David Irving portrait

David Irving

[Photo by David Gamble for The Independent on Sunday]

The PQ.l7 Libel Action, 1970

Captain J E Broome, vs. Cassell & Co Ltd and David Irving

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PQ.17 bookCaptain J E Broome, DSO, RN, the escort commander in this 1942 North Russian convoy disaster, sued David Irving in libel after the publication by Cassell and Co. Ltd. of this book in October 1968. The case came to trial in February 1970; after seventeen days the Jury awarded Broome what was then one of the largest sums of damages, including punitive damages, in history.



David Irving writes a memorandum for his Defence Counsel, January 27, 1970


a line-by-line refutation of the 1959 Daily Mail "self-confessed mild fascist" smear.


27 January 1970

Note for Counsel on Daily Mail article, May 1959.

1. This article contains an impressive number of minor and major errors. At the time I did not bother with them, as a "builder's labourer" puts up with more insults than here, without squirming. Indeed, I welcomed having a powerful newspaper apparently on my side in a bitter College dispute.

2. I was 21, not 24 (born in 1938); I earned about £8, not £15 per week.

3. The magazine was not a "propaganda plea for Fascism", it was a typical student satire magazine, rather cleaner than most, with cunning articles like "Christopher Robin -- the Facts," and others.

4. There was no "bitter attack on America". There was no cartoon deriding Negroes in the University, rather there was a cartoon underlining the double-standards of the whites in their attitude towards the Commonwealth immigrants.

5. The words attributed to Richard Garnett ("He is not a student" etc.) are impossible. Garnett had full reason to know that I was a registered, fee-paying physics student, attending lectures for vital examinations in June 1959.

6. "I told Irving he was sacked" is wrong. When the University intimated that my decision on the magazine's content was not final, I tendered my resignation.

7. I belonged to the Young Conservatives at Imperial College, I have never called myself a "mild Fascist" (or mild anything else for that matter).

8. I returned from Madrid direct through France, at the end of January 1959. I have only visited Berchtesgaden once in my life, and like any other tourist I visited the Berghof bunker ruins. If Berchtesgaden is my shrine, I must be a poor pilgrim.

9. "I edited..." This paragraph is a reasonable summary of my statements to the reporter.

10. "Extracts. . . etc." These are clearly extracted from the magazine's satirical articles, which the journalist has taken seriously.

11. Should any great debate on the magazine start in the Court proceedings ("Broome Case") it will be easiest if the magazine itself is produced in Court.

David Irving.

Notes: The "College" was Imperial College, London University. Richard Garnett was the I.C. Student Union president in 1959.

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