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Column 88

Column 88 was a United Kingdom. It was formed in the early 1970s, and disbanded in the early 1980s. The members of Column 88 undertook military training under the supervision of a former Royal Marine Commando, and also held regular gatherings attended by neo-nazis from all over Europe. The name is code: the eighth letter of the alphabet 'HH' represents the Nazi greeting 'Heil Hitler'. Journalist Martin Walker described Column 88 as a "shadow paramilitary Nazi group".[1]


  • Formation 1
  • Leadership 2
  • Activities 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


A secret [2] Indeed, Gerry Gable has claimed that Colin Jordan was sworn in as a member of this secret society as a nineteen-year-old.[3] According to historian Richard Thurlow, Column 88 took their name from a group of Austrians who set up an underground group of this name in 1934 when the Austrian government banned the Nazi Party.[4]

Open activity, however, did not start until 1970 when it took charge of elements of the National Socialist Group, a secret paramilitary grouping associated with the [2]


The group's military commander was Major Ian Souter Clarence[2][6] who had served in the magazineSearchlight where those in attendance included Brian Baldwin, a prison officer from Manchester, and Peter Marriner, the head of the British Movement in Birmingham.[9]

The overall leader however was Leslie Eric Lutz Vaughan, a veteran of the [2] Vaughan was, according to Ray Hill, close to Anthony Reed Herbert in a professional capacity (Herbert being a lawyer and Vaughan a private investigator) and the work Vaughan put Herbert's way ensured that Column 88 played a leading role in Herbert's British Democratic Party.[10] Indeed, following a World in Action report in 1981 detailing British Demoractic Party attempts at gun-running Vaughan and Column 88 temporarily went into abeyance for fear of becoming implicated.[11] Other leading members included Joe Short, who had been involved in David Myatt's National Democratic Freedom Movement,[12] Graham Gillmore, a mercenary and NF member[13] and David Myatt.[14][15][16]


Members of other more open [2] Indeed, A.K. Chesterton, who had established the National Front, wrote in one of his final letters to John Tyndall expressing his concerns that NF members were becoming involved in Column 88.[17]

In the late 1970s, the organisation allegedly carried out several bomb attacks on left-wing British organisations, including the [2]

Column 88 first came to public attention in 1975, when the regional British newspaper, the Western Daily Press, published accounts of Column 88 members training, in Savernake Forest, Wiltshire, with elements of the Territorial Army.[19] This led to a question being asked, by a Member of Parliament, in the House of Commons,[20] and to other reports in British newspapers, such as The Guardian.[8][21] The British anti-fascist magazine, Searchlight, also published articles about Column 88 in May 1975, and May 1976.

Infiltration of the [2] National Party leader John Kingsley Read claimed that he received funds from Column 88 both for his own party and during his time as chairman of the National Front.[23] In 1983 Column 88 hit the headlines again when the press reported that Clarence had been "safe-housing" three German neo-Nazis terrorists Odfried Hepp, Ulrich Tillmann and Walter Kexel, who were wanted for bomb attacks on US Army bases in Germany.[24]


  1. ^ Martin Walker, The National Front, Fontana, 1977, ISBN 0-00-634824-6, p. 186
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Peter Barberis, John McHugh, Mike Tyldesley, Encyclopedia of British and Irish political organizations: parties, groups and movements of the 20th century, Continuum International Publishing Group, 2000, p. 181
  3. ^ Gerry Gable, 'The Far Right in Contemporary Britain', Luciano Cheles, Ronnie Ferguson, Michalina Ferguson, Neo-Fascism in Europe, Longman, 1991, p. 247
  4. ^ Richard Thurlow, Fascism in Britain A History, 1918-1985, Basil Blackwell, 1987, p. 267
  5. ^ Thurlow, Fascism in Britain A History, 1918-1985, p. 277
  6. ^ Gary Murray, Enemies of the State (Simon & Schuster Ltd) 1994
  7. ^ Graham Macklin, Very Deeply Dyed in Black - Sir Oswald Mosley and the Resurrection of British Fascism After 1945, IB Tauris, 2007, p. 174
  8. ^ a b Geoffrey Harris, The Dark Side of Europe The Extreme Right Today, Edinburgh University Press, 1994, p. 123
  9. ^ Ray Hill & Andrew Bell, The Other Face of Terror - Inside Europe's Neo-Nazi Network, Grafton Books, 1988, pp. 223-224
  10. ^ Hill & Bell, The Other Face of Terror, p. 108-109
  11. ^ Hill & Bell, The Other Face of Terror, p. 224
  12. ^ Barberis, McHugh, Tyldesley, Encyclopedia of British and Irish political organizations, p. 186
  13. ^ Gable, 'The Far Right in Contemporary Britain', p. 254
  14. ^ Goodrick-Clark, N. (2001) p.223. Black Sun: Aryan Cults, Esoteric Nazism and the Politics of Identity. New York University Press
  15. ^ Michael, George. (2006) The Enemy of My Enemy: The Alarming Convergence of Militant Islam and the Extreme Right. University Press of Kansas, p. 142ff.
  16. ^ Jeffrey Kaplan (ed.). David Wulstan Myatt. In: Encyclopedia of White Power. A Sourcebook on the Radical Racist Right. AltaMira Press, Walnut Creek, CA 2000, p. 216ff; p.514f
  17. ^ Thurlow, Fascism in Britain A History, 1918-1985, p. 258
  18. ^ "Bomb Explodes At Peace News", Irish Times, July 5th 1978, pg. 7
  19. ^ Western Daily Press, 7/4/75, 29/4/75, 30/4/75
  20. ^ Hansard, 29 April 1976
  21. ^ The Guardian, 19 April 1976
  22. ^ Paul Wilkinson, The New Fascists, Pan Books, 1983, p. 122
  23. ^ Gable, 'The Far Right in Contemporary Britain', p. 248
  24. ^ Macklin, Very Deeply Dyed in Black, p. 175

External links

  • The spy left out in the cold, on the site of the BBC
  • Incidents attributed to Column 88 by that START terrorism database
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