Her mother was detained for nine months, during which time she lost her teeth and her hair turned grey. ‘I went to see her, with Granny, and I hardly recognised her. She couldn’t speak, she just sat on the other side of a wide table, crying. She put out her hand, but I couldn’t reach it. I was just so sad and horrified.’
But a far greater shock was to come. In 1945, when Richard Dimbleby made his famous and devastating broadcast from Bergen-Belsen, Bailey learnt what had been happening to the Jews under Hitler. ‘It was a shot to my heart. I suddenly thought: I was doing that, I’d written “PJ” on walls. I felt so guilty.’
The images of the piled-up bodies of the dead were awful, terrifying. She determined to try to make up for what she’d done as a girl. She was fortunate to meet Anglican clergyman James Parkes, a driving force in the Council for Christians and Jews (The Parkes Institute at the University of Southampton continues his work), and spent the next two years working for him.
After her children grew up, she worked as a guardian ad litem, representing the interests of children in court cases.
And yet, like the other children and grandchildren of Mosley supporters I spoke to, Bailey feels no anger towards her mother and father. When I suggested to her that teaching a child of eight to perform the fascist salute and parrot anti-Semitic views might now be considered tantamount to child abuse, she just shrugged.
George Vincent, from Plymouth, is similarly forgiving. The fact that he takes an active interest in history, attending courses and lectures at his local U3A, gives him a wider historical perspective through which to view his parents’ past. He didn’t find out about their political affiliations until after the war.