German spies that were caught in the UK during World War One (1914-8) were dealt with under various sections of the Defence of the Realm legislation. It was for acts committed under this law, that the leaders of the Irish Easter Uprising were courts-martialled. Roger Casement, who was tried and executed in 1916, was tried under the High Treason Act.
The condemned spies were shot by firing squad either in the old miniature rifle range in The Tower of London or The Tower’s ditch. The rifle range was demolished for office space in 1969, and later converted into car-parking space. All the executed spies were buried in East London Cemetery, in Plaistow, London.
Karl Lody was the first person in approximately 150 years to be executed at The Tower of London. He was the first of the convicted World War One spies to shot in the rifle range at The Tower.
The General courts-martial of Karl Lody took place at The Middlesex Guildhall, Westminster, on Friday, Saturday and Monday 30, 31 October and 2 November 1914.
Judge Advocate: Mr. Kenneth Marshall, Barrister at Law.
President: Major-General Lord Cheylesmore, KCVO.
Members: Colonel H.T. Fenwick, MVO, DSO, Colonel T.C.P. Calley, CB, MVO, Battalion-Colonel J.A.G. Richardson Drummond-Hay, Lieutenant-Colonel P.C.J. Scott, Lieutenant-Colonel F.G. Langham, Lieutenant-Colonel E. Fitx G.M. Wood, DSO, Major W.D. Mann Thomson and Major G. Trotter, MVO, DSO.
Waiting: Lieutenant-Colonel O. Haig, Lieutenant-Colonel G.R. Tod, Major J. Wingfield, DSO.
Shorthand: Mr. George Walpole, Mr. George Henry King, Mr. George Galloway.
Prosecution: Mr. A.H. Bodkin, Mr. Gattie. Instructed by D.P.P.
Defence Counsel: Mr. George Elliott, KC, Mr. Roland Harker, Messrs Hewitt, Urquhart & Woolacott.
Carl Lody, also known as Charles A. Inglis, was charged with two offences under the Defence of the Realm regulations. Carl Lody pleaded not guilty to both charges.
Attempted to convey information calculated to be useful to an enemy by sending a letter from Edinburgh on 27 September 1914 to Herr J. Stammer in Berlin, which contained information with regard to the defences and preparations for war of Great Britain.
Committed war treason against Great Britain by sending a letter from Dublin, around 30 September 1914, to Herr J. Stammer in Berlin which contained information with regard to the defence and preparations for war of Great Britain.
SEQUENCE OF EVENTS
4 August 1914:
Lody obtains an American Passport from the United States Embassy in Berlin in the name of Charles A. Inglis. Lody spoke excellent English with an American accent.
16 August 1914:
Lody’s American Passport has a visa stamped by the United States’ Representative at Hamburg.
20 August 1914:
Certificate of Registration shows Lody at Bergen, Norway.
27 August 1914:
Lody arrived at The North British Hotel, Edinburgh. He registers as Charles A. Inglish, an American citizen.
30 August 1914:
Lody goes to the Post Office in Edinburgh, and sends a telegram to Adolf Burchard, 4 Trottumgatten, Stockholm, Sweden.
1 September 1914:
Lody leaves the hotel and requests the hotel to re-address his letters to the Cunard Co. at Liverpool. Lody then goes to a Miss Brown, who keeps a boarding house at 12 Drumsheugh Gardens, Edinburgh. He then hires a bicycle, and spends the next few days cycling around the Queensferry and Royseth areas of Edinburgh.
15 September 1914:
Lody leaves Miss Brown’s boarding house in Edinburgh, and travels to London. Lody registers at the Ivanhoe Hotel in Bloomsbury, London.
16 September 1914:
Lody, posing as the American citizen Charles A. Inglis, sends a report to Herr J. Stammer in Berlin.
17 September 1914:
In the morning, Lody leaves the hotel, and examines the measures being taken to guard public buildings in London. Lody arrives back at Miss Brown’s Edinburgh boarding house in the evening.
25 September 1914:
Lody reports to Miss Downie at the bicycle depot in Edinburgh, that he has damaged his bicycle in an accident.
26 September 1914:
Lody settles his account with Miss Downie.
28 September 1914:
Lody leaves Edinburgh, and is next seen at the London & North Western Railway Hotel at Liverpool.
29 September 1914:
Lody leaves Liverpool on the 10.55am train for Holyhead, and then on the “Munster” to Dublin.
2 October 1914:
Lody leaves Dublin, and travels to the Great Southern Hotel in Killarney. In the evening, `Charles A. Inglis’ is arrested by District Inspector Cheesman. After being taken to the police barracks, Lody was searched and the notebook, in his possession, contained the essentials of the 2 telegrams that he had sent. The police also found œ175 in English money, some German gold and some Norwegian kronen notes.
Contents of Trial
The letters which had been sent by Charles A. Inglis (Lody’s alias), had been intercepted and examined in London. This was the case for all mail between Norway and Sweden. Several of the witnesses at Lody’s courts-martial confirmed various parts of the prosecution’s case.
During his examination on the 2nd day of the trial, Lody admitted that he was a German subject. He also stated that he was Junior Lieutenant in the German Navy Reserve. He joined the navy after leaving school, serving one year before transferring to the Naval Reserve. Lody had married an American lady, but the marriage was dissolved with Lody receiving $10,000 from his former Father-in-law as compensation for his financial loss.
When cross-examined by the prosecution, Lody admitted that the American Passport, in the name of Charles A. Inglis, was a fake and that he had pretended to be an American citizen. He went on to say that his mission, of gathering information, would “… hopefully save my country, but probably not me.”. He went on to say that he was an unwilling agent, but he had his orders to carry out.
The prosecution examination then covered the notes, in his notebook, about the defences around the Queensferry area: the type and calibre of the port guns. He also had the details in his notebook of someone connected with the United States Embassy in Wilhelmstrasse in Berlin.
The prosecutor called Lody “… a dangerous man. It is against such men that the Customary International Law is aimed … and it is those tribunals which administer that law, which the protection of this state’s interests can be obtained.”.
The defence claimed that Lody had only done what he thought was best for his country. That he does not cringe the favour of the court, but will accept “… the spirit of manhood which prompted his to carry his life in his hand when he came into this country.”.
Carl Lody was found guilty of both charges, and was sentenced to death by shooting. When the Assistant Provost-Marshal fetched Lody from his cell, Lody said “I suppose that you will not care to shake hands with a German spy?” The Assistant Provost-Marshal replied “No. But I will shake hands with a brave man”.
Carl Lody was executed at the Tower of London on 6 November 1914, by a firing squad composed of members of the 3rd Battalion, Grenadier Guards. He was subsequently buried in East London Cemetery, Plaistow. The money found on Lody, at the time of his arrest, was used to pay for his legal costs incurred at his courts-martial.
John Fraser was a Yeoman Warder of the Tower at the time of Lody’s execution. He later wrote the following account:
The following morning, 6 November 1914, broke cold, foggy and bleak, and at a very early hour Lody was brought from his cell [29 The Casemates], and the grim procession formed up on the veranda of the Tower Main Guard. It was led by the Chaplain, solemnly reading the Burial Service, followed by the prisoner, with an armed escort marching on either side of him, and the firing-party of eight stalwart guardsman bringing up the rear.
Nobody liked this sort of thing. It was altogether too cold-blooded for an ordinary stomach (particularly that of a soldier, who hates cold-bloodedness) to face with equanimity, and it is not too much to say that, of that sad little procession, the calmest and most composed member was the condemned man himself.
For the Chaplain, in particular, it was a bad time. He had never had a similar experience, and his voice had a shake in it as he intoned the solemn words of the Burial Service over the living form of the man it most concerned. His hands, too, as he held the book, trembled a little, the more honour to him!
The escort and the firing-party, too, were far from comfortable, and one could see that the slow march suitable to the occasion was getting badly on their nerves. They wanted to hurry over it, and get the beastly business finished.
But the prisoner walked steadily, stiffly upright, and yet as easily and unconcerned as though he was going to a tea-party, instead of to his death. His eyes were upturned to the gloomy skies, and his nostrils eagerly drank in the precious air that was soon to be denied them. But his face was quite calm and composed – almost expressionless.
Then came a queer and pathetic little incident. As they came to the end of the veranda, the Chaplain, in his nervousness, made to turn left, which was the wrong way. Instantly Lody took a quick step forward, caught the Chaplain by the right arm, and with a polite and kindly smile, gently guided him to the right – the correct way.
A few moments later the procession disappeared through the doorway of the sinister shed, and shortly after that came the muffled sound of a single volley. Carl Lody had paid!
When I think of Carl Lody a phrase always slips into my head – just three little words: “A gentlemen, unafraid!”
CARL FREDERICK MULLER
Carl Frederick Muller was born on 21 February 1857, in Libau. He was fluent in Russian, German, Dutch, Flemish and English, all spoken with hardly any accent. His Father was Henry Julius Muller, and both parents also came from the same town. Following the death of his Father, when Muller was 11 years old, and the death of his Mother, Muller went to live with his Uncle, Mr. Schneider, who was also the Mayor of Libau.
When he became 16, Muller went to sea and a year later he entered the employ of the American Shipping Company, where he worked on several English and American ships.
By 1881, Muller married a Norwegian lady and the family eventually moved to Antwerp. In 1899, Muller entered into business with an Englishman called Mr. le Blanc, as a cargo superintendent, mainly dealing with German steamers.
When the First World War broke out on 4 August 1914, Muller’s landlord moved away and left the entire house in Muller’s hands.
After their bombardment of Antwerp, the Germans entered the the city on 8 October 1914. Muller had German soldiers billeted in his house. Around 26 October 1914, Muller was becoming short of money, so he went to see the German civil governor, about arranging for him to travel to Germany to collect some mechanical engines that were needed in Antwerp. On 28 December 1914, Muller arrived back in Antwerp. It was sometime during this period that he was recruited into the German Secret Service. He was viewed as an ideal recruit, being fluent in several languages, had a good knowledge about shipping and short of cash.
On 9 January 1915, Muller boarded the Whitby Abbey at Rotterdam and sailed for Hull, landing two days later. During this voyage, he told one of the stewards that he was going to stay with some friends in Sunderland. During his time in Sunderland, Muller stayed with various acquaintances he had meet during his pre-war years in Antwerp.
On 13 January 1915, Muller booked into an establishment in London at 38 Guildford Street, off Russell Square. Just after arriving at his new lodgings, Muller sailed for the Continent on the Princess Juliana arriving at Flushing. He remained here, before returning to England on the Orange Nassau.
During February 1915, Muller wrote several letters. These were sent to people who had apparently had nothing to do with Muller or had not even heard of the names used in the letters. These letters were all intercepted. After being examined by the British Intelligence Services, invisible ink had been used to write German sentences between apparently harmless sounding English sentences.
After Muller returned from another trip to the Continent on 13 February 1915, he was visited three days later by Inspector Buckley (CID New Scotland Yard) at his lodgings at 38 Guildford Street. As the Inspector found nothing of note, the matter was dropped. This visit did not deter Muller, as on 20 February 1915, he sent another letter in the same style as before.
While in London, Muller went to an baker’s address in Deptford where he met John Hahn. Muller had previously met Hahn in Antwerp during the wedding of his landlord’s daughter. Hahn was British-born and a British subject, although his parents were both German. When Hahn was 14, his Father sent him to Germany, where he remained for a number of years, before returning to England. However, with the outbreak of war Hahn had serious financial problems which left him vulnerable to bribery.
On 21 February 1915, Muller called again at Hahn’s address. While here, Muller asked Hahn to write a letter, in English, to a contact Muller knew on the Continent who may be able to offer Hahn a position. Hahn wrote the letter, and gave it to Muller who then wrote in invisible ink more messages in German. After sending this letter (which was intercepted), Hahn decided to write another letter to Muller’s friend hoping that he could indeed find him a job. This letter was signed by Hahn, with his real name and like the other letters was intercepted. This letter also contained invisibly written information, done by Hahn.
As this letter was intercepted, it was compared to the previous letter and not surprising the writing of Hahn was matched. Later on the 24 February 1915, Inspector George Riley (Special Branch, New Scotland Yard) went to Hahn’s residence where he found a pen and a piece of lemon. He also found a piece of paper with Muller’s Guildford Street address written on it in invisible ink. Muller was arrested late on the 25 February 1915 by Inspector Edward Parker (Special Branch, New Scotland Yard).
Muller and Hahn were both tried at the Central Criminal Court (Old Bailey) on 2-4 June 1915, before the Lord Chief Justice. Muller pleaded not guilty while Hahn pleaded guilty. The court then heard the case against Muller. Muller was found guilty and sentenced to death by shooting. Hahn was sentenced to 7 years imprisonment.
On 21 June 1915, Muller’s appeal was rejected. The following day Muller was taken from Brixton Prison to The Tower of London, using a London Taxi Cab which broke down on the journey. Muller eventually reached the Tower in another Cab.
The Assistant Commissioner of Police at New Scotland Yard, Sir Basil Thomson, later wrote the following account of Muller’s execution, which took place at 6am on 23 June 1915:
On Wednesday 23 June at 6am, in the Miniature Rifle Range at the Tower, the prisoner was calm, shook hands with me and thanked me. I led him to the chair which was tied to short stakes driven into the ground, he sat on it quietly and the Sergeant buckled a leather strap round his body and the back of the chair and then blindfolded him with a cloth. The firing party consisted of 8 guardsmen. I watched as closely as possible and went to him immediately after he was shot. I saw no expression of pain. I found no pulse and no sign of life. Death appeared to be instantaneous, and the body retained the same position. The bullets probably in fragments had passed through the thorax and out of the back. Some blood, mixed with what appeared to be bone, had escaped through the clothing a 7 or 8 drops had fallen to the ground. The body was carried on a stretcher into the isolation ward.
JANSSEN & ROOS
On 12 May 1915, the SS Estrom arrived at Hull. Janssen disembarked and registered as an alien, telling the officer that he was a Dutchman from Amsterdam and a traveling cigar salesman.
On 22 May 1915, Janssen had travelled to Southampton via London. Despite telling the hotel clerk that he had a very bad cold, he had been busy and the British Security Services began to suspect that an enemy spy was operating in the Southampton area. They had intercepted telegrams sent by Janssen, claiming to be about cigars. However, from their knowledge of codes, they appeared to have another interpretation.
As a consequence, Janssen was arrested by Inspector John Thomas McCormack on 30 May 1915. While in Janssen’s hotel room the Inspector noticed three or four bags and several cardboard boxes. The boxes were found to contain samples of cigars. Janssen was informed that he was arrested under suspicion of espionage. Later that day, Detective Sergeant Bertram Sumpton (New Scotland Yard) collected Janssen and together they travelled to London.
After their arrival in London, Janssen possessions were examined. Among them was a Dutch Passport showing that Janssen was a subject of the Netherlands (which was neutral in World War One). There were also several telegrams between Janssen and Dierks & Co, including a letter stating that he was employed by them. More suspicious was an order book which was completely empty.
On 30 April 1915, Willem Johannes Roos informed the British Vice-Consul in Amsterdam that he intended travelling to the UK as a cigar salesman. Roos arrived in London on 13 May 1915, before travelling to Newcastle. On 18 May, Roos journeyed to Edinburgh, staying in a hotel near Leith Port which was used by Royal Navy vessels.
On 18 May Roos sent a telegram to Dierks at the Hague, followed by another telegram on 21 May. Both were intercepted, but they were allowed to continue. However, on 24 May a postcard of HMS Indefatigable addressed to Dierks was intercepted. At this time, copies of the other intercepted telegrams were examined and it was noticed that they had all been sent from places which had naval ports. What Roos and Janssen had done, was to use a code to send information about British ships. However, they had failed to noticed about cigar salesmen travelling around naval ports is that most ordinary sailors preferred cigarettes and pipes.
On 2 June 1915, Roos was arrested by Inspector Albert Fitch (CID New Scotland Yard). In the bags found in Roos’ room was a passport, several documents and a pocket book containing a number of notes made in pencil. When the documents were examined they exposed several numbers and letters, which appeared to be map references.
On 3 June 1915 at New Scotland Yard both Janssen and Roos were interrogated by Assistant Commissioner of Police Sir Basil Thomson. After Janssen was interviewed, he was led into another room whilst Roos was interviewed. In his statement Roos admitted knowing Janssen, although he stated that he did not know that he was in England. While being led away, Roos attempted to kill himself by smashing a window and cutting his wrist, but he was restrained and taken to Westminster Hospital and then to Brixton Prison.
Janssen’s court-martial took place at the Middlesex Guildhall, Westminster, on 16 July 1915, before Lord Cheylesmore (the same court president tried Lody). Cigar experts gave evidence that cigars would not be transported in that type of box as they would spoil. Also the names of the cigars used by Janssen in his messages were unknown. Janssen presented no defence and made no statement. Janssen was found guilty and sentenced to death by shooting.
The following day, 17 July 1915, Roos was tried at the same place with the same court president. Again cigar experts were called, and it quickly became apparent that Roos’ knowledge was very limited. Roos was sentenced to death by shooting. Roos’ insanity was investigated but it called for no modification of the sentence.
The execution was to take place on 30 July 1915, at 6am and 6.10am by a detachment of the Scots Guards, and took place in the Tower ditch.
The following is an account of the execution:
On 30 July there was a scene in the Tower of London which for grimness was never surpassed during the war. In the early dawn Janssen was led forth to face the firing party. His iron nerve, which had not deserted him throughout, held good to the finish and he died as he had lived, a brave man.
Roos eyed the fatal chair, from which the bleeding body of his accomplice had just been removed, with a fair show of indifference, begging leave to finish the cigarette he had requested as a last favour. That ended, he took one last look at it, then threw it away with a gesture which represented utter contempt for all the failings of this world. With apparently no more interest in the proceedings, he seated himself in the chair. There was a momentary twinging of the face as they fastened the bandage around his face, but that was all. He too died bravely, and met his fate with a courage which could evoke nothing but admiration.
Ernst Melin was a Swede, aged 49 in 1915. Melin’s Father was Olaf Melin, who had been a member of the Swedish Parliament for 30 years and owned a shipping company business in Gothenburg. Ernst Melin always claimed that his brother was a Colonel in the Swedish Army.
When the First World War started on 4 August 1914, Melin lost his job in a shipbroker’s office located in the Russian town of Nikolaieff. He suggested to his Father that he was going to Hamburg, in Germany, as he had several long-standing friends living there.
When he arrived in Hamburg, his friends proved of little assistance in find a job for Melin. However, Melin’s Father suggested a friend who was a Swedish commission agent based in Hamburg, a man called Gerdes. One day Gerdes asked Melin to have lucnh with him, as he had a proposition to put to him. After lunch, Melin was introduced to several of Gerdes’ German visitors. Later in a private meeting one of the Germans suggested that Melin should go to London and find out naval and military secrets. The next day, Melin accepted the German’s offer.
Melin then travelled to Antwerp, where he met Dierks. A meeting was held with a German Captain Lieutenant Larsson and another man called Schnitzner. They told Melin that he should go to various ports around England and Scotland. Melin left Rotterdam, later arriving in London and, on 12 January 1915, took lodgings in Hampstead near Belsize Park Underground Station.
After a fortnight of reporting various interesting items he had seen around London, Melin returned to Rotterdam, and on to Antwerp where he met his German contacts including Dierks. It was eventually agreed that Melin would be paid £50 per month. Melin then returned to England on 26 February 1915.
The British Security Services had been suspicious of Melin for sometime. Also Dierks was already known to to be one of the main people organising German spying activities.
However, things became much more serious when the security services intercepted two parcels address to Melin’s UK lodgings. One was posted in the Tilbury area, the other parcel had been posted in Gravesend. One of the parcels contain an envelope of unused stamps. Another envelope contained a letter, which when examined, had some hidden writing in both English and German. The Gravesend parcel contained another innocently worded letter in English, but under examination yet more invisible writing, in English, was discovered. This invisible letter was discussing the movements of certain Royal Navy ships, and whether Melin would be able to find out more definite information.
At 10.15pm on 14 June 1915, Divisional Detective Inspector Thomas Duggan and Sergeant Askew went to Melin’s lodgings and arrested him. One of the books in Melin’s possession was a guide book with dots placed against the names of places like Glasgow, Norwich, Portsmouth and Plymouth. There was also a collection of writing nibs, and several dictionaries for working in German, Swedish and English. When examined, the nibs had been used to write invisible ink. One of the notebooks also contained notes about some of the soldiers, and their regiments, that Melin had seen on his journey in and around London.
Melin’s court-martial took place on 20-21 August 1915 at the Middlesex Guildhall, with the President being Major-General Lord Cheylesmore. The Prosecution case was presented by Captain Wedderburn and Mr. Bodkin. The defence team were Mr. George Elliott and Mr. H.D. Roome. Melin was found guilty and sentenced to death by shooting.
It was observed that in the period between his trial and execution, Melin was a model prisoner who gave no trouble to his guards. At 6am on 10 September 1915, Ernst Waldemar Melin was executed by a firing squad composed of members of the Scots Guards. The execution took place in the Tower of London’s Miniature Rifle Range.
AUGUSTO ALFREDO ROGGEN
Augusto Alfredo Roggen’s Father was a German who had become a Uruguay citizen in 1885, and that he himself was married to a German lady. He had a good command of English.
Roggen sailed from Rotterdam on the Batavia, arriving at Tilbury Docks on 30 May 1915, After disembarking from the ship, Roggen told the Aliens’ Officer that he intended to travel to Scotland. Roggen was allowed to proceed, arriving in Edinburgh on 5 June 1915.
After arriving at the hotel, he stated on the hotel registration that he was a farmer, and that he was interested in agricultural vehicles. Roggen had visited some agricultural companies in London, but they were suspicious about his apparent lack of references or even knowledge of the horses that he was attempting to buy. Later the next day, Roggen got into conversation with the Hotel Manager’s wife asking about going around the Trossachs and the availability of local hotels. He also expressed a keenness about fishing, although he had no fishing equipment with him.
Before leaving Edinburgh, Roggen sent two postcards to Holland. They were both intercepted, as they had been sent to addresses familiar to the British Security Services. They were copied and then allowed to carry on their postal journey.
On 9 June 1915, Roggen booked into the Tarbet at Loch Lomond. He purchased a map of Loch Lomond and the head of Loch Long, which is part of the Firth of Clyde. Loch Long was significant as it was a restricted area, and fishing was banned. It had previously been used for testing torpedoes.
By this time, British Security Service had become concerned, and so later on 9 June 1915 Roggen was arrested at his new hotel by Superintendent John Wright. Roggen was taken to London, where Roggen and his luggage were handed over to Inspector Edmund Buckley (Special Branch). Roggen was found to be possession of a Browning revolver with 50 rounds of ammunition, together with fluids used for writing invisible messages. He was also unable or unwilling to explain the postcards sent to known enemy espionage addresses.
Roggen was tried by courts-martial at Middlesex Guildhall, Westminster, on 20 August 1915, before the president Major-General Lord Cheysmore. Roggen gave no evidence and made no statement. He was found guilty and sentenced to death by shooting. Roggen’s original execution was postponed, as the Uruguayan Ambassador sent a note to the War Office. However, it was felt that there was nothing in the note, which could change the sentence.
Roggen was shot by a firing squad composed from members of 3rd Battalion, Scot Guards. The execution took place at 6am on 17 September 1915. It was observed that Roggen faced death as a brave man, marching to the chair with a defiant air, refusing to have his eyes blindfolded.
Fernando Buschman was born on 16 August 1890, in Paris, of a naturalised Brazilian Father and Brazilian Mother, who was originally from Denmark. Fernando was sent to Austria for his education, before entering a mechanical school at Karlstein, and finishing at Zurich. Following the death of his Father in 1907, Fernando returned to his Mother in Vienna. However, Fernando soon travelled to work with his brother at a firm of mechanical engineers in Rio de Janeiro. After a couple of years, Fernando returned to his Mother in Vienna. This arrangement was not working, so Fernando decided to travel to Paris. After an unsuccessful attempt at an airplane manufacturing business, Fernando returned to Brazil, starting up a business called Buschman & Bello importing food from Germany and England, in turn exporting bananas and potatoes back to this countries.
After the outbreak of the First World War, Buchman travelled to Hamburg so he could tidy up his business affairs, which had been badly affected by the anti-German feeling in the UK.
On 14 April 1915, Buschman arrived in London staying at the Piccadilly Hotel. However, as he was short of money he sent a telegram requesting £12. Almost a week later, Buschman went to the office of Messrs Bolus & Co, which were located at 487-489 Salisbury House, London Wall, City of London. While at this office, Bushman met Emil Samuel Franco. Franco asked what Buschman wanted. He replied that he was a Brazilian with a German-sounding surname, and that Bolus & Co had stopped shipments from his company in Brazil. He was concerned that this could have been caused by the company ceasing to trade with a Germany-interests company. Their friendship flourished to the extent that they often went out drinking together.
At 9am on 23 April 1915, Buschman was seen off by Franco from London’s Waterloo Rail Station. He had previously explained to Franco that he was visiting various food merchants in the Southampton area. Later that day, Buschman returned saying to Franco that he had returned from Portsmouth. Both Southampton and Portsmouth were major ports. The following day, Buschman moved to the cheaper Strand Palace and received a telegram from Flores Dierks & Co. Later in May 1915, Buschman travelled to Amsterdam, in neutral Holland. After returning on 16 May 1915. However money was still a problem so another telegram was sent to Flores requesting more money be sent to Buschman, who had moved into lodgings in Harrington Road, South Kensington.
The British Security Services had intercepted all the telegrams, as they were aware from previous spies that Dierks was a major organising officer for spies sent to the UK. On 4 June 1915, they decided to act. Very early on the morning of 5 June 1915, Buschman was arrested by Inspector George Riley (New Scotland Yard) at his lodgings. When he was later questioned, Buschman stated that he had been employed by Dierks & Co in Amsterdam. He added that although he was suspicious of Mr Dierks and that he had been asked to find out information, he said that he was not the sort of person to furnish such information. He also denied sending the telegrams to Dierks in Amsterdam, neither was he able to explain why Mr Dierks was so interested in a new employee that he was sending several transfers of money via telegram.
Fernando Buschman’s courts-martial took place on 29-30 September 1915, at Middlesex Guildhall. The courts president was Major-General Lord Cheylesmore. The Prosecution Case was presented by Mr. A.H. Bodkin and Lieutenant Peevor. Buschman was represented by Mr. Curtis Bennett, and he pleaded not guilty. Buschman presented evidence on his own behalf.
Buschman was found guilty and sentenced to death by shooting. He asked that he be allowed to have his violin, to keep his mind occupied in his last hours. The request was granted. The night before his execution, Buschman played through the night. When his guard collected him for the walk to the miniature rifle range, Buschman picked up his violin and kissed it saying “Goodbye, I shall not want you any more”.
At 7am on 19 October 1915, Fernando Buschman was executed by a firing squad composed of members of the 3rd Battalion Scots Guards.
GEORGE TRAUGOTT BREECKOW
George Traugott Breeckow was born in Stettin (then in Germany) in 1882. His Father was born in Riga, and became a German citizen. Breeckow later followed his Father into the piano trade, later travelling to the USA and becoming an American citizen. Following the death of his Father, Breeckow returned to Germany on 28 May 1914.
Following a short period of time working for a back, he tried to obtain work as an Imperial Messenger, or courier, to neutral countries, especially the USA (which did not enter World War One until 1917). Breeckow was sent a new passport which allowed him to travel to Antwerp. While here, Breeckow made several requests about his travel to the USA, but his employers in the Bureau of Foreign Affairs (based in Berlin) told him to wait and that there was no rush. After being told that they were unsure of the situation regarding American-German relations, Breeckow was told that he would first have to go to England. They told him that as his existing passport had a Berlin stamp, he would be issued with a new passport in the name of Reginald Rowland. He was also told to travel to The Hague and meet a Mr Dierks.
When he arrived in Rotterdam, Breeckow travelled to The Hague where he met Dierks. As previously arranged, Dierks arranged a business cover for Breeckow.
Finally, Breeckow arrived at Gravesend on 11 May 1915. He travelled to London where he booked into the Ivanhoe Hotel, Bloomsbury Street. He then sent a letter to his contact, a lady called Mrs Wertheim, making an appointment to meet her on 13 May 1915. Mrs Wertheim had been recruited by German Intelligence as she attempted to return home, but became trapped in Amsterdam, with a failed marriage and short of money.
They arranged several meetings in various parts of London. On 22 May 1915, the couple booked in at the Grand Hotel in Bournemouth, taking separate rooms: Breeckow used his alias of Reginald Rowland, and Wertheim registered as Lizzie Wertheim, born in London.
While in Bournemouth, Breeckow had written on a copy of the Star and Echo newspaper an invisible message about various troop transports arriving at Southampton. This was posted to H. Flores at 127a Binneweg, Rotterdam, along with copies of other newspapers. These packages were intercepted by the British Security Services, who quickly realised that another spy was working in the UK.
Following their stay in Bournemouth, Breeckow and Wertheim travelled to various towns along the First of Forth. This area contained several towns which, as they were naval ports, were prohibited for aliens to enter. They returned to London on 3 June 1915, with Breeckow staying at the Imperial Hotel in London, and Wertheim staying at 62 Hammersmith Road.
After his arrival, Breeckow sent a letter to Flores, using a Rotterdam address. However, Breeckow wrote his own address on the back of the envelope. This was intercepted by the British Security Services, and on 4 June 1915 Breeckow was arrested at his hotel by Detective Inspector Herbert Fitch (New Scotland Yard). While examining Breeckow’s property, some rice paper was found hidden inside a shaving brush. On this paper, in Breeckow’s handwriting, was the details of several Royal Navy vessels. Wertheim was arrested by Detective Inspectors Edmund Buckley and Herbert Finch on 9 June 1915. When her possessions were searched, a letter addressed to one of Breeckow’s aliases.
Both Breeckow and Wertheim were tried together at the Central Criminal Court (Old Bailey) in London, on 14-17 September 1915. Both pleaded not guilty to the charges, although during the trial Breeckow admitted a great deal which protected Wertheim. The jury took just eight minutes to decided that both of them were guilty. Wertheim was sentenced to ten years imprisonment, and Breeckow was sentenced to death by shooting. Breeckow’s appeal to the Court of Criminal Appeal, and Petition to King George V were all refused.
During the period between his sentenced being passed, and his execution Breeckow broke down completely, and spent his remaining days in apathetic existence. He was led to the execution spot in a near state of collapse, and when sat in the wooden chair within the Tower’s Miniature Rifle Range, he requested that his eyes be bound with a lady’s silk handkerchief. As this was not large enough to round his head, this was attached to the usual bandage and then around his head. He was shivering with fright, and was in a very agitated state.
At 7am on 26 October 1915, Breeckow was shot by a firing squad composed of members from the 3rd Battalion Scots Guards.
Wertheim was initially sent to Aylesbury Prison, but during 1918 she was certified as insane and transferred to Broadmoor Criminal Lunatic Asylum. Her behaviour and general medical condition became worse and she died of pulmonary tuberculosis on 29 July 1920.
IRVING GUY RIES
Irving Guy Ries was an alias, and during his courts-martial he consistently refused to disclose his real name, as he stated that he wished to protect other people, mainly in the USA. He disclosed his real name just before his execution, but the name is not shown in his papers at the Public Records Office.
Irving Guy Ries was born in Chicago, USA. At the time of execution, he was 55 years old.
On 4 July 1915, after arriving from New York via Liverpool, Ries travelled to London, where he booked into the Hotel Cecil in the Strand, which was a hotel well known to American visitors of the day. He claimed that he was a sales representative for the hay and corn business of two American firms: Charles Schaefer & Sons, and Eidt & Wayand, both firms located in New York.
Yet again the British Security Services intercepted a telegram dated 9 July 1915. This telegram, transferring the sum of £40, was sent to Ries by N.M. Cleton of 72a Prevenier Stracht, Rotterdam. This Dutch address was already viewed by the British Security Services as another address using by German spy organisations. However, at this time the telegram was allowed to progress, and Ries collected his £40 from the Southampton Street Post Office.
On 15 July 1915, Ries travelled from London to Liverpool. After spending less than 48 hours in the city, Ries journeyed to Newcastle-on-Tyne. Again he claimed that he was a sales representative for some American firms. On 20 July 1915, Ries went to Glasgow, and the next day he went to Edinburgh, booking into the Crown Hotel. Six days later, Ries travelled to Liverpool, before returning to London and the Hotel Cecil on 28 July 1915. Another telegram, intercepted but allowed to proceed, was cashed by Ries at the same Post Office before.
On 9 August 1915, Ries went to the American Embassy in London to obtain a visa for his passport, as he wished to travel to Rotterdam, as he wished to meet a person there who owed him a considerable sum of money. When the American Vice-Consul examined his American Passport, he noticed that the passport appeared to be a forgery. The American let Ries leave the Embassy and then contacted the police.
On 10 August 1915, Inspector Joseph Sandercock (New Scotland Yard) arrested Ries at the Hotel Cecil. Ries admitted that his passport was a forgery bought in the USA, and that the business addresses written in his notebook were genuine. Ries also refused to provide details about his birth, apart from saying that his Father was Dutch and his Mother was Scottish. He also denied working for the Germans, and that the telegrams he received from Rotterdam were payments for legitimate business transactions.
Ries faced a courts-martial held at Middlesex Guildhall on 28-29 September 1915. The court’s president was Major-General Lord Cheylesmore. The Prosecution case was presented by Mr. Bodkin and Lieutenant Peevor, Ries was represented by Mr. Huntley Jenkins instructed by Percy Robinson & Co. Ries pleaded not guilty. This case different from previous WWI spy trials, as Ries does not appear to have actually sent any information to the Germans. The implication was that Ries was travelling to Rotterdam, so he could present a verbal report.
Ries was found guilty and sentenced to death by shooting. His appeal were rejected, and he remained calm until his execution. He shook hands with the firing squad before being tied to the wooden chair. At 7am on 27 October 1915, Ries was shot by a party of soldiers from the 3rd Battalion Scots Guards.
Albert Meyer was 22 years old, described as 5 feet 7 inches tall.
He had worked in Hamburg, Seville and Pamplona before arriving in the UK during June 1914, started working as a cook at Cabins Ltd, Oxford Street, London. He then worked as a waiter in Blackpool, before returning to live in various lodging in London’s Soho area. He tended to move around, as he kept making promises about paying his rent to his various landladies, but not usually paying it.
On 22 March 1915, Meyer asked for permission to travel to Copenhagen via Flushing and Germany, stating that he was Dutch, with Dutch parents born in Constantinople. Although his request was investigated, he was allowed to leave the country. He returned to the UK during May 1915, and moved into lodgings in the Soho area. On 20 May 1915, Albert Meyer married Catherine Rebecca Godleman at St. Pancras Registry Office.
The British Security Services intercepted another letter sent to a suspicious address in The Hague, Holland. When the letter was examined, it was found to have a message written in invisible ink. The message is shown below:
I hope that you have received my first letter. I have been to Chatham. The Royal Dockyard is closed entirely, but I got in in spite of all. There are a few cruisers there and a lot of guns as well as destroyers, for instance, Duncan, 2nd classs, 14000 tons, Lowestoft, 3rd class, Boadicea, Lance, Pembroke, Wilder and Actaeon etc.
The mouth of the Thames is guarded by steel like the Humber, but even more so. The ships pass at night and this is indicated from a watch boat through three vertically arranged red lanterns. I have described to you the state of affairs here in London. A wounded Territorial told me in the course of a conversation that one German is worth twelve of Kitchener’s men. There are many boys of 16 and 17 amongst them. They make enough effort and advertise in order to get soldiers. At every street corner, theatre and cinema, people are challenged to join [at this point in WWI, the UK did not have conscription].
The Government appeals to women and young girls to persuade their boyfriends and husbands. Ammunition is made everywhere. At Dartford a large metal factory has been turned into an ammunition factory and here every small metal workshop is making ammunition.
In order to get soldiers, the proprietors of shops have been asked to dismiss certain people and when the employees try to find positions somewhere else they are refused and they are asked, why do you not join the Army? People are forced in this country.
So far I have not been able to find out anything important, but it will come time time.
(sgd.) Svend Person
Meyer also sent information which was completely incorrect and verged on utter rubbish, and not the sort of information that you would have expected to be supplied by a professional and dedicated German spy.
Late in August 1915, another suspicious letter was intercepted by the British Security Services. Although the letter was allowed to continue, the Security Services decided to act. Meyer and his wife were both arrested, although his wife was released as she was not involved in her husband’s activities.
Albert Meyer was tried by courts-martial held at Middlesex Guildhall on 5-6 November 1915. He was found guilty and sentenced to death by shooting. Meyer’s appeal was rejected. The Danish Embassy denied that Meyer was a Danish subject, and it appears that he was either German or Turkish.
At 7.45am on 2 December 1915, Albert Meyer was shot by a firing squad composed of soldiers from the 3rd Battalion Scots Guards. The following is an account of the execution:
It was fully expected, judging by his demeanour during the period he was waiting to be shot, that he would prove awkward, but nothing untoward happened until the morning of the execution. When the dread summons came in the cold dawn he was then in an hysterical state and when escorted from his cell suddenly burst into a wild effort to sing “Tipperary”. His guard attempted to silence him, but all in vain.
He stopped on reaching the miniature rifle range where he was to be shot and cast a raving eye at the chair standing in the middle. Then he burst into a torrent of blasphemous cursing, reviling his Maker and calling down the vengeance of Heaven on those who had deserted him. Struggling fiercely with this stalwart guard, he was forcibly placed in the chair and strapped tightly in. Before the bullets of the firing party could reach him he had torn the bandage from his eyes, and died in a contorted mass, shouting curses at his captors, which were only stilled by the bullets.
Ludovico Hurwitz-y-Zender was born in Lima, Peru, in 1878. His Father as Peruvian, although his Grandparents were Scandinavian who decided to settle in Peru. Zender was well educated and fluent in English and French.
In August 1914, Zender left Peru for Europe, travelling via the USA, claiming that he was intending to trade in paper, handkerchiefs and various food products. He eventually arrived in Glasgow via New York, Bergen, Oslo and Copenhagen.
The British Security Services had intercepted telegrams sent during late May 1915 to address in Oslo, which they knew was acting as a collection point for the German Intelligence Services. All the telegrams were sent by Zender, all were signed in his own name and gave his address as 59 Union Street in Glasgow. However, just before the Police arrived to arrested Zender, he had sailed from Newcastle to Bergen.
As Zender had no reason to believe that he was a wanted man, the Security Services thought that he may return to the UK at some later date. Zender’s details were circulated to the various ports. On 2 July 1915, the SS Vega arrived in Newcastle with Zender, and he was immediately arrested and taken under escort to New Scotland Yard. In Zender’s possessions were found various hotel bills which suggested that he had arrived in Norway, then travelled via Denmark to Germany, returning to the UK via this same route.
The Germans had provided Zender with a cover letter stating that he was ordering sardines and other tinned fish for shipment back to Peru. The intercepted telegrams talked about shipments of tinned fish, but the problem for Zender was that it was the wrong season for supplying sardines, and experts gave evidence at his courts-martial that such orders could not be genuine. It became clear that Zender’s telegrams contained shipping movements from various ports on the Firth of Forth and Clyde, disguised as tinned fish transactions.
Zender’s courts-martial was delayed by several months, due to requesting defence evidence from Peru which took an average of 28 days to reach the UK. Also the Peruvian Embassy in London requested to speak with Zender, which was approved.
Ludovico Hurwitz-y-Zender was tried by courts-martial on 20-22 March 1916, at Caxton Hall Westminster. He pleaded not guilty, but he was found guilty and sentenced to death by shooting. Zender’s appeal was rejected, as was an appeal from the Peruvian Embassy.
At 7am on 11 April 1916, Ludovico Hurwitz-y-Zender was executed by a firing squad composed of members of the 3rd Battalion Scots Guards.