Robert Saunders could probably have become Vice President of the National Farmers Union. However, before the election he announced that he wanted all those who supported him to know of his support for British Union and Union Movement. He wanted them to know that he had been against the war with Germany. He did not win the election, but he only lost it by one vote. In the 1970’s, Bob Saunders was the TV spokesman for the National Farmers Union and he was awarded the OBE for his services to farming.

It was in 1933, while visiting close friends that Bob was given a copy of Blackshirt. After reading it, he then sent off for a copy of Mosley’s book, The Greater Britain and found the policies sensible and long overdue. As a result he joined the movement and never left it. The way he felt, as a young man, is best described by himself. Writing for the book “Mosley’s Blackshirts” he writes: “We were proud to be British in the 1930’s and yet, within that vast Empire every conceivable raw material could be found, every element for wealth existed. Britain had a large proportion of her people unemployed and suffering a depth of poverty quite unknown today. Her position as a world power was being undermined by largely unilateral disarmament which left her without adequate defences. Her agriculture was being depressed by imports of cheap food which ruined her farmers and left them to face bankruptcy”.

It was this burning patriotism, coupled with and equally burning indignation with an unacceptable economic system and with inept politicians who had no answers to the nation’s pressing problems, that caused many, including myself to rally to Mosley. After a weeks training at the BUF National Headquarters Bob Saunders returned to Dorset and set to work building up a local branch. He became District Leader for Dorset West while Dorset South and Weymouth came under Mr.C.H. Sureties. Bob Saunders often spoke at Weymouth Sands, alongside Flo Elliot, Tommy Moran and Rafe Temple Cotton from Devon. He took part in BUF. campaign, during the Abdication Crisis, in support of the King, believing that the King of England should be able to marry anyone he chose.

In 1939, the main British Union annual camp was held on Bob Saunders farm, in Dorset. He was imprisoned during the war as were so many others who wanted peace with Germany, provided that no British interest was at stake. When the war was over Bob became a member of the Union Movement Agricultural Council with Jorian Jenks. They produced a policy booklet called “None Need Starve”. In his later years he often wrote articles for “Comrade” the F.O.M magazine, and attended their functions whenever he could.

Keith Thompson

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