The trouble with John Amery was that he thought the world owed him a living. The playboy son of an eminent British statesman, he was in his 20s when his cheques began to bounce, and he was arrested and jailed in Paris.

His long-suffering parents refused to bail him out when he was extradited to London to face his creditors, and in 1936 he was declared bankrupt. This prompted him to go to Spain to become a gun-runner for Franco in the Spanish Civil War. He also became a Fascist, and on moving to France in 1940 he was recruited by the occupying Nazis.

Two years later he began making propaganda broadcasts from Berlin for Hitler, who paid him well for his services. Amery also tried unsuccessfully to recruit British prisoners of war to fight the Russians for the Germans. Meanwhile his father Leopold Amery was a member of Churchill’s war cabinet!

In 1944 John Amery went to Italy at Mussolini’s invitation, and it was there that he was captured by Italian partisans who handed him over to the British Army.

Taken to London to be tried for high treason, he claimed that at the outbreak of the war he was a Spanish citizen. But all he could produce was a Spanish residence permit, so he dropped his claim and pleaded guilty.

Sentencing him to death at the Old Bailey, Mr. Justice Humphreys reminded him that when he tried to persuade British prisoners of war to fight for the Germans “they called you a traitor, and you heard them. But you paid no heed and went on with what you were doing.”

John Amery was now 33, and Britain settled its account with him on DECEMBER 19th, 1945, when he was executed at Pentonville Prison.