Thursday, November 12, 2015

WW1: A Spy Is Executed

On November 6, 1914, a German spy. Carl Lody. was executed by firing squad in the Tower of London.  This was the first execution there since 1747. This was no sham. Lody left Berlin in August under orders from German Naval Intelligence to get to Scotland and report on the British navy.  He was given £250 and an American emergency passport belonging to a Charles Inglis.
Lody arrived in Edinburgh on August 28 and sent a telegram to his handler in Sweden immediately. The British already knew the handler was a German agent, and the game was already up. The Brits truly were great at the intelligence game. For weeks, they let information pass because what he passed was rumor and false. Eventually he passed on some worthy information (news of sunk ships), and the Brits moved in on him.
Lody was charged with “war treason,” not espionage due to the quirk that he was operating outside of a war zone. His trial would be the only public trial of a spy in either world war. The sentence of death was delivered on November 5, with his execution to take place within eighteen hours. He wrote a letter to his sister and faced his fate. He was executed for roughly a month of terrible spying.
His letter was published in the German press, but generally his death was not used for propaganda purposes. In retrospect, his spying was rather pathetic and embarrassing. The German Navy thought he was incompetent and nearly useless. The Kaiser awarded him a posthumous Iron Cross. In a weird twist, the Nazi regime used him as a national hero,completely at odds with how Lody was viewed in his time.


Portlander said...

Reminds me of Nathan Hale. Sucks to be a low-level patsy. That's always the tell, how seriously is the perp brought to justice.

Toddy Cat said...

I imagine that his public trial was to "send a message", as they say today. But man, they didn't mess around back then, did they?

Son of Brock Landers said...

Look up how fast the trial and execution of Hawley Harvey Crippen around the same period.

professorastro said...


He looks more like Nathan Thurm.