William Norman Ewer

William Norman Ewer

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William Norman Ewer was born in 1885. He became a journalist and in 1912 he joined the Daily Herald. Other writers and cartoonists who contributed during this period included Henry Brailsford, George Lansbury, William Mellor, Evelyn Sharp, Norman Angell, George Douglas Cole, Will Dyson, John Scurr, Gerald Gould, Morgan Phillips Price, Hannen Swaffer, Vernon Bartlett, Havelock Ellis, Evelyn Sharp, Henry Nevinson, G. Chesterton and Hillaire Belloc.

Ewer was sent to cover the Russian Revolution. His reports included an interview with Leon Trotsky. The Daily Herald held a meeting on 31st March, 1918, where it welcomed the revolution. According to Stanley Harrison, the author of Poor Men's Guardians (1974): "It was the first of a series of huge meetings in the Albert Hall to welcome the Revolution and demand in general terms that all governments follow the Russian example in restoring freedom. twelve thousand people filled every seat and five thousand were turned away."

Ewer later wrote that by the end of the First World War the Daily Herald was "almost a national institution, a political force... its circulation was now nearer a quarter of a million." During this period Ewer joined the Communist Party of Great Britain. Christopher Andrew argues in The Defence of the Realm: The Authorized History of MI5 (2009) that Nikolai Klishko had started a spy-ring headed by Ewer in London.

According to Huw Richards, the author of The Bloody Circus: The Daily Herald and the Left (1997), Ramsay MacDonald wrote to the editor, Hamilton Fyfe, showing concern about Ewer's "communist sympathies". On 17th September 1925, Clifford Allen, who was on the board of directors, sent a memo arguing: "He (Ewer) should be removed at once." Fyfe refused to sack Ewer claiming that "he was the best journalist on the paper, among the best in London and kept his views out of the paper."

Hamilton Fyfe was unpopular with some members of the trade union movement. Ernest Bevin wrote: "The editor has not the real co-operation and confidence of the staff and this is not due to any lack on the part of staff to co-operate, but purely a temperamental weakness of the Editor, it is made worse by the fact that his judgment is unstable and erratic, that he has not the knowledge of the different phases of the movement that several members of the staff possess and is too susceptible to personal influence." Fyfe was unwilling to accept attempts by the TUC to control the content of the newspaper and he left on 31st August 1926 with a £750 payoff. Frederic Salusbury was appointed editor-in-chief and William Mellor became the new editor.

Christopher Andrew argues that Ewer was working with John Henry Hayes, the MP for Liverpool Edge Hill (1923-1931). They managed to recruit three members of Special Branch, Inspector Hubertus van Ginhoven, Sergeant Charles Jane and Albert Allen. All three men were arrested and Allen admitted that: "Any move that Scotland Yard was about to make against the Communist Party or any of its personnel was nearly always known well in advance to Ewer who actually warned the persons concerned of proposed activities of the Police."

The three men were dismissed from Special Branch but it was decided not to prosecute them. Guy Liddell, a senior MI5 officer, wrote in his diary that the trial would bring back memories of the Zinoviev Letter. As the arrests took place before the 1929 General Election Liddell argued "the general belief is that it was thought to be bad politics that have a show-down... it was felt generally that another Zinoviev letter incident should be avoided."

In 1930 the TUC sold a 51 per cent share of the newspaper to Odhams Press. William Mellor was elevated to the Odhams board and given a management position and Will Stevenson, a Welsh ex-miner, became the new editor. Ewer claimed that Stevenson was "a very nice mannered person, methodical, but not an innovator." Attempts were made to make it a more mainstream publication. This was a great success and by 1933 the Daily Herald became the world's best-selling daily newspaper, with certified net sales of 2 million.

Ewer became disillusioned with the Soviet Union and became an anti-communist member of the Labour Party after the Second World War. The author of The Bloody Circus: The Daily Herald and the Left (1997) wrote: "W. N. Ewer's half-century of service, follow its political development with striking precision. Once a fervent communist, he moved through disillusionment to rigidly orthodox labourism." A fellow journalist, Geoffrey Goodman remembers: "He was in no way a figure of fun. His views were pretty rigid by then, but you had to remember that this was a chap that had interviewed Trotsky on the steps of the Smolny Institute. You had to regard that with respect."

William Norman Ewer, who retired from the Daily Herald in 1964, died in 1976.


Shadowing other members of Ewer's network led Ottaway's Observation team to Walter Dale, who had first been observed (though his identity was then unknown) keeping under surveillance the rendezvous originally chosen for the first meeting between "D" and Ewer. Dale in turn unwittingly led investigators to his main contacts in the Special Branch, the Dutch-born Inspector Hubertus van Ginhoven and Sergeant Charles Jane. After Dale's arrest, the discovery of his diary revealed further details of the operation of Ewer's network. It confirmed that Allen had operated for some time as the "cut-out" between Ewer and the Special Branch officers.The diary also gave details of Dale's other duties, among them the observation of British intelligence officers; surveillance of expatriate Russians; provision of lists of prominent individuals of possible interest to the Russians; and counter-surveillance for Russian agents, including Ewer and EPA employees. For the five years covered by the diary Dale and others maintained "unremitting surveillance" on the locations and some employees of British intelligence agencies, including SIS and GC&CS, which included noting officers' licence-plate numbers and trailing them to their homes.

It became abundantly clear that for the past ten years, any information regarding subversive organisation and individuals supplied to Scotland Yard by SIS or MIS, which had become the subject of Special Branch enquiry, would have to be regarded as having been betrayed to Ewer's group.

The general belief is that it was thought to be bad politics to have a show-down which might lead to the cry: "Another Zinoviev letter!"... because 1929 was election year... it was felt generally that another Zinoviev letter incident should be avoided.

William Norman Ewer (1885-1976) was a prominent British journalist and an important agent for the Soviet Union. He was a well-known writer for various left-wing publications, notably theDaily Herald newspaper. He was also at the centre of a significant Soviet espionage operation in the UK.

He came to the attention of MI5 in 1924 when his network posted an advertisement in the Daily Herald asking for "information and details from anyone who has ever had any association with or been brought into touch with any Secret Service department or operation."

An MI5 investigation subsequently revealed links with the Soviet Embassy in London, with an embassy official financing Ewer's operation. It was found that Ewer had acquired confidential information from contacts in Scotland Yard, including details of pending actions against communists in the UK. The Ewer network was exposed in 1929 and his Scotland Yard collaborators were identified and dismissed.

Ewer himself was not prosecuted and it was judged that his organisation had been successfully dismantled. In later years he publicly renounced his Communist sympathies, taking an anti-Soviet line during the Cold War.


William was a Journalist on The Daily Herald. Educated at Merchant Taylors’ School and then Trinity College, Cambridge, he was secretary to the Liberal M.P. for West Ham until 1912, when he joined the Daily Herald.

The 1901 Census, the first one on which William appears, shows him and his family living at 9 Prince’s Avenue, Hornsey. He was the younger of two children of Julia and William Thomas Ewer, a Silk Manufacturer. By 1911 the two children had left home and William Thomas and Julia were living at 4 Dukes Avenue, Muswell Hill, Hornsey

After he had completed his education William Norman seems to have gone to live alone in Central London – on the 1911 Census he is at 9 The Settlement, Tavistock Place. The Pearce Register gives his 1916 address as simply ‘Hornsey’.

William gave his reasons for becoming a Conscientious Objector as ‘a political Conscientious Objector – a Socialist’. Living in London he would have applied for exemption from military service on grounds of conscience and would have appealed to the London County Appeal Tribunal, so we have no tribunal records for him as records were destroyed in 1921. The London County Appeal Tribunal gave him exemption from combatant service conditional on Work of National Importance and referred him to the Pelham Committee.

He did farm work from 29 th August 1916 to 6 th November 1918. At some point during his farm work, William was tossed by a bull and illness followed this accident. When he recovered he was drafted to Clivedon Estate to tend the pigs of William Waldorf Astor, the American millionaire who had bought the estate in 1893, and future father-in-law of Nancy Astor. Apparently Astor’s bailiff complained about WNE’s behaviour!

Later in his life we find him in The Labour Who’s Who 1927 which gives his address as 17 Acacia Road, St. John’s Wood. He left The Daily Herald in 1963 and died in 1976 or 1977.

Catalogue description William Norman EWER, alias Kenneth MILTON: British. EWER, Foreign Editor of the "Daily.

William Norman EWER, alias Kenneth MILTON: British. EWER, Foreign Editor of the "Daily Herald", was from about 1919 to 1929 a prime mover in a Russian intelligence organisation in London. According to Arthur Francis LAKEY this was initially conducted from a flat acquired by LAKEY on the instructions of KLISHKO of the Russian Trade Delegation, to whom he was introduced, he claimed by EWER, and later through the front organisation, the FEDERATED PRESS OF AMERICA which EWER set up. Interception of correspondence addressed to the FEDERATED PRESS OF AMERICA showed that EWER, using the name "Kenneth MILTON", was in regular receipt of letters from George SLOCOMBE. These contained information seemingly originating from the French Foreign Office. EWER was in return sending substantial sums of money to SLOCOMBE for payment to sources which were quite separate from SLOCOMBE's overt journalistic activities as Paris correspondent of the "Daily Herald". A similar (albeit lower-key) relationship appeared to exist with the FPA representative in Berlin, Frederick Robert KUH. In addition EWER was receiving information from the Special Branch of Metropolitan Police as a result of the activities of GINHOVEN, JANE and DALE. EWER is believed to have been expelled from the Communist Party in 1929 over a supposedly "deviationist" article he had written, and was not in later years in any way pro-Soviet

Ewer William

Ewer was writing in support of Guild Socialism during World War One but his profile rose dramatically after the Herald sent him to cover the Russian Revolution. Not only did the Herald, despite its strong adherence to Labourism, support the Russian Revolution, Ewer would became a Communist Party member &ndash at least until 1929.

He wrote for the Daily Herald for Palme Dutt&rsquos `Labour Monthly' all during the 1920s under the nom de plume of UDC, standing for ` Union of Democratic Control&rsquo, a reform minded centre-left group designed to campaign for openness in diplomacy and war, in which he had been active. During 1925, he was almost sacked from the Herald for his open support for the Communist Party but saved by the quality of his journalism.

In his later years, and especially after his death, Ewer was accused of espionage for Soviet Russia and was intensively watched by MI5 for a long period during the 1920s. Yet, interestingly, Ewer spent the last three decades of his life writing from an extreme anti-Soviet perspective.

He had previously, according to AR in Labour Monthly on the occasion of his death, during the period from the latter part of the first war to 1929, &ldquodone a good deal to expose the warmongers&rsquo policy of British imperialism, and this should be remembered to his credit&rdquo.

John Ewer of Pinner and his many sons

David Ewer and Graham Hardy independently came across information on an old Pinner, Middlesex Ewer family.

December 7 1565 Simon Ewer, 1st born of J. Ewer

September 18 1567 T. Ewer, 2nd born of J. E.

20 December 1568 Ralph Ewer, 3rd son of John & Maud Ewer

July 14 1575 John Ewer, 4th born of John Ewer of Pynner

July 7 1577 Edward Ewer, 5th born of John Ewer of Pynner

June 25 1578 Robert Ewer, 6th born of John Ewer of Pynner

July 9 1579 Katine (Catherine) Ewer daughter of John Ewer

June 5 1582 Jerome Ewer, 7th son of John Ewer of Pynner

April 24 1585 Marc Ewer, 8th son of John Ewer

July 16 1587 Henrici (Henry), 9th child of John Ewer of Pynner

Dec 1 1587 Death of Henry Ewer, 9th son of John Ewer of Pynner

June 10 1589 Death of John Ewer senior of Pynner

1 st Son Simon Ewer of South Ockendon Essex made his will 6 Nov 1624. He refers to all his 7 surviving brothers (ie all except Henry) but to no family of his own. He gives land in King’s Lynn to Ralph and Dunstable to Edward. He mentions his mother.

Mother Maud made a verbal will in Sep 1625 and proved in Feb 1626. Mentions her son Thomas and 3 daughters. (Maybe she meant daughters-in-law). Christabel, the wife of Robert Ewer and Edward Ewer were among the witnesses. Christabel being such an unusual name satisfies me that this is indeed Maud the widow of John of Pinner. (see will of Robert below).

4th son John, also of South Ockendon, makes his will 19 th Dec 1625. He mentions his only daughter Jane, several of his brothers with various chidren including son Thomas for Edward. And a nephew Randall Nicholls.

Next to go is 6 th son Robert, a citizen and saddler of London, who makes his will in 1625 and it is proved 1627. He mentions a wife, Christabel, daughter Katherine and brothers Mark, Jeremy and Thomas.

3 rd son Ralph of King’s Lynn (where he inherited land form his brother Simon) made his will in 1631 mentioning no descendants.

2 nd son Thomas makes his will in 1636 and it is proved in 1638. He fixes Randall Nicholl as the son of his sister Katherine. He mentions various children of his brother Mark and makes his brother Edward his sole executor.

8 th son Mark, a Haberdasher of St Martin Pomeroy, London makes his will in 1643 but it is not proved until Jan 1653/4. Mark had at least 10 children. 6 daughters and a son, James, are mentioned in his will.

5 th son Edward marries Marie Atwood in Luton 1610. They have male heirs but the line seems to stop with the marriage of great great grandson Edward to Phyliss Maccarty in 1731. He died at Luton Oct 1777 pre-deceased by Phyliss in 1784.

7 th son Jerome makes his will in Bermuda. He mentions no direct descendants and one male Ewer descendant from his father and that is Thomas, son of Edward. He does not mention James, son of Mark although he does mention Frances, James’ sister.

This John Ewer of Pinner is the John Ewer of Pinner that features in the Visitation of Bedfordshire of 1634.

It appears that this whole Ewer line has died out unless James, the son of Mark, married and had male heirs.

3 thoughts on &ldquo Introduction to the site &rdquo

Loved the web site. Michael, have you ever come across a painting some where of Philemon (the Ship Builder) in your research? I am aware of a drawing of Thomas Ewer (the James) in a book but I have not seen it myself. Have you seen the entries in the Book of Hours that is in the Liverpool Museum with the Ewer family history in it? The book is suppose to have been in the Ann Boylen family prior to our family. I tried to go see it this past summer but the books were in storage as the museum was under construction.

Hi I am a direct relative of Philemon the ship builder who used the ewer coat of arms which was also used by the ewer family of Hertfordshire and am trying to find the link between the families .can you help. Regards

There is no link yet discovered. Any link would be pre 1600. There is no evidence to hint at a link so far. You can see on the web that Thomas who sailed to America was the son of a Henry Ewer but I have seen no evidence to support this.

Thinking through my fingers

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A well-known rhyming couplet, attributed to the British journalist William Norman Ewer, goes: “How odd of God, to choose the Jews.” The notion of the Jews as having been ‘chosen’ by God is a very grandiose statement, and those who are not Jewish, and see the claim as arrogant or patronising, can wonder what justifies &hellip Continue reading &rarr

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Charity appeal

Please consider helping my family and me as we raise money for the Duchess of Kent Hospice in Reading, Berkshire, which looked after my mother in the last few weeks of her fight against cancer.

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The Scots-Irish

Families interested in participating can do so by contacting the Scots-Irish DNA Project.

Click on a page to enlarge:


Not really missing, it is just that no Berry family has yet participated in the Scots Irish DNA Project. The list is growing rapidly, so I expect eventually some Berry families will join. Hope so.

I to come from scot-irish as my gr grandparents were that. So love finding new things on Glenn and and Underwood also Richmond's

Wow! Thank you. I am a direct descendent of the Clark,Dunlop,Dunlap,Murray,Crockett,and Sinclair's. I would love more info

It is an interesting project, finding out those families that identify as Scots-Irish here in the 21st Century. Many of the participating families have located their family that remained behind in Ireland and have reconnected the family, which is particularly rewarding.

Do you have to be strictly Scots Irish to participate? Most of my family's names are on the list and they're from Tyrone and possibly Derry. However we have a few ancestors from Cork.

With this project, we require the families self identify as 'Scots-Irish.' But, that group is more diverse than the stereotype. Generally the families of Ulster Scots origins, but many of the families from outside of Ulster, from Mayo, Sligo, Dublin, Cork, etc., some are native Irish families that became part of Scots-Irish society in the Colonies, also a lot a Highland Scots, Manx, Border English, and Welsh, became part of the group.

The population in 1820's in Derry/Londonderry was 50% Irish 25% English and 25% Scottish.I don't believe it was only Scottish descended borderers who made up what you call the Scots/Irish, Many Emigrants came directly to America from the borders of Northern England at that time also.
Highland Scots surely didn't have any cultural input into Scottish border culture did they? No bagpipes,or kilts or Celtic Christian names.
As far as I understand the people on both sides of the English Scottish border are mostly of Anglo Frisian, Germanic heritage becoming more Celtic in the West. Even Cumbria, formerly (Cumberland)is supposed to be marginally more English than Celtic.


Norman was born on March 21, 2034, and sent to Grace Field House a year later in 2035. When Norman was still a young child, he was known to fall sick easily due to his weak physique and health. Most of the sicknesses he had are colds, which were gotten either during winter Η] or even during downpours. ⎖]

Under the parental care of Isabella, as well as the happy times he spent with his fellow foster siblings, Norman had a happy childhood. Due to their close age and probably the fact that they are the top students academically, Norman was exceptionally close to Emma and Ray out of all the orphans in Grace Field, and thus interacted with the two often.

During a snowball fight in the winter of January 2039, Norman fainted due to the low temperature and had to be quarantined within the orphanage's sickbay. Emma, who cannot help to be isolated from her dear friend, sought to sneak into the sickbay and accompany him, but failed in every try as she was caught by Isabella consistently, who forbade her to stay near Norman in fear of how his cold might spread to her. He was also isolated from the other children by Isabella. In the end, Emma thought of interacting with Norman via a tin can telephone. Norman chatted with Emma and the other orphans merrily throughout the night. Η]

On November 2039, Norman and Emma persuaded Ray to not have his eyes stick to his book all the time. The two invited him to join them to explore the gate that encircles Grace Field House. ⎗] When the trio reached the gate, they all wondered what lies beyond the walls. Norman grabbed onto the giant door of the gate and wondered why it would never open as he theorized how it might be protecting them from something. The three recalled how Isabella once warned them how they should never go to the gate or beyond the fence due to danger that lurks around it. Norman doubted what their foster mother said. The three went back the orphanage soon after. ΐ]

Lords of the Manor after William Peverel

William Peverel the Younger (c1080–1155)

William Peverel was the first Norman lord of the manors of Langar and Barnstone which were given to him by King William the Conqueror. William Peverel married Adeline of Lancaster and they had four children.

Their eldest son, William Peverel the Younger, born in 1080, became lord of the manor after his father.

During William the Younger's time, there was civil war in England - a period called The Anarchy. Two cousins claimed the throne: Matilda and Stephen, both grandchildren of King William the Conqueror, fought each others armies to win the crown of England. William Peverel the Younger supported Stephen as king.

This was not a good move as it turned out.

In 1138 William Peverel the Younger was fighting against the Scots on behalf of Stephen (The Scottish king was Matilda's uncle). At the Battle of Lincoln three years later, Matilda's army captured King Stephen and William Peverel the Younger and other barons.

The King and William were later swapped for enemy prisoners - luckily for William!

Watch the video: Chris Norman - Ill meet you at midnight


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