the Culture of Nazi Germany. Oxford University Press US. p. 130. ISBN 0-19-516553-5.
  17. ^ Christian Peters / Stiftung Haus der Geschichte der Bundesrepublik Deutschland: Lili Marleen, Ein Schlager macht Geschichte, Bonn 2001.
  18. ^ "Death of 'Officer in the Tower'". The Irish Press. 8 June 1966. p. 12.
  19. ^ O'Reilly, Bernardo (2012). Undertones: Anti-Fascism and the Far-Right in Ireland, 1945 – 2012 (PDF). Dublin: 1945. p. 4.
  20. ^ "Norman Baillie-Stewart is Dead; Briton Jailed for Aid to Germans; Passed Secrets on Armored Vehicles Known as 'Officer in Tower'". The New York Times. 8 June 1966. Retrieved 20 May 2010.
  21. ^ "Milestones: Jun. 17, 1966". Time. 17 June 1966. Archived from the original on 28 October 2010. Retrieved 20 May 2010.(subscription required)
  22. ^ Baillie-Stewart, Norman and Murdoch, John. The Officer in the Tower. Published Leslie Frewin, London. 1967.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)