Many happy returns – John Bean

Bill Baillie on the left (his position in the photo not his politics!); the late Paul Barnes (centre), who shared John’s views on racial-nationalism and John Bean (definitely on the right!). When John informed H&D editor Mark Cotterill that he and Bill only shared around 50% of the views expressed in the magazine, Mark replied that was very good, and slightly more than he did! Mark explained that unlike a party-political magazine, H&D is here to represent a very broad cross section of nationalist opinion, not all of which everybody will agree with.

The editor, assistant editor and all the staff at H&D Towers, would like to wish our oldest subscriber (by two months) – John Bean – a very happy 93rd birthday.

John was born on June 27th, 1927 in Carshalton, Surrey. The family moved to Blackfen, near Sidcup in Kent, where at the age of 13 he suffered the trauma of being bombed out of the family home in February 1941.

Aged 18, John began his National Service in 1945. He was largely apolitical, although he had briefly flirted with communism whilst at school, calling for support for the Soviet Union. Initially he was a trainee navigator in the RAF Volunteer Reserve.

Later as a sailor in the Royal Navy. John became a radar mechanic and was placed on HMS Bulawayo, a fleet supply ship which made several visits to Trinidad until the end of his naval service in June 1948.

He briefly lived in India during 1950, working as a chemist in a paint factory, although he failed to settle and returned to Britain six months later.

Upon his return, John began to attend meetings of the Union Movement, being attracted by the ‘Europe a Nation’ policy and by the time Oswald Mosley had spent in prison for his beliefs. John initially served as a member of the Special Propaganda Service, the main duty of which was to sell copies of the party’s newspaper Union.

Soon however he became a leading figure active on behalf of the UM in the East End of London, before being appointed to head a branch in Putney in 1952. Despite these advancements, John grew disillusioned of the UM’s chances of making any real headway and he left them altogether in February 1953. A brief stopover in the local Conservative Party in Barnes followed but lasted only two months.

After a spell on the side-lines he then linked up with Andrew Fountaine, who had been attempting to form his own party, the National Front, and began to produce a journal, National Unity.

His work attracted the attention of A.K. Chesterton and, with the National Front idea failing to get off the ground, he decided to join the League of Empire Loyalists, serving as its Northern Organiser and then in the HQ in London. Continuing to produce his paper, now called The Loyalist, John soon became frustrated at both the lack of political activity and the links to the Conservative Party that were the hallmarks of the LEL.

He left in 1957 to set up the National Labour Party with Fountaine. Fountaine, a Norfolk landowner from a rural landowning family, was officially President of the new group, but was largely a figurehead: control actually lay with John.

The NLP gained a few minor results in elections but was always destined to be a small fringe movement, and as a result John decided to merge his party with another LEL splinter group, the White Defence League in 1960 to form the British National Party.

John Bean was made leader of the party upon its foundation. Early in the group’s life, both John and former White Defence League leader Colin Jordan were approached by Oswald Mosley, who offered them roles in his Union Movement if they agreed to its subsuming the BNP, but both men rejected the offer.

Initially gaining some support in London, the party soon ran into trouble when it became clear that Colin Jordan was emerging as its spokesman. A journalist commented in 1962 that Jordan was becoming the British Adolf Hitler. John jokingly responded to the Daily Mail reporter that that made him “the British Joseph Goebbels”. Despite this, John soon clashed with Jordan over his extremism and before long Jordan had left to form the National Socialist Movement, taking emerging figures John Tyndall and Denis Pirie with him. Matters had come to a head at the party’s national council meeting in 1962 when John proposed a motion to condemn Jordan’s open support for National Socialism. It was passed 7 to 5, but the party immediately split as a result, albeit with around 80% of the membership remaining within the BNP. John had blamed the associations with National Socialism that Jordan and Tyndall brought for the party’s marginal position in British politics.

At the 1964 general election John Bean stood as BNP candidate in Southall and obtained 3,410 votes (9.3%), the highest post-war vote for a minority party at that time. Another BNP candidate picked up nearly 2,000 votes in Deptford. In 1966 he again stood in Southall, but his vote fell to 2,600. With BNP membership only marginally increasing, John felt the need to try to create a nationalist front with like groups and arranged, with the help of Ted Budden, a private meeting with his old mentor A.K. Chesterton and a spokesman of the Racial Preservation Society. The result of the meeting was the founding of the National Front in 1967.

John became something of a peripheral figure in the NF, as the BNP element was somewhat side-lined. He held the post of Deputy Chairman of the Executive Directorate, a body which was largely subordinate to the Policy Directorate and stood as second candidate for the Ealing constituency in the 1967 Greater London Council elections until resigning in 1968. Still an NF member, he was recalled to positions of minor influence from time to time until 1972 when he largely ceased active involvement. Retreating into political retirement, his membership lapsed in 1977

He emerged only briefly to lend some support to his old friend Andrew Fountaine’s NF Constitutional Movement and to take part in the Countryside Alliance March of 1st March 1998 – which was also attended by supporters of Nick Griffin, by then inside the BNP.

John eventually ended his retirement after the political fall of John Tyndall and joined the British National Party under the leadership of Nick Griffin. He became an active official of the BNP (mostly in administration) and was a candidate for the party in the 2004 European elections, where he was seventh on a list of seven candidates for the Scotland constituency.

He formerly ran his own website, but then wrote a regular column for the main BNP website, and served as editor of BNP magazine Identity until March 2010.

Due to dissatisfaction with his leadership, John demanded that Nick Griffin resign as National Chairman and focus more on representing the North West region as an MEP.

In May 2011, John endorsed Andrew Brons (the BNP MEP for Yorkshire and the Humber) in his challenge for the BNP leadership. He made significant contributions to the Brons team web site, including articles on ‘Genetics and Inheritance’ and ‘Nationalism and a European Confederation’. He subsequently became involved in Brons’s party the British Democratic Party, established in February 2013.

John lived in London, and later Suffolk, before retiring to Yorkshire to live nearer his expanding family – three grandchildren, and five great grandchildren (so far!).

During periods away from politics John wrote four books.

Ten Miles from Anywhere (Hedgerow Publishing 1995), looked at the changes in a Suffolk village from the beginning of the 20th century.

Many Shades of Black, (New Millennium 1999), was Bean’s political memoirs up to that date.

His first novel Blood in the Square, which fictionalized some of his political experiences in the 1960s.

And in August 2016 his historical novel Trail of the Viking Finger (Troubador Publications).

Mosley’s Irish home for sale

The 12-acre postwar home of Sir Oswald and Lady Mosley has been put on the market by its present owners.

Ileclash is close to Fermoy, Co Cork. It was the second Irish property that the Mosleys owned, having first purchased Clonfert Palace, a 17th century house in East Galway, in 1951.

Lady Mosley’s sister and brother-in-law had already moved to Ireland, and by 1951 it had become clear for various reasons that Mosley’s postwar political revival was running out of steam. A second Mosley revival began at the end of the ’50s, but for the rest of his life (from 1951 to 1980) he and Diana lived in Ireland or France, with occasional visits to London.

Clonfert was severely damaged in a fire at the end of 1953, and at the start of 1955 Mosley bought Ileclash, a 19th century mansion near the River Blackwater, 25 miles north of Cork. It became the Mosleys’ summer home for several years.

Several controversial European political figures settled in Ireland after the war, though recently released Irish government documents show that (despite having remained neutral during the Second World War and having maintained diplomatic relations throughout with National Socialist Germany and Fascist Italy) Ireland’s prime minister Eamon de Valera discouraged prominent national socialist immigrants.

In October 1945 and April 1946 de Valera twice rejected applications by dissident, anti-Hitler national socialist Otto Strasser to take up Irish residency, writing “in present circumstances, it is not possible to accede to your request”. Similar rejection letters were sent to Léon Degrelle, former leader of the Belgian national socialist Rexist Party, who had led an SS Division on the Eastern Front.

Degrelle later settled in Spain, while after a decade in Canadian exile, Otto Strasser eventually returned to Germany.

As British citizens, the Mosleys could not be denied the right of residence in Ireland.

Ileclash is being marketed by Colliers International for €2.75m. The agents describe the property as “one of Ireland’s finest country houses”.

Unlike the vast majority of British nationalist leaders, Sir Oswald Mosley always had significant support among Irishmen, reflected in this postwar Union Movement pamphlet.

Carl Harley: 70+ years in British nationalism!

Carl Harley (1930-2020)

We greatly regret to inform readers that H&D‘s second-eldest subscriber Carl Harley died on Saturday 22nd February, aged 89.

Carl Harley, who lived in Highgate, North London, was a long-standing H&D subscriber. He was not afraid to put his hand in his pocket, and sent H&D a donation a couple of times to help us keep going.

Cattle die, and kinsmen die,
And so one dies oneself;
One thing I know that never dies:
The fame of a dead man’s deeds.

We are grateful to Bill Baillie of the Nation Revisited and European Outlook blogs for this memory of Carl Harley’s lifelong commitment to our cause, first published in 2016.

Carl Harley – the man who recruited John Bean

I first encountered Carl Harley and John Bean at a National Labour Party meeting in Trafalgar Square in 1959. I was there as a schoolboy, on a bicycle, with my mate Paul Barnes. But I didn’t get to know them properly until the BNP camp held in Norfolk in 1962.

Carl Harley was born in Greenwich on 26 June 1930. He was a member of the Mosley Book Club in 1947 and joined Union Movement on its foundation in 1948. He did his National Service in the Royal Army Ordnance Corps from 1948 to 1950. When he came out of the army he was appointed organiser of the Lewisham branch of Union Movement, where he signed up a young man called John Bean before going to Manchester to help Jeffrey Hamm.

He fondly remembers his old comrades; Alexander Raven Thomson, Victor Burgess, Peter Lesley-Jones and Pat Dunigan; but he disliked Alf Flockhart. In 1958 he joined John Bean’s National Labour Party which merged with Colin Jordan’s White Defence League in 1960 to form the British National Party. In 1962 Colin Jordan broke away to form the National Socialist Movement. Carl tried to persuade John Tyndall to stay with the BNP but he decided to join Colin Jordan. Thirty-five years later, whilst writing to thank Carl for a donation, JT acknowledged his mistake.

Carl was a founder member of the National Front in 1967. He followed Andrew Fountaine into the NF Constitutional Movement in 1979. The NFCM was absorbed into John Tyndall’s British National Party in 1984. Carl stayed with the BNP until John Tyndall was ousted as leader in 1999.

Today he subscribes to Heritage and Destiny and keeps in touch with old friends all over the world. When I interviewed him for this article he was reading Jewish Supremacism by David Duke.

Carl Harley was not an armchair patriot. He was an organiser of branches, a public speaker, a builder of platforms and scenery, a painter of banners, a printer and distributor of leaflets, a campfire cook, a writer of letters, a security guard, a receptionist and a willing helper. I am glad to call him my friend.

As BNP members pose outside their Princedale Rd headquarters, Carl Harley is busy upstairs cleaning the windows.

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