?He was precocious and had an unwashed an untidy appearance. I remember the lining of his school cap sticking out at the back of his head. He had a strong and aggressive voice, and breathed nasally, almost snorting. He never played games but was strong physically. He had thin fair hair, was rather low in stature and a little chubby.
He was very clever in school. In 2nd prep he wrote as essay on a boat trip up the Corrib, which was read to the senior classes as a sample of good English writing. His talk was ponderous and he was fond of using big and strange words. He became a member of the Baden-Powell boy scouts ? then regarded as very British, and not organised in Galway ? and he enthusiastically wore the khaki kit, and demonstrated the various scout signs with his fingers.
He was very pro-British, and when the Great War was on, he had frequent rows with other boys who had Sinn Fein sympathies. At those times he showed a fierce temper, and tremendous courage.
Later when the Black and Tans arrived, and were quartered at Lenaboy Castle, Taylor?s Hill, Joyce hob-nobbed with them very courageously, rode around in the front seat of their Crossley Tenders, used to go to Lenaboy Castle for his lunch, and occasionally was able to produce a revolver or small egg-bomb in school class.
He was a boastful character, and fancied himself as a strong-willed personality. His father became manager of the Galway General Omnibus Company, and Willie (he was always known as that) used to temporarily act as conductor. I think the family moved to the Bus Depot in Victoria Place. My recollection of that house is of Willie messing about with his chemical set in which he took a great interest ? very unusual for boys of that time.?
Some recollections of the late Billy Naughton there of his fellow classmate in the Jez ? William Joyce, later to become world famous as Lord Haw Haw. Our two photographs today show Joyce as a member of the Holy Angels Sodality in Galway, and as a pupil in the Jez. He lived in Ruttledge Terrace in Rockbarton, and it was a place obviously very dear to him. In one of his last letters to his wife, written from his prison cell in September 1945, he wrote ? ?I am very anxious that you should go to Galway and see the docks, Long Walk, Nile Lodge, O?Briens Bridge, Taylor?s Hill, Lenaboy Castle on the Corrib but above all the stretch from Salthill to Blackrock, the promenade where us used to live behind. It has been my treasured dream to take you there myself. But I can still walk with you in the spirit there. Look out towards the Aran Islands, draw in the Atlantic air, gaze on the rocks where I romped in my boyhood, first gaining that glimpse, mysteriously, of the infinite, which is now so near to me. What a saga my life would make!?
What a saga indeed. It has now been done, in the form of a biography of Joyce by distinguished author and journalist Mary Kenny. It is being launched this evening, and is available in good bookshops. A terrific read, and very highly recommended. The title is easy to remember - ?Germany Calling?.