Female racing ace hoarded pictures of Hitler during wartime internment

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The celebrated female racing driver Fay Taylour hoarded a cache of pictures of Adolf Hitler during a three-year prison spell in the Second World War, British Security Service files have revealed.

The sportswoman was interned by British authorities in June 1940 because of her pro-Nazi beliefs. A few months earlier, in a letter to a friend, the Irish-born driver said: "I love Nazi Germany and the German people and their leader and this war seems terribly unfair."

She was eventually freed when the Government decided that if she were returned to her native country she could pose no threat to Britain.

A memo from the detention camp authorities, released today at the National Archives in Kew, revealed the extent of her devotion to the Nazi cause. It said: "She is in the habit of hoarding pictures of Hitler and had in her possession a hymn in which his name was substituted for God's."

Taylour, born in 1904, began her motoring career by riding speedway bikes, but went on to race cars. Her first was at the Brooklands circuit in Surrey in 1931, where she took part in a women's handicap, driving a Talbot 105 and lapping at 107.80 mph.

Her reputation for speed led to her being dubbed "Flying Fay from Dublin". But away from the track the driver was sympathetic to Nazi Germany and became a member of the British Union of Fascists. She distributed pro-German propaganda and was a member of several other extreme right-wing organisations

Taylour was jailed after an anonymous tip-off to Scotland Yard. At an April 1942 appeal hearing against her internment, she explained why she had joined the Fascists: "They said 'keep out of affairs in Central Europe', and I most sincerely believed that we should have done."

The Home Secretary approved her release in autumn 1943. Taylour resumed a racing career after the war. She died in 1983.