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IN 1918, the Glagow Sunday Post commissioned Edgar Wallace to write, under the house-name "John Anstruther," a series of articles about the exploits of the then notorious German spy Karl Lody in Great Britain. These articles are gathered here for the first time in book form and published as an RGL first edition. Illustations from the Glasgow Sunday Post and other sources have been added.
CARL HANS LODY, alias Charles A. Inglis (20 January 1877-6 November 1914; name occasionally given as Karl Hans Lody), was a reserve officer of the Imperial German Navy who spied in the United Kingdom in the first few months of the First World War.
He grew up in Nordhausen in central Germany and was orphaned at an early age. After embarking on a nautical career at the age of 16, he served briefly in the Imperial German Navy at the start of the 20th century. His ill health forced him to abandon a naval career, but he remained in the naval reserve. He joined the Hamburg America Line to work as a tour guide. While escorting a party of tourists, he met and married a German-American woman, but the marriage broke down after only a few months. His wife divorced him and he returned to Berlin.
In May 1914, two months before war broke out, Lody was approached by German naval intelligence officials. He agreed to their proposal to employ him as a peacetime spy in southern France, but the outbreak of the First World War on 28 July 1914 resulted in a change of plans. In late August, he was sent to the United Kingdom with orders to spy on the Royal Navy. He posed as an American—he could speak English fluently, with an American accent—using a genuine U.S. passport purloined from an American citizen in Germany. Over the course of a month, Lody travelled around Edinburgh and the Firth of Forth observing naval movements and coastal defences. By the end of September 1914, he was becoming increasingly worried for his safety as a rising spy panic in Britain led to foreigners coming under suspicion. He travelled to Ireland, where he intended to keep a low profile until he could make his escape from the UK.
Lody had been given no training in espionage before embarking on his mission and within only a few days of arriving he was detected by the British authorities. His un-coded communications were detected by British censors when he sent his first reports to an address in Stockholm that the British knew was a postbox for German agents. The British counter-espionage agency MI5, then known as MO5(g), allowed him to continue his activities in the hope of finding out more information about the German spy network. His first two messages were allowed to reach the Germans but later messages were stopped, as they contained sensitive military information. At the start of October 1914, concern over the increasingly sensitive nature of his messages prompted MO5(g) to order Lody's arrest. He had left a trail of clues that enabled the police to track him to a hotel in Killarney, Ireland, in less than a day.
Lody was put on public trial—the only one held for a German spy captured in the UK in either World War—before a military court in London at the end of October. He did not attempt to deny that he was a German spy. His bearing in court was widely praised as forthright and courageous by the British press and even by the police and MO5(g) officers who had tracked him down. He was convicted and sentenced to death after a three-day hearing. Four days later, on 6 November 1914, Lody was shot at dawn by a firing squad at the Tower of London in the first execution there in 167 years. His body was buried in an unmarked grave in East London. When the Nazi Party came to power in Germany in 1933, it declared him a national hero. Lody became the subject of memorials, namesake for a destroyer ship, eulogies and commemorations in Germany before and during the Second World War.Wikipedia.
This edition of Karl Lody—Germany's Great Spy includes two appendices. The first contains a synopsis of the case, includings a chronology of Lody's activities in Great Britain and details of his trial and execution. The second consists of two letters that Lody wrote before his death: one to the Commanding Officer of the guards in charge of his custody, and one to his relatives in Stuttgart. The contents of the appendicees were obtained from the web site British Military & Criminal History 1990-1990, and are used with the permission of the copyright-holder, Stephen Stratford. — R.G., July 2016.
IN 1912 a group of German burghermeisters came on a love feast to London, and were accommodated at a hotel on the Thames Embankment. They came to carry a message of peace and goodwill to the noble British nation, upon whose indecent gullibility the sun never sets, and they carried their message through the medium of sweet champagne and food which was mostly fried in fat.
It was a great and joyous occasion, and the German flag flew from one of the two flagstaffs of the hotel, and for a few days London was filled with a crowd of men strangely garbed in Alpine hats with little feathers sticking up from the hatbands, and with primly dressed German women. The visit of the burghermeisters passed without notice by the majority of the London public, who require something with a procession in it to interest them. But those whose business is everybody's business, the press and the police, were impressed by the fact that there were more Germans in London than the occasion seemed to warrant.
On bright wormer morning a little queue of men and women undoubtedly of German origin, trailed through the Tower of London, guide-book in hand, behind a young man, who explained clearly and accurately without referring to any guidebook, the various objects of interest on either hand. Traitor's Gate, the White Tower, the Regalia House, the Place of Execution, Beauchamp Tower, all these came under review.
"I remembered when I saw him again," said a sergeant of Beefeaters. "He came half a dozen times to my knowledge, and he was always in charge of a party of German tourists. He used to come to me and say,'Well, are the dungeons open to-day?' We called him the Dungeon German because he always wanted to see them.
"I once took him round the quarters where visitors never go. There was nothing secret about them, and nothing interesting but I remember as well as though it were yesterday his saying, 'What's that place?' I answered, 'That's the miniature rifle range.' 'I'd like to have a look at it,' he said, but I told him that that was only to be seen by permission of the officer commanding the 2d Scots Guards, who were doing duty at the Tower. The next time he came with another party of tourists he asked me, 'What about the rifle range? I'm going to have a look at it one of these days.' And he did. It was in the rifle range that they shot him. I saw him marched there in the dark of a November morning and heard the crack of the rifles."
In this way did Lieutenant Lody alias Inglis pay the penalty for espionage, and with his death went out something more than a human life, namely, a shattered German tradition.
Lody was the best spy that the German Naval Intelligence ever sent to Britain. He had served in the navy, and had achieved the rank of lieutenant-kaptan, but his active naval work was of less consequence than the excellent work he did in the bureaus.
A man of considerable attainments, he had spent some period of his boyhood in England, and spoke our language without a trace of accent. He was a mine of information on the subject of British naval equipment, and was one of the most industrious of that little gang whose headquarters in the days before the war were in the Rue Leopold at Ostend.
There are many facts which must writers on the German espionage system overlook, and not the least of these is this:—The' most successful results of the system were secured, not in the days of war, but in the three years before the war. It was in many ways a perfect system, and certainly it repaid the German Treasury for the vast expenditure of time and money which was made on it.
The second fact, and this is preliminary to a recountal of the amazing events which preceded the war, is that so far as Britain was concerned the whole elaborate scheme of espionage for war purposes which the German Government erected came crashing to the ground just as soon as the war test was applied.
Lody's capture and death struck Von Tirpitz a paralysing blow. The news of his arrest was brought to the German Admiralty in September, anal Tirpitz is said to have remarked, "There is a counter-espionage system in Britain. I did not believe it. All our plans are based on this illusion. If Lody failed, who can succeed?"
So, to understand the story of Lody it is necessary to appreciate fully all that Lody stood for, all that had gone before to prepare his way, and exactly the part he had played in the establishment of the Ostend gang. For it was in Ostend that the most of the devilry of the war was planned; in Ostend that the way was made clear not only for those events which disgraced the name of Germany in her subsequent occupation of Belgium, but for that super-murder of the war, the sinking of the Lusitania, and it can be said in truth that in this tragic folly we see the dead hand of Lody as clearly as any.
We see also the hand of a wretched British sailor, a petty officer of the Royal Navy, who is serving a long sentence in Portland Gaol. Many names have been given as the leader and planner of Germany's secret campaign against Britain. Von Capelle, Von Tirpitz, Captain von Muller, and a host of minor officers of the German Admiralty, but to omit the name of Lody and the man called variously Heffler and Schmidt would be to miss the essential facts.
Lody was trained for secret service work and the greater part of his service was in that branch. With characteristic German "thoroughness" he studied the surface of British politics, mastered not only the language but the idioms of the language. He was later to set the course which candidates for honours in espionage must pass before they were admitted to the probationary stages of the service. Examinations were held at Kiel, and test papers were set to candidates just as they are set for students in our own country. Two of these papers (in type script) were found in the office of Wolff von Igel when his office at 60 Wall Street was raided by Joseph A. Baker, of the American Department of Justice on the morning of April 19, 1916. Some of the questions are curiously reminiscent of Lody's activities in pre-war days, and were obviously set by him.
1. Give the train times between London and (a) Plymouth, (b) Chatham, (c) Edinburgh, (d) Portsmouth, (e) Falmouth, (f) Greenock.
2. Name the stations at which a journey from (a) London to Cardiff can be broken so that the journey can he resumed to Manchester; (b) Edinburgh to London, so that the journey may be resumed to Harwich.
3. Give routes to and from the following towns, avoiding London. Liverpool to Chatham, Carlisle to Dover, Plymouth to Dover, Plymouth to Southampton, Portsmouth to Edinburgh.
4. Mark strategical points on the following routes, taking care to observe where the routes cross rivers. London to Derby, Liverpool, Harwich, Hull, Edinburgh, Portsmouth, Plymouth, Glasgow, Dover, Newhaven.
5. Give a list of 150 common English names.
6. Give particulars of 20 small seaport towns in England, Scotland, or Wales, with the names of Mayor, prominent tradesmen, and shops, the names of their newspapers, the principal streets, and the names of advertisers.
It will be noticed by the curious that all these questions relate to naval affairs. All the places mentioned have some relation to the navy, for, although such cities as Newcastle are not specifically mentioned, they lie on one or the other of the routes specified. There is no mention of Aldershot, or Borden Camp, or Salisbury Plain. And this brings us to one of the reasons why the German espionage system broke down. It was organised to deal exclusively with our navy, and never took into account the fact that Britain might develop into a great military nation. For this reason, throughout the war the German General Staff was completely ignorant of our military preparations. The men Lody trained went nosing about the Firth of Forth (and met their deaths in consequence) and did not see the Tank Corps growing under their eyes.
They busied themselves about our new naval construction entirely, and to the very end Hindenburg had no exact knowledge on military strength as he had of the French, though he knew we had built three cruisers which were utterly worthless, land that the guns on the —— were a failure.
All the German's plans against Britain were naval plans, and eight years before the war started, when Lody was a boy at school, the office in the Rue Leopold was established. Germany at that time was working strongly to a definite end, and curiously enough, she was enlisting British support. The crux of any European war, whether it was naval or military, was Belgium. The Belgian Coast for her ships, the Belgian frontiers for the attack which was to be planned upon France, were vitally necessary or her, and so she set herself the task of putting Belgium in the wrong, particularly with the British people.
As I said before, it is necessary to know what went before to understand the part which Lody played, and I am certainly describing a period in the story of German cunning in which the name of Lody does not occur. It may have escaped the recollection of the people of Scotland that ten or twelve years ago Belgium was a most unpopular country so far as the British were concerned, and its unpopularity was brought about by a systematic agitation against the administration of the Belgian Congo. It was said, and probably with some truth, that Belgian officials in darkest Africa had committed terrible atrocities upon the Congo natives. Harrowing stories were published in Britain, and these were supported by despatches from the British Consul at Boma, whose accounts, if anything, were a trifles more disturbing than those sent in by the missionaries.
I am not going into the truth or the untruth of these statements. In 1906 I myself went to the Congo to investigate these charges, and I confess that I saw very little to substantiate the charge of misgovernment which was being so freely made. That, however, was by the way. The point to remember is—that the man who was the prime mover in this agitation against Belgium was that horrible pervert, Roger Casement, who was hanged in London for acts of treason, and who certainly deserved hanging for the beastliness of his private life. It was Casement, already in the pay of Germany, already working heart and soul for the land of "kultur," who brought about a condition of strain between the two countries, and it is certain that if war had broken out then the British people would never have consented to an army going to the rescue of Belgium or even of declaring war on her behalf.
I regard that agitation as the first and most successful work that the Ostend gang has to its credit, but somehow the agitation hung fire. The British newspaper editor is a pretty difficult man to fool. I admit that I myself was fooled, and went out to Africa full of beautiful thoughts of rescuing the downtrodden native from his Belgian oppressor, but there were people who begun to smell a rat. They saw the hand of Germany already reaching out for a slice of the Congo to be added to their Western African possessions of Togoland and the Cameroons, and "Belgian Atrocity Stock" began to fall. It was about this time that the Ostend office was strengthened by a naval commander, who switched the activities of the gang to a new direction, and when Lody had passed out after his sea service into the Intelligence Department he was sent down to Ostend to organise the British end. He made frequent visits to London—sometimes under his own name, sometimes in the name of Inglis, sometimes in the name of Franks. He stayed at the best hotels in London, Edinburgh. Belfast, Plymouth, and Portsmouth. He got acquainted with a number of naval officers, and was invited to dinner on board several of the ships. It is said that he came to England on one occasion as a member of a naval staff on the visit of a German warship to this country, but that is not true. So far as is known he was never in uniform, nor did he ever stay except on very few occasions in his own name.
He was a man of pleasant address, full of good stories, childlike and bland in his innocence of naval matters except, as we shall see, when he was dealing with the lower deck; and he a as usually accompanied by a novitiate in the art of espionage, to whom he showed the ropes. On some occasions he was accompanied by a beautiful woman, whom he introduced as his sister, but who I have reason to believe was the wife of the London correspondent of a well known German newspaper. He was not always fortunate in his visits. In 1913 one of his friends, whom he had left behind at Portsmouth, was arrested on a charge of sketching naval works and, though he pleaded that he could buy picture postcards of the forts he was sketching for a penny, he was sentenced to a long term of imprisonment, and was still in Winchester gaol when the war broke out.
There are certain aspects of Lody's activities which it is rather painful to write about, the more so as one of his victims has recently been released from prison and is trying to live down his past, but since at least two of his successful exploits are more or less public property they may be described in greater detail than has as yet appeared.
The prize for which all secret services strive is the code books of Government Departments. It would not be inapt to describe any secret service as a system for securing a possible enemy's code books. For wore than half of war is words. Every year hundreds of thousands of pounds are spent in creating or protecting codes, the most common of which is the double or treble code in use in Government offices. This is by far the most elaborate, and consists of groups of five figures which indicate a word, which in turn indicates another word. Men who decode the messages do not understand them. A telegram is received which contains the figures:—01749, 21431, 35914.
The decoder unlocks the first code book, and discovers that "01749" means "Delhi," "21431" means "standard," and "35914" means "personal." He sends the words "Delhi, standard, personal" to another department, and another decoder turns up the words in No. 2 Code Book, and finds they indicate three new a words, "Brown, golden, apple." This second decoding goes to the chief of the department, probably a permanent Under-Secretary of State, who has the final and the most inaccessible of the three code books, and he translates the three meaningless words into:—"Russia has signed-new treaty-with Germany."
To secure the triple code is almost an impossibility. It is much too carefully guarded. Abroad, the Ambassador or the Foreign Secretary practically sleeps with it under their pillows. But there is a naval code which is not so complicated. It is a single code, and if you get one book you get the whole system. On board ship it is kept under lock and key in the captain's cabin, and reposes in a steel box the bottom of which is perforated with holes and weighted with lead. In the event of the ship sinking or being in danger of falling into an enemy's hands the box is thrown overboard and because of its weight and its perforations it immediately sinks to the bottom. To make aura of its sinking the captain of a British warship has before jumped overboard with his precious box in his hand and has gone down with it. Because of its secret nature it very seldom passes into other hands than the chief officer of the ship or the chief yeoman of signals, but on rare occasions it been been possible for unauthorised persons to handle it.
Lody had made a special study of the personnel of the navy. His job was to get into touch with men who were in any way in trouble or who had particular grievances, and this he did in a manner which was characteristically German. At places like Sheerness, Chatham, Portsmouth, and Devonport he opened little loan offices and inserted modest advertisements in the local newspapers. "Special terms for Service men," said the advertisement; "moderate interest and generous treatment." It added the pious warning not to "get into the hands of money-lending sharks."
Now the Service authorities strongly discountenance men mortgaging their pay, and under certain circumstances will always make an advance to a man who is hard up, but few sailors or soldiers care to face the forest of red tape which encompasses a loan, and still less do they like their embarrassments to be known to their officers.
In all naval towns moneylenders flourish. This is more the case in naval than in military centres, because for some reason the moneylending fraternity fight shy of soldiers. And Lody's loan offices got hold of some excellent clients. Lody's name never appeared in any of these transactions, nor is his name to be found in the list of registered moneylenders, which is kept at Somerset House. He had his tools, mainly aliens of dubious antecedents, and was content to set the businesses going and to receive reports from his agents.
In this way he came to know of men who were in difficulties. Men who were being sued for money, men who had been involved in domestic troubles, others who had incurred particular misfortunes which embittered them, their dossiers came to him either in Ostend or in London, and he would sometimes visit a port and interview one or the other of his debtors.
True to the advertisement, his terms were generous—to the right kind of man. The superior type of artificer petty officer could always be obliged with an extra loan, and all the time he wanted to repay it. Lolly posed as an inquiry agent of the Loan Company, and in that capacity would call upon his victim at his house after dark. Some of the men recognised him as the young gentleman they had seen in the company of officers on the quarter-deck and drew their own conclusions, which were not flattering to the solvency of the officers concerned. They found the "visiting inspector" a most agreeable young man, who was not superior to a friendly glass at the nearest bar and, above all, he was mightily sympathetic to the lower deck point of view.
One of his stories was that he had served in the American Navy, and he made this the excuse for his interest in naval affairs. He would discuss over a glass or two the wonderful gunsight which had been recently introduced by the U.S. Naval Board, describing this sight in language which left no doubt in his hearer's mind that he understood all that there was to be known of the technical side. He had no difficulty in getting his audience to talk. In a spirit of emulation the British sailor might in all innocence boast of some improvement which had been introduced into his ship.
But the big task which Lody set himself remained—the securing of the code book. It was not a chance which would occur very often, but it occurred once or twice and he seized it.
The dupe in the case quoted was a petty officer, yeoman of signals. Lody's confederate, Weinthal, got to know the man and advanced him money. No mention was made about the services which the sailor would be expected to render in return, and the acquaintance was of a more convivial nature than was ordinarily the case. Lody himself did not appear in the matter. Although he was in Gravesend when Weinthal and his naval friend were meeting, he himself was not one of the party which used to gather in the private bar of a local public-house. After the friendship had been given time to ripen, it was suggested that the sailor should get into mufti and accompany Weinthal to Ostend on a joy trip. The jaunt came off according to plan and the petty officer had the time of his life in that gay town. The best hotel was not too good for him; wines of the rarest were poured out for his comfort, and the feminine society was, if not select, at least amusing.
It was here that he met Lody for the first time, "a young gentleman in evening dress; I think he was English." The attention and companionship of an educated man was flattering to the petty officer, and Lody began to tell a story about bets. According to this story, Lody had bet a ma £1000 that he could produce a copy of the latent naval code. The bet was apparently in answer to a challenge, according to Lody, and he said laughingly. "I am afraid I have as good as lost my bet, though I wish it had been to somebody else."
The petty officer, full of good wine and bubbling over with good spirits literally and figuratively, was interested, discussed the difficulties of getting the book, and said that he knew how one could be got.
"I tell you what I'll do then," said the young English gentleman. "If you bring me the code I will pay my winnings to you."
They touched on the matter lightly the next evening when they met at the Kursall, and when the sailor left by the night boat, his leave expiring the next morning, he carried away with him a dream of easy money.
It is not for us to judge the man whether he believed or did not believe this story. His account of the affair was not accepted at the subsequent proceedings. There was a week or two of preparation. The book was kept in the captain's cabin, and there were very few opportunities for even entering the cabin, and the captain's servant was always hanging about.
At last the fatal day arrived when the code book could be extracted. The thief knew that the loss of the book would remain undetected for a few days and, communicating with Lloyd's agent, he secured leave and prepared to leave for Ostend on the following morning. Lody's intentions evidently were to make a copy of the book and return it by the petty officer. It was not in his interests that its loss should be discovered, for a variety of reasons, the most important of which was that when a code book is lost a new code is immediately printed and issued. He brought to Ostend a staff of photographers and, in one of the biggest hotels on the Plage, set up his cameras and lights in a special suite which he reserved for the occasion.
The book was to be photographed page by page, returned to the petty officer the same night, and it was intended that the sailor should arrive back on his ship on the following morning, which was Sunday. We know that Lody was at the bottom of this, because it was he who engaged the rooms and made the arrangements for receiving the sailor.
On the Saturday morning at eleven o'clock, ten minutes before the Ostend boat was due to sail, the petty officer came down the quay and passed across the gangway, showing his ticket to an official at the gangway head. Just as he was turning to go up to the promenade deck a hand fell on his shoulder, and he turned to face a stranger.
"What is that parcel you have got in your pocket?" said the police officer.
"A book," said the other.
"What kind of book?"
"What's that to do with you?" asked the sailor.
"I am a police officer from Scotland Yard," said the stranger, "and I shall take you into custody on a charge of stealing a code book from His Majesty's Ship X."
LODY and his associates and particularly his predecessors, were all rewarded for the easy-going attitude of the British Government in all its relationships with Germany. Until the first Dreadnought was built it was the practice to allow the German Naval Attache almost unrestricted access to our naval dockyards, and even four years before the war when I was discussing with the German Naval Attache a new method of transmitting topographical information by telegraph by a system on which I had spent a great deal of time and money he was able to inform me that the British Admiralty had already tried a plan analogous to my system and that it had proved a failure. Carlton House Terrace knew everything connected with the navy. They had blue prints of every ship we launched up to, but not including, the King Edward VII. It was just about when this ship took the water that the Naval Intelligence at Berlin was organised, and produced such men as Lody.
I described last week the failure of the Department to obtain a copy of the naval code. The man who was arrested on the Ostend boat was brought to trial and sentenced to a long term of penal servitude, but before his trial had begun the German Secret Service had succeeded elsewhere. Lody's net was wide spread. The ramifications of his system were far-reaching.
In the few years immediately preceding the war Lody was a busy man. He was in Portsmouth at the time when the King reviewed the fleet, and was in Boulogne when a French submarine was sunk by the cross-Channel steamer, seeking information regarding the construction of the French boat and the system employed to salvage her. And all the time between his more secret missions he was conducting little parties of tourists through England, Scotland and Ireland.
There are several views taken as to his activities. One is that he was a mere agent of a "master any" (whose identity nobody seem, quite certain about, for several names have been given to me.) There is another view that his work was strictly limited to the camouflage tourist trips, and that he really was a fairly inoffensive person. There are high authorities, not immediately associated with Naval or Military Intelligence, who pooh-pooh any suggestion that he was any more than a very ordinary and commonplace naval officer engaged in espionage work for the sheer love of it. This is not the view which is taken by the Belgian Secret Police, who had perhaps more real hard work in countering the machinations of the Lody gang than any other police force in Europe. It is, curiously enough, largely from the Belgian records that we are able to get Lody into perspective.
In 1911-1912 the German Government, which really consisted of four men—the Kaiser, Bethmann Hollweg, Von Jagow and Von Tirpitz—decided upon war and agreed that it was extremely unlikely that Britain would remain out of it. I am not, of course, suggesting that these four were the only people concerned in the decision—it is a fact that outside of the governing circle there was a strong party, under the leadership of the Crown Prince, which was exercising a very powerful influence upon the direction of affairs; but we can say that the dates given mark the beginning of active preparation. Lody had already become a person of some importance. He was given instant admission to the bureaux of Von Tirpitz and his Chief of Staff. This fact did not pass outside the notice of the trusted agents of the British Government, who by now were taking an unusual interest in all that happened at the Headquarters of the German Naval Staff. But to know that a constant caller was a smart, spruce young naval officer named Lody was one thing and to identify him with the quiet civilian who was known to the attendants on the Dover-London Pullman as "Mr. Inglis" was another. Tirpitz had agreed to the money-lending firms being established, but naturally this innovation did not exhaust the necessities of the case.
Great Britain was to be an immense [illegible words] detected having as its object the securing of information about the British Army. I insist upon this fact because, as I explained last week, the work of the German bureaux is best understood in the light of the knowledge that the Kaiser looked upon the British Army as "contemptible," years before he issued his famous of infamous Order of the Day.
One morning in May, 1912, a young man presented himself at the office of a coal factor in Cardiff and presented a letter of introduction from a Hamburg shipper. He described himself as the son of an English father and German mother, and was supposed to have come from the Bismarck Islands, in the Southern Pacific. The coal factor did a very big shipping business, particularly with Australia and the Pacific Islands, and he welcomed the the advent of the newcomer, who, with his knowledge of local conditions, would be an acquisition to the staff. The man, who gave his name as Muller, was given a position in the export office at a salary of £2 a week. It was the sum offered and accepted without demur. In this particular case, Muller disappeared a week before war was declared, and has not been seen since.
Almost at the same time another coal merchant in Wales received an offer of service from a young Dane, but refused it, as the firm had an important Government contract, and made it a practice not to employ foreigners of any nationality. The "Dane" applied elsewhere and got a job not, curiously enough, with a coal factor, but with a haulage contractor. Throughout Wales about this time there was an epidemic of Germans, Swiss, Swedes, Danes and Dutchmen. They took jobs as engineers, electricians, clerks and even motor lorry drivers, whilst the big hotels and dining-rooms where the better class mining officials were to be found in their leisure moments were, in the language of one who noticed this strange phenomenon, "simply stiff with square heads."
Then there appeared in South Wales a little party of inquiring German railway officials who had been sent over to study the superior coal-transporting system of the British. They pestered local officials for information, studied the problems of haulage, gradients, trucks, loading and unloading and the system of labelling and forwarding coal trucks to their destination. Nobody seems to have recognised the hand of Lody in this business. Yet Lody was undoubtedly in Cardiff when this passion for information was being gratified. He booked rooms with a Mrs Rogers as "Arthur Davis" and made frequent visits to the coal centres. He was, in fact, organising the emigration inquirers.
An official of Cook's Travel Agency who happened to be at Bristol on his holidays was walking up and down the station platform waiting for the arrival of a friend from Weston-super-Mare, when his attention was attracted to a well-dressed man wearing glasses. His face was familiar and, walking up to him, he asked—
"Isn't your name Inglis?"
Lody, for he it was, hesitated then replied, "Yes."
"I thought I recognised you. What are you doing down here? You haven't brought tourists so far west as this?"
Again Lody hesitated.
"No," he said, "I have an aunt living at Cardiff and I have been on a visit to her."
The agency man thought no more about it until a man well known in the coal trade came up and joined Lody, addressing him as "Davis." Cook's man thought he must be mistaken and that the word he had heard was "David," a Christian name, but just before the London train came in Lody walked up to him.
"You heard Mr. X—— call me 'Davis?'" he asked. "Well, I didn't till you before, but down this way I am called by aunt's name. I am giving up the tourist business, and am taking up coal shipping."
The other man took no further notice of this incident, and dismissed it from his mind until a few months later he found Lody calmly conducting a party of tourists through London as though the coal trade had no existence.
What was Lody doing? What was his business in Wales?
We discovered in 1913. The British Secret Service began to hear rumours, and set inquiries afoot. One of Lody's agents was a little tobacconist, and was a man of German antecedents. He was also a very crude sort of fellow, and lacked the finesse which was Lody's strong point. One day he pressed too closely a number of inquiries which hitherto he had pursued with exemplary caution.
The man to whom the inquiries were addressed informed the police that there was somebody who offered to give him a sovereign if he would give him the exact quantity of coal stored at the dockyard (this occurred in a naval port), and the police very promptly arrested the tobacconist and charged him under the Official Secrets Act.
That was really the first warning the authorities received that there was anything "doing" in Wales, and they grew alert. But by this time the operations of the gang were in full swing. Lody in his London office was receiving the very fullest information as to the number of miners employed, the amount of coal which was going to H. M. ships, the quantities of coal which were being stored at our great coaling stations abroad, and particularly at Gibraltar and Malta and, what was more important, he was trying to interfere in the control of the great labour organisations which have shown such power in Wales.
"To paralyse the fleet in the event of War"—these were his instructions and what could so effectively destroy the power of the Navy as the holding up of coal.
It is said that Germany contemplated war in 1913 and that something went wrong with her war-works and brought about the postponement of the outbreak. All the evidence we have supports this view. The feverish activity of German agents in Wales reached its most violent phase in the spring of that year and it was about this time when Lody was concerned in the experiments which were to have so alarming an expression during the war—piloting as he did, in defiance of all the laws which govern the intercourse of nations in peace time, the first Zeppelin airship which ever crossed our shores.
In June 1913, Lody was in London, staying at a boarding-house in Gower Street, a boarding house at which lived a number of girls from a revue company which was playing in London just then. He was a polite and gallant man and one of the girls, who spoke French and German, used to dine with him regularly. She was telling him one evening that she was going to a party "after the show" that night.
"What sort of people do you meet?" he asked.
"All sorts," she replied.
"Do you ever meet naval officers?"
Now in these days neither naval nor military officers were to be met in uniform on leave and except when they were on duty or dining at mess they wore mufti and the girl was surprised by the question.
"I suppose I do, but I never ask them questions," she said. "You cannot tell officers from other types of people."
"Well, why don't you find out and help me?" he said. "I can give you a liberal commission."
He told her he was a traveller in coal and had had a tip that the stocks in the dockyards were low. He wanted to know whether this was so, so that he could offer quantities to the local authorities.
The girl believed the story. It did not sound like spying. If she had been asked to ascertain whether the guns of the ships were short of shells or the forts short of guns she would have known at once that there was something unlawful in the inquiry and would have been suspicious. But coal was so innocent, though if she had given the matter thought she would have known that coal is as important as cordite.
"I'll find out," she promised and, accordingly, when she arrived at the party, she asked her hostess, a young actress who was giving the feast, whether there were any naval officers present. There were two—a lieutenant-commander of a destroyer and a lieutenant from a battleship. She was introduced to them and, leading up to the subject by pleading an artlessness (which was quite justified) in naval affairs, she got on to the important topic, and found that at one naval station there "had been talk" about coal stocks running low owing to a strike in the coalfields.
The man from the battleship was more reticent and less informative. He was vague and unsatisfactory, giving laughing but evasive answers to the questions with which the girl plied him.
However, the news the girl was able to bring to Lody, whom she found sitting up in the boarding house drawing-room awaiting her return, was apparently satisfactory, for he gave her, to her amazement, tens pounds. A week later he asked her whether she was going to another party soon and, being answered in the affirmative, he asked her to discover whether there were large stocks of oil in the country available for the navy. This time she was suspicious. She could not understand that a man could be equally interested in coal and oil, though in this she was, of course, wrong. The two commodities are associated. Anyway, she declined to do his sleuth work and later, when he switched back his interest to coal and nothing but coal, she told him plainly that "it wasn't her line," and that he had better conduct his inquiries himself or get somebody else to make them for him. In that same period Lody was frequently absent from London. He went often to Cardiff and was an occasional visitor to Birmingham. He also went to Oxford with a party of students from Bonn.
Lody all this time was planning a great "hold up" of coal and every German shipping house in the world was in the plot. Vessels were being chartered all over the world to convey cargoes of coal from Wales to the ends of the earth. German shippers were buying not only all the available stocks, but a big syndicate, on the board of which the Hamburg-America Line was represented, actually bought one mine, and opened negotiations for another.
Lody himself was not a rich man, and on his death his property and personal effects is Germany realised leas than £500, but he undoubtedly had the disbursement of large sums. Much of this came through neutral bankers. No account in his name was discovered when the Deutsche Bank came to be wound up. The great sums he handled were usually earmarked for some special purpose, so that even if he had been the sort of man to whom "pickings" came naturally, and we have no reason to suppose that he was anything but honest in his dealings with his Government, he had few opportunities for enriching himself at his country's expense.
He travelled second class, or third class, he stayed at the least expensive hotels and boarding houses, he spent very little money upon himself, except that he was always well dressed, and he had few amusements. The men who "planked down" the money were the representatives of the German merchant princes who came to England, Wales and Scotlaad to carry out what were virtually Lody's orders.
Lody was simply indefatigable. His diary, published in one of the German newspapers, showed that he was at Rosyth, when the new docks were in course of creation, on the afternoon of one day, that he was in Newcastle the same evening, in London the next morning, at Ostend in the afternoon and slept the night in Germany!
Another entry shows him at Cardiff on a Sunday, at Ostend on the Monday morning, and sleeping in London the same night. There can be no doubt at all that, had the German Government kept to its original time-table this Britain of ours would have experienced some unpleasant shocks. It is stated that if war had occurred in 1913 the coaling arrangements for the Home Fleet would have broken down absolutely and that, thanks to the arrangements which Lody made, there would have been sufficient coal on the water—i.e. in specially chartered colliers—to coal the whole of the German fleet if it happened to have been out.
And it was Lody's scheme from beginning to end. His diaries, his letters, and such memoranda as the German Admiralty have released, prove that something more than a commonplace spy was swept out of life when Lody faced a firing party—it was a master mind, and had he been able to make his way back to Germany, and if—and this is the biggest of the "ifs"—the jealousy of the Naval Staff had not kept him down, he might have taken Von Tirpitz's place, and have given this country more trouble than either Tirpitz or Von Capelle or Von Scheer caused us.
It was because the German was the worst psychologist on earth, with a passion for employing square pegs in round holes, that Lody footled away his life on trumpery jobs which the meanest intelligence in the German navy could have accomplished as well as he, and probably better. When the Kaiser weakened on war in 1913, all the good work which Lody had done fell to pieces and he never was able to restore it to its old perfection. Here is his boast, in his own words, uttered in the first days of November, 1914:—
"Espionage is childish. As though it mattered whether any particular ship carried six guns or twenty, if you had not information which would enable you to judge the fighting value of those guns. All the good work was done last year. Our labours this year were futile and valueless. Last year we might have, and would have, paralysed you, but we missed our connections."
If Lody's "connections" had not missed, there would have been a coal famine in the winter of 1913, beyond any we have experienced. The German attack through Belgium had, as its objects, the seizure of the coalfields to the North of France. These would have removed once source of supply. Lody intended to strangle the other. The police worked frantically to get the strength of the organisation. Man after man, as any reader will remember, was arrested for "coal espionage" in the naval ports, but though the best brains in the two Intelligence Departments were working day and night, and were backed by the smartest men at Scotland Yard, the threads remained hidden until they revealed themselves after the war broke out.
Where, now, are the men whom Lody met in the rooms above the little newspaper shop?
Where are those obliging clerks who checked the output of every mine!
Where are the unobtrusive passengers who jotted down from the loaded trucks the station to which they were consigned?
It is said in Germany that no ship sailed out of Cardiff or Avonmouth but was checked out in Lody's private ledger.
And the most remarkable aspect of this enterprise of his is that all the time he was organising and travelling and filling in spare hours with "tourist" work he was preparing and elaborating a plan for the invasion of Britain, a plan which he had first prepared when he was little more than a boy, and which, had the German Government possessed the requisite courage and enterprise, might have succeeded.
LODY was a boy when he formed the plan, working out the details with the minutest care, for the invasion of England and Scotland. I add Scotland, because this occasion was the first in the history of the German General Staff when the possibility of landing an army in Scotland was ever considered. It was this scheme of a German schoolboy which brought him to the notice of the General Staff and ensured for him a promotion which would have been much more rapid than it was, in fact, had he not excited the animosity and bad offices of Von Muller, the Chief of the Kaiser's Naval Cabinet.
Two years ago I had a long talk with Captain Von Lutwig, who was interned in a neutral country after the battle of Jutland, in which he lost his destroyer and was rescued by a neutral fishing vessel. He said:—
"Lody was too big a man for the job they gave him. He should have been Chief of the Strategical Board. Muller hated him, because Lody was suspected of saying disparaging things about a female relative of the Kaiser's friend, and he was supposed to have written an article in the Tageblatt to the effect that Von Muller's regime was a menace to German naval efficiency. Lody had many friends at Court, including Prince Henry of Prussia, who met Lody in England a week or so before the war broke out. It is perfectly true that Lody's plan for the invasion of the British Isles was adopted, with certain modifications, as the war plan of the General Staff, the only difference being that Lody intended making the real landing in Scotland and the feint attack at Dover.
"Nothing in the world could have kept the German army out of London if his scheme had been carried out—nothing! Unfortunately our people vacillated. Those who excused the invasion of Belgium and glorified in it declined to make war on Britain without a formal declaration. They were afraid of the opinion of posterity! It is inconceivable—but only inconceivable to those who do not know the German mind."
This grand scheme of his could never have been far away from Lody's mind. We can see that when we trace his movements throughout Britain.
He seemed to hover about the great centres from whence a victorious German army could debouch upon London, as though reluctant to tear himself away from the triumph-dream of which they formed a part. He was a constant visitor to the Clyde and to Edinburgh. He was eventually arrested in that part of Ireland where the German Fleet was to have its base. He visited the cities and towns through which the victorious legions of Germany were to march to their final goal, and it is said that he never spent a Sunday in London but that he rose before dawn and reconnoitred Whitehall. For the Sabbath calm which came over Whitehall had been the key of his scheme.
Before I describe Lody's scheme in detail—the first time, I believe, it has ever been described in print—let me give you a picture of Lody as a friend of mine saw him. "I knew him slightly, for I had been introduced by a German to whom he had acted as cicerone, and when I found myself in the carriage with him going north I reminded him that we had met before. We were travelling first class, and he had a corner seat facing the engine. He had a book on his knee all the journey, and in the book three or four sheets of notepaper, upon which he wrote from time to time. I had just come back from Germany and, thinking it would interest him, I gave him my impressions of the Kaiser manoeuvres, a 'corner' of which I was privileged to see. He was only slightly interested, and asked me if I had seen 'our navy.' I replied that I had seen it at Kiel on my way from Kiel to Copenhagen.
"I spoke to him about our army, and he smiled good-naturedly, and rather annoyed one by describing them as 'the finest mercenaries in the world.' We enlarged on the subject, and he then told me that England was the most difficult country to defend if he attack came from the north.
"'Look at that hill,' he said, pointing to a low range. 'The ridge runs north and south. It could be turned anywhere and does not protect the river crossing at all.'
"Like most Britons, I was profoundly ignorant of the fact that there was a river anywhere near, but with amazing clearness, he traced with his finger the course it took, and showed just where it was narrowest.
"'Most of your hill ranges run that way,' said, 'And all your rivers are spanned by a town, so that an invading force could always find cover to attack the bridgehead. There's another hill over there. It has a marsh—on the wrong side of it. Near the Peak Country you have two broad plains which would enable the invader to pass on either side of your natural defence and mask it. No, England was made before the science of war was fully developed!'
"He spoke pleasantly and cheerfully about Germany, and professed what, I believe, was a genuine admiration for our navy. He kept repeating 'It is your fleet; it is your fleet,' when I ventured to refer to the possibility of Britain being invaded, as though only the fleet mattered."
What bitterness must have been his when his first grand scheme was rejected we can only conjecture. In those days he did not bother his head about our fleet or, rather, he provided for and overcame the obstacle which it represented. His idea was to get past the fleet and if You follow his movements and read such of his letters as have been made public, you cannot fail to detect the note of bitterness against the bureaucracy who did not dare. Even his favourite quotation discovers his helpless resentment against the men who would not put his plan into action because they themselves had not made it. It was a verse from Browning:—
What hand and brain went ever paired?
What mind alike conceived and dared?
What act proved all its thought had been?
What will but felt the fleshy screen?
The scheme for the invasion of Britain was based, as I say, upon the Sunday habits of British officialdom. Perhaps it is better to say the weekend habit of our people. Accompanying this, before the Fisher regime, there was a laxity at Admiralty House which to most people will be incredible. On Friday night all the head officials went away. Some, a very few, and these were not the highest, put in an appearance on the Saturday morning, read their letters, and disappeared. The same practice was followed at the Foreign Office and at the War Office. On Sunday morning Whitehall was a desert.
It was easier to find a needle in a hayrick than a Government official in Whitehall. Most of the Ministers were out of town at their country houses: all the permanent officials were week-ending, generally miles from London. The great offices of State were left to caretakers, patrolling policemen, and office cleaners.
At this time, too, not all of H. M. ships were fitted with wireless telegraphy, a novelty which was generally adopted after Fisher came to the Admiralty.
The British week-end habit, then, was the foundation of the German plot. At weekends officers are on leave, men are out of barracks visiting their relatives, ships come into port to give shore leave, train services are restricted, and fifty per cent. of railway staffs are having a day off. All shops and stores are closed: factories are closed down, 75 per cent. of the postal and telegraph staffs are away from 6 p.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Monday—and on the Saturday it was the practice of one of the Hamburg-American liners to make a call at Dover to pick up passengers for New York.
On Saturday night or Sunday morning an Atlantic liner used to come up the Clyde to Greenock and disembark passengers. Would it have been remarkable if at the same time a great German liner put into the Firth of Forth or into the mouth of the Tay flying a signal of distress? Imagine her arriving after nightfall off the mouth of the Tay, her lights shining dimly. Imagine the port officer going off to her and not returning. Lody attached the greatest importance to the Scottish landings. With the Forth and Tay Bridges in his hands, with Glasgow in the occupation of German troops, Scotland became a great place of arms, in which he could mobilise at his leisure.
But I am anticipating. Lody's idea was this. From three to six months before his scheme was brought to a culmination, German or neutral merchants in various centres about London, Edinburgh and Glasgow would receive great stocks of preserved meats, grain, rice, flour, and foodstuffs of all description. These would come from America and the Continent and would constitute provisions for 500,000 men for three months. Twelve months before the plan was developed, big orders would be given to the various armament firms for shells, small arms ammunition, explosives, and guns.
Lody's idea was that the very openness of the orders would disarm suspicion or at the worst stimulate the British Government to increase their output, which action was all to the good from the Germans' point of view.
Then would dawn The Day, The Day of which Lody dreamt. Picture the tragedy. It is Saturday evening, the twilight of an autumn day still bathes the earth in ghostly light. All England and Scotland are at play except perhaps the railway officials and a few newspaper staffs. Just as the darkness is growing deeper, the lookout on the Admiralty Pier at Dover reports a liner standing in. She burns her lights, the light of the Hamburg-American mail, and a few passengers, who have arrived from London by special train, stand watching the giant vessel as she comes slowly through the narrow harbour entrance.
"She's coming right in, that's funny," remarks a railway man.
A great upstanding ship, which towers above the quay, she looks as though she will wedge herself between the two pierheads, but very slowly she clears them, and edger even more slowly closer to the quay. There are a few stewards leaning idly over the side, and a knot of civilian passengers. The brilliantly illuminated decks are empty otherwise. Gangways are thrown over, sailors appear like magic and, before the dumbfounded officials on the pier realise what happens, there are twenty broad gangways fixed—and then all the lights on the deck go out. Peering into the darkness the watchers see long files of men crossing the gangway. There is a scamper of feet, the flash of a bayonet, and a groan. The lights go on again. The pier is alive with grey-coated German soldiers, trained to a second. A battalion is in Dover town, mounted Uhlans clatter through the streets and out into the country, cutting the wires as they go, motor batteries speed away to take up strategical positions, the batteries and forts are seized, and before midnight Dover is in the hands of the enemy.
Then come the German warships, more transports, more grey coats, ship after ship draws up to the quays, discharges its passengers in record time and backs out. Where is our fleet? In those days it was exceptional to find warships in Dover Harbour. I myself have crossed to Calais a score of times and never seen a destroyer. They were at Sheerness, and the mouth of the Thames was already barraged with mines and the Chatham and Sheerness squadrons were bottled. Don't you see what would happen?
London would know nothing. The first intimation she could receive would come in the shape of a German occupation. Ever if she had a warning, there was nobody there to take it. There was no official on duty whose business it was to decode wires on Saturday night.
In the meantime, whilst Dover was in the hands of the enemy, great German liners were on the Clyde, on the Tay, in the Firth of Forth. There was no naval station at Rosyth in those days.
You can imagine Glasgow, Dundee, Edinburgh in the hands of the enemy without a shot being fired.
But once in, our fleet would trap them, Lody knew that.
As a boy he remembered Von Moltke'e dictum that "I know of twenty ways into Britain, but no way out."
The British Fleet would blockade the harbours, but this didn't worry the young strategist. He is the author of the "burn by sections" method of reducing an obdurate enemy. He had provisions in the country for two or three months. He had seized the arsenals, isolated Borden and Aldershot, but most important of all he had London in his hands. That was to be the pawn the Germans would offer for the surrender of the British Fleet.
He would burn London district by district unless the British capitulated, and he certainly would have kept his word. All the facts that I have related are as stated without exaggeration. It is perfectly true that until comparatively recently the defences of these shores were more or less mythical, and we depended for immunity from invasion upon the enemy—whoever he might be—declaring war in a gentlemanly way, and giving us plenty of time to complete our arrangements for giving him a warm reception. If the declaration of war had been accompanied by a simultaneous blow struck ruthlessly and fearlessly, then nothing could have saved us from being overrun.
It is rather difficult to understand why the plan was not put into operation. The Kaiser bore us no love. King Edward was on the Throne and him he hated. It was a dislike which Edward returned with interest. The Kaiser was already preaching his "holy war" against the British, and had a few personal scores to wipe off. Here was a chance which might not, and certainly ought not to have occurred again, and the German did not take it.
It is said that Lody supported his statement by an extraordinary volume of data, including statistical tables compiled from the British newspapers showing the average periods every Minister was "out of town," their favourite week-end haunts, the names of the nearest towns and villages and the character of the communications—telephonic and telegraphic—with London.
The scheme was turned down for a year. Then it was suddenly revived. Preparation was made for assembling and training the necessary troops—and then the news came that Jacky Fisher had been newly appointed to the Admiralty. He heard of these secret embarkations and drew his own conclusions.
His first step was to rush the work of filling all warships with wireless. The next step was characteristic of the old man. One Saturday the Hamburg-America liner called at Dover and unexpectedly found some submerged staging damaging her hull so badly that she had to transfer her passengers to another steamer, whereupon the Admiralty politely informed the Hamburg-America Line that it was no longer safe or convenient to pick up or land passengers, and it would be advisable if in the future the illustrious Herrs gave Dover a miss. The work at Rosyth was rushed forward, new patrols were established in the North Sea, and the week-end practices of Government officials underwent a painful revolution.
When Lody joined the German Secret Service one of his first duties was to pay a visit to England and Scotland for the purpose of examining the situation in the light of the new precautions which the British Government had instituted. For some reason or other he did not make this tour for a very considerable time after his appointment. This may have been due to the agitation amongst certain of the permanent officials of the German Foreign Office for a rapprochement with Britain. It may have been due to the fact that at the time he should have gone the Kaiser was in London, or else, as I have already hinted, to the jealousy which was displayed on more than one occasion by members of the Kaiser's personal staff.
I have never heard or met anybody who has heard of the supplementary report which Lody presented, or whether it was presented at all. It is more likely that he rejected the scheme altogether than that he tried to modify it, for the success of the enterprise depended entirely upon the unexpected landing from giant liners which arrived on our shores in the guise of passenger steamers. The original scheme was worked out in perfect detail. The ships were to have left Bremen in the morning and two hours before their departure all cables leading from the Continent to Britain were to have been picked up and cut by German cruisers specially detailed for that purpose.
Lody patrolled the German seas and could see with his own eyes the sentinel British ships which were later to take shape as the North Sea patrol. His scheme was no longer possible, and there was, unfortunately for tie German, no adequate substitute. But I think that in the abandonment of the plan Lody made certain mental reservations. He still believed that the conquest of Britain might be as easily accomplished by an attack from Scotland as from the Kentish Coast and if a Bolshevik Soviet is ever established in Berlin and secret documents are published we shall discover that the final plans of the German General Staff for the invasion of these islands were based upon the occupation of Greenock and Dundee.
If Lody had altogether abandoned all ides of seeing his scheme brought to fruition it is difficult to understand why he spent such a considerable time in Scotland, why he had headquarters at Glasgow and at Perth, or why, in pursuance of the information which he supplied, the Zeppelins made their one attempt upon the Tay Bridge. It was after the trip to Britain which Lody made for the purpose of comparing the possibilities of his scheme with the precautions we had taken, that we saw a development which was to have such alarming results in the course of the war. Lody was instructed to discover an alternative plan if the original scheme was no longer workable.
At that time Zeppelin had perfected his airship. Long flights had been made, a tremendous amount of capital had been subscribed, and the German General Staff had at last lent the light of its countenance to Zeppelin's adventure or, rather, Zeppelin's exploitation of, another man's invention. The test, and the supreme teat, was of course whether the airship had a practical military use, and it was only natural that when this came to be considered by a select aeronautical committee of the Staff that the first question asked and answered was—"What service will this new arm perform against Britain?"
In response to a telegram which reached him through London, Lody, who at the time was at Cardiff, and was there writing his report on invasion, came to London where he was met by a courier from Berlin, who bore specific instructions in regard to a new survey which Lody was asked to carry out. I believe Lody's name is to be found in the visitors' book at Kew Gardens, where he pursued his inquiries into the meteorological conditions in Britain in the previous two or three years, the strength and direction of wind, and particularly did he seek information on the experiments which the Meteorological Society had been carrying out in the upper stratas of the air.
He travelled extensively through Norfolk, and was so very busy that when his presence was required on the coalfields he was not available, and another man was sent from Ostend in his place. The sequel to these investigations was certain happenings which surprised and mystified the English people, particularly the English people of the eastern counties, and was the subject of a very great newspaper controversy which the reader of this paper will remember.
On it certain night a village police constable, patrolling a lane in Norfolk, heard a curious roaring sound in the air. He looked up and saw what he thought at first was a star of exceptional brilliance, but as it was moving he formed the conclusion that a giant airship was overhead. A postman of Norwich and a workman who was out that night confirmed the story, which was printed in several Scottish and English newspapers.
A certain section of the press waxed very humorous over the policeman, but a few days later the mysterious sound was again heard, and the moving light was seen travelling across the sky at a rate which excluded all possibility of it being a star.
The "phantom airship" became a standing joke in Fleet Street, and many were the scribes that were sent forth to grow funny at the expense of eye-witnesses. It was seen in the Midlands, it was seen in Kent and Sussex, it was heard at Cambridge, and was even heard as far west as Somerset.
Now, the truth of the phantom airship is this—that it was a Zeppelin which came from Heligoland. It war piloted by Captain Strasser, under whom was Lieut. Mathy, both men being subsequently killed in the war in the course of air raids on Britain, and in the first or the second visitation—it is not certain which—Lieutenant Lody was the navigating officer.
The new scheme of invasion was by was of Norwich and, though it is certain Lody very stoutly insisted upon the advantages which the Scottish invasion offered, he was converted to the theories of Zeppelin and was certain, even to the day of his death, that the Zeppelin would bring about the destruction of the British fleet.
Lody's work after the war broke out, futile as it was, and as he knew it was, was mainly associated with the new Zeppelin campaign. The trip in the phantom airship was the first step towards the invasion which it was our good fortune never to see carried into effect.
THE story of Lody and his activities is necessarily a fragmentary one. Those men with whom he worked in Britain are, for the main part, dead, interned, or in Germany. A woman assistant is now serving twenty years penal servitude in gaol. In piecing together the mosaics of his life many fragments are missing, many pieces may creep in which belong to some other story than this, but I do not think that we can exaggerate the importance which the chiefs of the German Secret Service attached to his work, and however far-fetched the idea may seem to many, I can say that it was no accident that the man who tracked him down and brought him to his doom was himself destroyed, together with his daughter, in the last great Zeppelin raid on London. Never was an unimportant residential neighbourhood so thoroughly and so systematically bombed as was that in which Inspector Ward lost his life.
Lody was a big man with big ideas. His theories were subsequently tested and proved, and had the man been alive to direct the operations he schemed there is little doubt that his work would have proved more fruitful than, in fact, it did.
I said last week that Lody put in a considerable time in Scotland. Whether he ever tried his loan office dodge is not known. Probably he did not, for there was no "naval town," strictly speaking, in Scotland until Rosyth came into being. But he certainly found a great deal worth the trouble of inquiring about amongst Scottish fishermen, and he was particularly interested in some of the western lochs. In all Germany's schemes, it must be remembered, Ireland figured very prominently. Upon the fact that there was a disaffected Ireland the German based many of his plans, and the West Coast of Scotland came into German calculations for just this reason, that it lay on the flank of the sea route to the western part of Ireland, which was to form the base of certain operations against the United Kingdom.
It seems incredible, yet it is nevertheless a fact, that Lody, like many of his German friends, regarded Scotland as disloyal in the sense that it was an enemy of England. The intensely strong national feeling of Scotland, the celebration of old battles which it fought against the English, the very pride it had in its flag, all these things conspired to deceive more learned men than Lody.
The truth is, as he was to discover, that never were two nations so knit together, so absolutely dovetailed one into the other and were so much the complement of each other as England and Scotland. He was to learn, too, that the English had a great admiration for this national spirit which the Scots displayed and honoured almost as much as the Scots their national heroes.
When Lody was being brought to London he remarked to one of his escort upon this very fact. Nevertheless, at the period he made his inspection and report he must have had his doubts. He does not seem to have been impressed by the West of Scotland as a base for German destroyers and light cruisers craft, and very early turned his attention from the topographical to the human aspect of his task.
He visited Aberdeen and, I believe, went once to Strathpeffer, but in the main he confined himself to that part of Scotland which lies south of a line drawn from the mouth of the Tay to the mouth of the Clyde. His greatest difficulty was to plant agents in Scotland. Despite its foreign elements, even Glasgow cannot he termed a cosmopolitan city, whilst the presence of dubious foreigners in a place like Rosyth would have been instantly detected.
Lody's inquiries about Rosyth could not have been very complete, and certainly were not satisfactory, for in the early mouths of 1914 he approached a Newcastle journalist and asked him if he would care to write a series of articles for him.
"I am representing an American magazine which is starting in New York in a few months' time," said Lody, "and I have been asked by the editor to collect articles on interesting English and Scottish ports."
It happened that the journalist in question was a free lance and had a great deal of leisure, and he accepted the offer, which was a very generous one. His first article was on the port of Newcastle which, however, did not please Lody.
"Yon only tell me what is in the guide books. What I want is an article on the shipbuilding yards, the number of slipways they have, the capacity for turning out new shipping, warships, and all that sort of thing. You might tell us something about the Tyne defences—all these things are of great interest to the American people, who want to know how a port is defended in time of war."
The unsuspecting journalist set off on his new quest, and naturally found some difficulty, particularly in relation to the defences. At last, in despair of getting the information he wanted he did what I am afraid many of us have done, he "faked;" in other words, from his large experience and his ample imagination he produced a picture of bristling forts, booms, mines and the like, which pleased the "editor's agent" so much that he commissioned the journalist to go into Scotland and write a pleasant little story about the Tay, Firth of Forth, and the Clyde.
It is an act of politeness on my part to pass over the "information" which the journalist supplied. In any case he would not convey the secrets of defence to a foreign newspaper, and I doubt very much if any of the real secrets were ever known to civilians.
Lody seems to have practised the same trick at Liverpool. It was not a bad idea to turn his spying over to a journalist, who could pursue inquiries without arousing any suspicion but, unfortunately for the success of his scheme, he happened upon a man who asked him point blank whether he wasn't a German and whether this information he required was not for the purpose of enlightening the German Intelligence Department.
Thereafter Lody gave up this method. Edinburgh to have been to him as a candle to a moth. He was constantly flitting in and flitting out, sometimes alone, sometimes in company with a woman, once or twice in the society of a man who was afterwards shot at the Tower, and went to his death smoking a cigarette.
An educated man with a knowledge of the English language has no difficulty in making friends, even in a strange country. Britain does not fall into this category so far as Lody was concerned, but he had frequently to visit districts and towns where he had neither friends nor acquaintances. The people one could pick up in a bar were not the kind of people that were of any service to Lody. He preferred men of the Professional class and, of course, he had no difficulty in securing introductions.
Where he wanted a deeper acquaintance into local life it was his practice to send for a doctor to deal with some slight or obscure complaint from which he was "suffering," but before he did this he was very careful to discover the right kind of doctor. He preferred the young men just starting on their professional career, who had plenty of time on their hands, and who were not averse to a little gossip. Failing a doctor, he would consult a solicitor over some imaginary lawsuit. Both the consultation with doctor and solicitor usually ended in an invitation to lunch or dinner, and on one occasion resulted in Lody meeting a prominent politician. This was when he had temporarily put up at an East Coast town where a bye-election was being fought. He had a ready wit, a fund of good anecdotes, and was an acquisition to any dinner party at which he found himself.
His activities were ceaseless, his energy prodigious. He had that passion for detail which is a German characteristic, and it was his practice to translate even the most trivial pieces of information into writing. Scarcely a day passed that he did not forward a long report to Ostend, which was still his headquarters.
I have been asked often whether Lody established any wireless stations in this country. There were two, and possibly three, such stations which were intended for the transmission of news, not to Germany, but To German ships which might be in the North Sea. There were hundreds of amateur wireless enthusiasts, a large number of which were German but it has never beer proved that these people were official agents of the German Government or that Lody knew or was known by them.
What he did try to do was to create a pigeon service between Germany and England, and he put before the German Intelligence Bureau a scheme for long distance racing between Yorkshire and Bremen. The prizes to be given were very handsome and the race would certainly have appealed to pigeon fanciers but for one of those curious errors into which the German is liable to fall. The scheme was put before a pigeon fancier, and he at once pointed out that the prizes were for races which started in England and finished in Germany, and that no prizes were offered for pigeons which were flown in Germany and finished their race in Yorkshire. This meant that only German competitors had any hope of winning, since pigeons were not trained to fly from, but to their homes.
This put Lody in a dilemma, because he knew that the German Intelligence Bureau had no intention of encouraging the training of a pigeon post from Germany to England. The news of the curious conditions leaked out, and came to the ears of our own Intelligence Department, who squashed the scheme, though I doubt very much if it would have come to anything.
Many speculations have been made and theories put forward as to when the German Government decided upon war. My own view, and this is based upon my knowledge of Lody, is that the decision was reached in the winter of 1913-1914.
In January Lody, who was on a visit to Scotland, was recalled, and left hurriedly for Berlin, where he attended a conference held at the Admiralty Building, a conference which lasted for three days, an was strictly confined to various espionage agents who came to Berlin from every part of Europe, from Russia, Roumania, Italy, France and from such extra European territory as Egypt.
At that conference a number of decisions were reached, and it seems that one of them was to practise the collection and despatch of urgent military and naval news by means of codes, ciphers, and other means, and since Lody was the greatest of the stunt experts his advice must have been invaluable. One official view of Lody was that he was not in England at the beginning of 1914, but that I know is inaccurate. He came bask from Berlin, met three or four people who were engaged in the collection of naval information and there began a full-dress rehearsal of the means by which the Germans intended to convey information out of this country to German headquarters.
No reliance of course, was placed upon wireless telegraphy or upon secret cables. The German had to have a method which was not liable to detection or interruption and he could not put his eggs into one basket, as he would be doing if he depended entirely and absolutely upon passing news across the seas by means of a wireless transmitter, the more so since it was pretty generally known that a "detector" had been invented which could locate a wireless stations within a few hundred yards.
The principal method employed was the newspaper code, and of those there were three kinds. The first was the "agony," where the initial at the beginning and at the end carried the important message. Thus an "agony" which read
"A. E. L.—Sorry I could not meet you. See you Friday.—G. I. B."
really carried only those two groups of capital letters, which may have meant—"British Fleet sailing to Rosyth, mine barrage being laid in the North Sea."
Lody foresaw certain difficulties, and devised a second method. He knew that newspapers required that the advertisers in the "agony" column should be identified and this would occasion a great deal of trouble and might possibly lead to the detection of the man who was sending the message.
In March, 1914, he prepared an employment code on what must have been a fairly elaborate scale.
"Housemaid, three in family, two servants kept, Presbyterian," roughly represents a typical code message.
The readers in Holland (where these messages were decoded) knew that when the words "housemaid" and "Presbyterian" appeared in the same paragraph they were to look for the code, and the code message consisted of the words "two in family, three servants kept."
There were, of course, hundreds of such messages, all designed so that only by the most extraordinary accident could a perfectly innocent advertisement be mistaken by the decoders for a cipher message.
As a matter of fact, one such accident did occur and the wife of a clergyman at Bath who advertised in a London newspaper for a cook general, and who quite unknowingly utilised one of Lody's formulas, was the unknowing cause of a fleet of German minesweepers spending three profitless days in the Skager Rak!
These advertisements touched almost every kind of employment and were extended to cover house advertisements.
It may be said in parenthesis that this method did not thoroughly work, nor was it ever practised as extensively as it was in Italy. Those of you who have seen Italian newspapers published during the war will notice that the advertisement pages are now absolutely blank, the Government having forbidden the publication of "wants," so much information having leaked out to the enemy in this way.
Lody was confident that there would be not the slightest difficulty, even if this method had failed, of conveying news across to the Continent. He was beginning to take a great interest in Zeppelins, and many were the experiments which were made in Germany by these machines entirely on Lody's suggestions.
The Zeppelins had another mission than to bomb. They had to take up information which was flashed, usually up wide chimney stalks, and which was, in consequence, invisible to watchers on the ground. But he had not sufficient time to organise this system as thoroughly as it was subsequently organised, until our aeroplanes started flying by night, detecting the signals and locating them by "bombing" them with paper bags of yellow ochre, which in the clear light of day were easily found.
It was Lody who invented the method of carrying news by photographing the messages onto a film, which way re-rolled in a dark room and relabelled and passed as an unused film. When the film was taken into Germany it was developed, and the message was easily deciphered.
Lady did not confine himself to London papers. In a West Country newspaper the code took the shape of an in memoriam notice and the little doggerel verse which followed the memoir usually carried the message. Had the British police any cognisance of Lody's work? Undoubtedly they had. And two months before the war there occurred an incident, which I will describe at length, which should have effectively dispelled any illusions which Lody might have had as to the non existence of a counter-espionage bureau.
And here let me say that that bureau was in the main staffed by policemen, ordinary detective officers that you meet every day of the week, and not by secret gentlemen who walk about disguised with false whiskers. That there were such super-military detectives is a fact, but there were very few of them.
In May Lody returned from a short trip to Germany in charge of his usual crowd of tourists, and it was noticed that, this time, they contained no young men and no women. Some of them had been in England before, and the people whose business it is to know everything remarked upon this fact and wondered what these people, who were well acquainted with Britain, should be doing in a personally conducted tour.
Lody followed the usual itinerary, went to Edinburgh, came back to Hull, and saw his charges off on the Bremen boat, but did not accompany them. He went to a hotel in Hull, and whilst he was having a cup of tea in his bedroom there came a knock on his door and a very urbane gentleman stepped in with an apologetic smile.
"How do you do, Mr. Inglis?" he asked.
Lody rose and shook hands.
"You don't remember me," said the visitor.
"No, I confess that I do not," smiled Lody.
"I am Inspector G. of a special branch of the Criminal Investigation Department," said the inspector, "and I happened to be in Hull and saw you, and I thought I would call on you. Don't you think that you are playing rather a dangerous game?"
"I don't understand you," said Lody. "I didn't know that it was a dangerous thing to take tourists through England."
"It is not at all dangerous," smiled the other, "if that a all you are doing. But you are communicating with a number of very questionable characters in this country," and he reeled off a long list of Lody's correspondents.
The super-spy did not move a muscle of his face.
"They are people I have met," he said carelessly, "and naturally they write to me for information which I can give them. There was nothing in any of my letters to which you could take exception."
"Nothing at all," said the inspector cheerfully, "but I have been asked to warn you that a few of your friends have a very bad record in this country, and the suggestion is that you are a German in the pay of the German Government."
"That is absurd," he said. "I wish I were. I am surprised at what you tell me about the people who write to me. I had no idea they were bad characters. How do you know they have written?"
The inspector did not answer, and Lody must have known it was a foolish question to ask. After his conviction he said, referring to this incident—
"My letters must have been opened for three months without my knowing it."
The British Government discovered the names of fourteen hundred possible spies by the method of opening letters, with the result that they were all arrested and interned within an hour of war being declared.
The inspector in question died a month later as a result of a very natural accident, and it may have been that his death emboldened Lody to continue his work, though he should have known that the dead inspector was but a cog in a great wheel, and shared his knowledge with other members of his department.
Thereafter, Lody's post-bag, which had been one of considerable size, dwindled practically to nothing, and he seems to have spent the next two months, not in any fresh work of espionage, or in breaking new ground, but in consolidating the work which he and his confederates had started.
And here let me say to those relatives of soldiers and sailors who objected so bitterly to the restrictions which the Government put upon the publication of their friends' letters, that Lody depended absolutely upon securing all the information he knew it would he necessary to obtain when war broke out, from reading and understanding such letters.
Through his loan offices and other agencies, which it is inadvisable to mention even at this stage, he began to get into touch with the relatives of sailors, and particularly did he direct his attention to a certain Sailors' Home in the South of England, where men congregated when they came to port and talked with the greatest freedom. There were a few Germans in the British Navy, but a very few and those ware mostly stokers.
The navy is run on a long-service system and to enter that service it is necessary to start as a boy. Men were only enlisted as stokers and it was very difficult to secure a transfer from one branch of the service the another.
Lody himself never visited the sailors' home in question, but he had an agent who, curiously enough, was never detected, but was there every day, and could supply other agents with particulars about the men, where their homes were, who wrote letters likely to be of value, and in one way and another Lody got together quite a respectable intelligence service in this town.
But even this scheme was not sufficiently ambitious for a man who was dimly seeing the tremendous difficulties which confronted those who would be charged with the task of sustaining a complete service of information between the two countries.
The week before the Assassination of the Archduke Ferdinand he was in Germany urging upon the Government a project which they very much regretted at a later stage that they had not adopted. This was no less than the purchase of a London newspaper, at that time on the market. The idea was a sound one. Lody had found that, by the employment of journalists, he could secure news at little or no risk. He knew, too, that Fleet Street had a thousand whispering tongues, and that those who were initiated into the circle of proprietorship had opportunities which were denied to the best informed of secret agents.
At a later stage, as we know, the German government recognised the possibilities of the press in the country of their enemies, but at this time they kicked at the price Lody said it was necessary to pay and Lody seems to have failed to secure the support of the Deutsche Bank, upon which he had very confidently depended.
At any rate, though the scheme was not definitely turned down, the directors of intelligence displayed a lack of enthusiasm. Lody was temporarily damped, but with a half-hearted promise of support for his scheme if he could secure a certain newspaper at a price. He returned to London and made a very brief appearance in Fleet Street.
LODY spent a short time in Fleet Street, and one of his ventures was an effort to persuade those interested in a London journalistic enterprise to retort to the Deutsche Bank for financial backing, his object being, apparently, to taint the newspaper with pro-German sympathies. Those interested in the newspaper preferred, however, to make pecuniary sacrifices rather than touch a penny of German money. Moreover, the paper had already made itself particularly obnoxious to German affairs, and that in itself was quite sufficient to result in a very quick rejection of "tempting offers." At that date, of course, the identity of Lody was not known, but he was recognised from a portrait, at the time of his conviction, as being the man who held out the financial bait.
Lody's second exploit in Fleet Street was even more unsuccessful. In July there were several properties on the market, one of them an old-established daily newspaper which at one time ranked with the best in England, and certainly had a commanding reputation upon the Continent. It is believed that Lody made an offer for this journal, which expired soon after the war started, but here again some suspicion was aroused and the negotiations were broken off.
I am certain, however, that had the German been as clever as he pretends to be, or as he imagines he is, he would have had a most powerful weapon in his hands, and that at a comparatively small cost. When we remember that Bolo spent hundreds of thousands of pounds to corrupt the press of France we realise something of the German's mistake when he showed such extraordinary parsimony in Britain.
Lolly spent three or four days in Fleet Street, and the writer met him at a well-known hotel in that thoroughfare, and found him a very entertaining man with a large superficial knowledge of journalistic conditions in this country. But it was a peculiar feature about Lody that when he had introduced himself in almost any circumstance he could fade away and leave a substitute to carry on the work he had started. In this case the substitute was frankly a German, the correspondent of a German newspaper, a polished and well-educated man, whom one frequently saw in company with Kuhlmann riding in the Row.
You would have thought, from all the stories you read about the thoroughness of the German espionage system and secret intelligence, that these people had the history and traditions of British journalism at their finger-tips, but as a matter of fact this was not so. They were just as ignorant about journalism as they were about every other phase of industry. That is to say, they had a mechanical knowledge of certain facts, such as who was the editor and where he lived, the name of his secretary and where he or she lived, the name of the master printer, &c. They had the hobbies of these people most carefully tabulated, and even their places of worship and religious convictions.
If there was any scandal attaching to their names they had that also, and particularly were they well informed as to the financial standing of members of the army, navy, and learned professions.
They spent a fortune founding a sort et German Inquiry Agency, but somehow they were always satisfied with getting at the bare details, and never attempted to get into the soul of any of the problems which they examined. They knew almost to a penny the indebtedness and liabilities of this newspaper they were trying to buy, but did not know the class of circulation it enjoyed. What they could not have known was that this paper carried greater weight in France, Spain and Italy than any other newspaper published in Great Britain. This was the case with every German agent, including Lody.
Lody was a man who must have risen to a post of distinction in any Department of State had he decided to employ his genius in a less hazardous manner than that which he decided upon, but he shared with his compatriots that extraordinary lack of humour which might not only have saved him from a great deal of unhappiness at the end of his life, but might very well have helped him to secure the object which he set out to achieve.
Immediately before the war Lody made up his mind, as we know, that the war was inevitable. There is no doubt that the German Government had instructed all their agents, naval as well as military, so that they knew almost to the day when war would break out.
Lody had left Germany a few days before the Sarajevo murders, and hurried back just as the seriousness of the position became apparent.
Germany's chief object, once the die was cast, was to neutralise Great Britain and it was decided to send Prince Henry of Prussia, ostensibly on a motor tour, but in reality on a tour of conciliation. Whether this scheme originated in the brain of the foreign Office or whether it was Lody's own idea it was difficult to say. The chances are, however, that Lody had nothing to do with this. With his large knowledge of conditions of Great Britain he would certainly hare advised against the trip as being useless. But Lody was charged with the task of making the preparations on the Prince's arrival. It was he who sent the various agents to fix resting places for the Prince in the course of his tour.
The first idea was that Prince Henry should motor north to Scotland, taking in Rosyth, and the suggestion was put forward that he should dine with the Flag Officer at that Station, but in the main, Prince Henry's visit was not designed for the purpose of espionage or to nose out any of our weaknesses on the Fast Coast. They were all known, docketed, and filed away in the dossier of the German Naval Intelligence. Prince Henry's visit was to Keep us out of the war and, from the first, it was a failure. Neither Court nor Ministry would allow themselves to be compromised by any kind of discussion which bore an official character.
On the 9th July, as we know, a Council was held at Sans Souci or at another of the Kaiser's palaces at Potsdam, at which decisions were taken as to the plan of the campaign which was to be followed. It is said that at that Council the General Staff decided to invade France by way of Belgium, but I think we may dismiss that suggestion. The German Staff had decided upon invading France years and years before. Indeed, there was no other way of invading France except through Belgium. An advance either through the Belfort-Woeuvre Gap would, apart from the heavy fortifications which would have to be destroyed and overcome, be on too short a front to ensure success. It was only by attack on a wide front practically from the North Sea to the Swiss frontier that the principal result, namely, the capture of Paris, could be achieved. What the Council did decide upon was the steps which should be taken to deal with Britain if she proved obdurate.
Naturally, fearing only the British Nary, the War Lords devoted their attention to that arm, and Lody undoubtedly met the Kaiser in person before returning to his work in this country. In the middle of July, somewhere about the 15th or 16th, a party of bluejackets proceeding from from the Forth to Portsmouth on duty, were joined at Newcastle by a young man who planted himself in the corridor of the carriage, the compartments being full, although the guard offered to find hire a seat in another pert of the train.
The bluejackets, with characteristic kindness, made room for him in one of their compartments, and found him an agreeable companion. He offered them cigarettes and, when the train stopped at York and they were allowed to get off for refreshments, he stood them beer. They were frank and communicative, and told him how they had been taken off manoeuvres in order to commission a new ship "for the war with Germany," said one of them jokingly.
"I do not think there will ever be war with Germany," said Lody. "What have we got to fight about?"
He then went on to explain that he "knew Germany inside out," and the feeling in Germany was one of friendliness to the British—a statement which was received with scepticism, as some of these men had recently been on tour in the Baltic, and they had no doubt in their mind of the spirit which was animating Germany at that moment.
One of the men who were in the carriage, afterwards said that when a sailor remarked that a war with Germany would be popular, Lody looked astounded. Even the chief spy, a man who had probed into almost every phase of British public and private life, seemed to have shared his countryman's ignorance of the extreme unpopularity of Germany in Britain. He got out at Grantham and the same night was seen at Sheffield at a hotel which he had patronised on a previous visit. But, however, from now on, we can never think of Lody acting alone, and I am not referring to his association with half-a-dozen other spies, but rather to the fact that Scotland Yard was taking a lively interest in his doings, and that he was shadowed from time to time, though there was a surveillance it was a general one, and "the Yard" had not as yet begun to conduct a close investigation. He still called himself Inglis, but his real name was now known.
There was one little incident that occurred about this time which may be recorded.
Lody had fixed Durham as one of his news-centres. It was a convenient place, because it lay on the main railway artery, and was in the centre of a great coal-mining district. As we have seen, coal had an irresistible attraction for the super-spy. He used to stay in rooms and represented himself as a traveller.
His landlord knew him only as a quiet, well-behaved man who kept regular hours. He used to write well into the night, excusing himself because he was, he said, "engaged in the firm's business." One night he must have written later than usual, for the landlord, taking up his cup of coffee in the morning, found, what was unusual, his door unlocked. He entered the room, put the cup of coffee by the side of the bed, and hesitated as to whether he should wake the sleeper. The table was covered with sheets of writing which the landlord, although he was no linguist, recognised as German.
That seemed remarkable enough, but Lody's trousers, which he had hung on the bedrail, had fallen to the floor, and the landlord, on picking them up, was struck by the extraordinary weight, which was explained when he felt the two hip pockets and discovered that Lody had a revolver in each.
The landlord, as it happened, was an old, retired policeman, and the discovery rather alarmed him, the more so when on examining one of the pistols, he found it was loaded in every chamber. He replaced the weapon and when, two hours later, Lody came down he intercepted him in the passage.
"Excuse me, Mr Inglis," he said, "I have known you for a long time, but I have never troubled to inquire into your business."
"I am a commercial traveller," said Inglis.
"What line do you travel in?" asked the landlord.
"In steel goods and machinery," replied Inglis promptly.
"Well," said the landlord with a grim smile, "I do not like the samples of machinery you are carrying about in your hip pockets, and I don't want you as a lodger."
Lody was particularly sensitive to such rebuffs as these, and he was "speechless with rage" (to quote my informant) ail this affront to his dignity.
Another experience, which must have been even more alarming, occurred at a near-by city—Newcastle.
An adventuring swindler had been sought up and down England by the police. His modus operandi was to insert an advertisement in a weekly newspaper, offering sometimes boots and sometimes overcoats at a ridiculously low figure. Usually this man maintained an "office address" in a Midland town—it was not really an office, but, an accommodation address, to whither his dupes sent their postal orders.
The Midlands getting a little too hot for him, he moved north and, as bad luck would have it, he adopted the name of Inglis and found an address to where letters might be delivered. He then advertised, this time, a raincoat of extraordinary lightness and value.
Lody, strangely enough, had chosen the same accommodation address, a small newsagent, and called for his letters. It so happened that there was none, either for himself or for his swindling namesake. At the time Lody made his appearance at the shop he was undoubtedly in possession of a great deal of valuable information concerning the defences of the Tyne, which he had secured, not from his journalist employee, but from a German named Pfieffer, who was employed at one of the shipyards, and there is less reason to doubt that all that information had been embodied in a long report which was ready for posting.
Although war had not been declared, there was sufficient evidence on his person to have secured for him a long term of imprisonment. Soon after he left the shop, detectives arrived and were informed by the shopkeeper that "Inglis" had been and gone. He was described and was "picked up" at the railway station, where he had taken a ticket for Morpeth. It was also stated that he had been seen to post a letter et the station. The train had just left when the detectives arrived, but the telephone was requisitioned and midway between Newcastle and Morpeth the door of his carriage was opened.
"Are you Mr. Inglis?" asked the policeman at the door.
"I want you."
"On what charge?" asked Lody coolly.
He was informed when he reached the police station, where he was searched, without, however, anything of an incriminating nature being found.
The Scotland Yard men arrived half an hour later and, to their chagrin, they discovered that the "wrong man" had been taken. Fortunately, or unfortunately, for Lody, he had posted his report. Had that been discovered on him he might have been in prison to-day and alive.
Lody wrote long reports. Only a few, however, got into the hands of the police. They were carried by courier to Ostend and he was never out of communication with the bureau in the Rue de Leopold.
It was about this time that we who patiently follow the story, and all the slender clues which exist as to Lody's movements, discover flitting in and out, evasively but surely, the figure of a woman. She does not appear before. There is no record of her in any of his earlier transactions It is evidently not the woman with whom he was seen at Plymouth or Portsmouth, nor the girl with whom he took excursions on the Clyde. Both these were obviously Germans, whilst there are doubts as to the nationality of the other woman, who spoke English well. They were seen tether in Liverpool, in Dublin, and in Liverpool again, and on the best of terms. They were certainly on terms that suggest that she had a very complete knowledge of his plans, and that she was, in fact, a spy working with and for him.
In the Scotland Division of Liverpool there was a small shop which sold sweet-stuffs, newspapers and tobacco. It also took in letters for anybody who liked to pay a fee to have their letters addressed to this a place. Either Lody or the girl called several times and received, on each occasion, half-a-dozen letters which were apparently addressed to Lody, in the same name as that in which he was staying at one of the best hotels.
It is therefore a little difficult to understand why they should has been addressed there at all but for the fact that they mostly came from America, and Lody had probably fixed up this place for receiving letters, long before he decided to stay in Liverpool. The majority of those letters were from Doctor Albert, from Von Papen, and Boy-Ed, who were running Germany's Espionage Bureau in America, and it is fair to assume that the beautiful stranger who had made a sudden appearance was from the States, because a week or eight days before the war was declared, Lody saw her off to the other side. As far as one knows, she did out return.
This period marks, I think, the end of the Ostend office. It was actually closed three weeks before the declaration of war, and all future inspiration came from the United States, in fact it was in that country, and not from any of the European neutrals, that all future instructions were issued. From about the 12th July onward, all Germany's espionage system was worked from Washington, and the proof of this is to be found in the fact that, from that time forward, Lody made no attempt to communicate with Dutchmen or Danes, or endeavoured to secure their services on Germany's behalf, but confined himself exclusively to seeing Chileans and members of the South American nationalities. It may be said, in parenthesis, that the majority of the spies who arrived in this county, after the declaration of war, were South American "neutrals."
Enormous sums of German money came into this country for secret service work. Lody had the command of hundreds of thousands of pounds, though his paymaster has never been discovered.
In the week before the war money came in, in a flood, and it is strange indeed to think that Lody, who engineered its disbursement, was destined to spend only a few hundred pounds on behalf of the Fatherland, and that most of the money lies untouched, even to this day, if it has not been returned to Germany. Large sums were necessary because, the week before the war, Lody was evidently satisfied that he had a working staff of agents numbering over a thousand, in various parts of Scotland and England, and he had not only to arrange that these were constantly and generously supplied, but he had also to finance the South American Corps, which had already started for Britain before the war broke out.
The police have done a wonders but Lody's lines, which connected him with his organisation, have never yet been disclosed, and there is no better proof of this than the diversity of opinion which exists as to Lody's real character. Was he an agent under a super-spy? Was he just a very ordinary member of the German Intelligence who had arrived a few weeks before, and was getting acquainted with entirely new work, or was he, as so many hold, including myself, the principal directing genius of a system which was destroyed because the British police cut it at its roots? Picture the situation on the 3rd August. War had actually been declare upon Russia and France. Mighty armies were in movement, whilst out there in the mists of the North Sea lay the greatest fleet the world had ever known, watchfully waiting, but not at war.
Their war flags had yet to be hoisted to the main. Notes, queries, urgent telegrams of inquiry and explanation flashed continuously between London, Paris, Petrograd and Berlin. Yet everybody knew that war was inevitable. The German had been given till midnight to reply to the ultimatum which Britain had delivered and there could be no question as to what his answer would be.
You may picture Lody sitting in his boarding-house, the whole scheme of his system mapped out in his fine brain—there was no memorandum or written matter discovered which betrayed a single soul save Lody—conscious of his power, satisfied that the finishing touches had been put to his organisation, and at the word "Go" hundreds of agents throughout the kingdom, all classes and conditions of men, barbers and tailors, hotel waiters, hotel proprietors, some men whom you would never suspect of having any association with Germany, who had British names, and apparently none but British friends.
Yet each man was a secret enemy of Britain, who had his instructions, who knew where to leave his news, and who had been carefully coached in the method by which that news might be obtained.
Eleven struck, and we can picture Lody looking at the clock, and try to imagine what his feelings were that, immediately the last stroke had ceased to quiver and hum, he was in an enemy's country, and liable to the quick death which awaited those who betrayed that country to her foe.
We may be sure he did not blanch. H said afterwards that he was glad when the hour had struck. He knew of that silent force, that mile upon mile of dark ships that waited in the Northern seas, but he did not know that there was yet another force, even more silent, certainly more unknown, and from his point of view, more sinister. He had, it is believed, some fourteen hundred agents. By seven o'clock on the morning following the declaration of war two launched of those agents sere arrested by the British police.
FROM the first days of the war Lody displayed an extraordinary nervousness. It was as though he were conscious of the fact that the Scotland Yard men were on his track.
There were many evidences of this, not long after the curtain rang up upon the tragedy which was to last 4½ years, and was to outlast Lody for four years nearly.
Another German, who was subsequently, arrested and shot, saw Lody on the 6th August whilst he was in captivity, spoke to the officer, in whose charge he was, of the impression he received.
"Lody was restless. I could almost describe him as wretched," he said. "He, too, believed that the country was too small and compact, and too well scrutinised by the police for espionage work to go on unchecked. Lody told me he had discovered, at the very last moment, that the British had a very strong force of secret police, and that they had an Intelligence Department of more than ordinary ability. He told me then, and it was the first time I knew of it, that he had already been warned by a police officer at Hull, a man who was afterwards killed in a railway accident. I suggested to him that he should leave for Germany as his nerve had apparently failed, and he seemed inclined to agree. But the next morning when I met him he told me he had received an important message from Ireland, and he was going there where he would be safe. I never had another opportunity of meeting him. He left that afternoon, but not, as I understand, for Ireland."
"The fog of war" had descended upon the navy and army of late and, while it was possible to take little journeys from camp to camp, he got some idea of what was happening so far as the army was concerned. It was humanly impossible to get any correct information concerning the navy. It was pretty well known that certain squadrons of the navy were at Rosyth and lying in the Firth of Forth, but the Grand Fleet itself was in the North Sea at its battle station and, presumably, Lody wanted to make perfectly sure how matters stood, and particularly how the fleet was divided, before he started again on a visit to Scotland—his last.
Hitherto Lody had been the most self-possessed and the coolest of men. He had taken risks, and great risks, although he had never before risked his life. He now began to show signs of nervousness and, like, people who lose their nerve, his investigations took on a character which can only be described as puerile. That is to say, he would go a long distance out of his way and take an immense amount of trouble to question chance bluejackets who could give him no information of any value, although he seems to have accepted much that was told him as gospel truth, and to have telegraphed in code even the most insignificant item of news.
There was too, a certain aimlessness in his methods. He would take long journeys to obscure towns where he could not possibly have secured any information and, hardly had he arrived than he was off again on a wild cross-country trip which ended as unprofitably.
"He gave me the impression," said one of the police officers who were engaged in tracking him down, "of trying to throw his pursuers off the scent, though he could not have known then, though he knew subsequently, that he wee being pursued."
One cannot fail to be impressed by Lody's extraordinary loneliness during those first days of the war. By common consent, every other German agent (with one exception) had isolated himself and kept aloof. There is no record of his having been associated, subsequent to the incident referred to above, with any known German agent or spy. Lody had hoped that, within a month or so, his investigations into the war conditions of the British Navy would be completed, and he would be free to return to Germany, where a command had already been ear-marked for him, and I think we should be doing him the greatest injustice if we did not believe that he looked forward to active service and to having a more creditable role in the war than he had done as head of the Secret Intelligence.
I have said that, without exception, none of Germany's agents were associated with Lody in the days immediately following the war. I qualify that statement by a reference to the report of his meeting with Kupferle, who was described as Germany's master spy. All the virtues, qualities, genius, and gift of organisation with which Kupferle is credited must in reality go to Lody. It will be remembered that Kupferle was subsequently arrested and hanged himself in Brixton Gaol, leaving a message to his Judge. Kupferle and Lody are supposed to have met about the 16th or 17th of August and the place of meeting is said to have been the railway platform at Crewe. Kupferle subsequently said that he had given Lody his chance to get out of England, but the truth of the matter is that the so-called master spy was not in England at the period anterior to Lody's arrest. With his approaching end, the knowledge that his race was run weighed heavily upon this young man who, under happier circumstances, might have risen to a post of responsibility in the German Navy, for he lacked nothing in courage nor an enterprise.
A policeman on duty in one of the Midland towns on a hot August night had under his observation a man who seemed to be wandering about the streets without aim or object. Three times this man passed the constable and, on the fourth time, recognising him as one he had seen before, the policeman pulled him up. On closer inspection the wanderer proved to be a very well dressed and well spoken man of about 26 or 27. The policeman's first impressions were dissipated when he saw the obvious respectability of the night-farer.
"I am suffering from insomnia," said the stranger in explanation, "and cannot sleep."
"What you want," said the policeman jocularly, "is to join the army. A young man like you will be badly wanted in France in a few weeks' time."
"I shouldn't be surprised," he said dryly, "but the army isn't my forte. I am a sailor."
He stood chatting to the policeman for some time and they adjourned to a coffee-stall where Lody confessed he had had no sleep for six nights. In the course of his talk he let drop a curious observation.
"It is quite a pleasure," he said, "to see a uniformed constable. I don't like to see plain-clothes men, do you?"
The constable laughed good-humouredly.
"You talk like a criminal, sir," he said. "I don't think it matters very much whether a policeman is in uniform or out. You have nothing to fear if you break no law."
It is easy to understand the trend of the questions which Lody put to the policeman after that.
"I have been reading stories about the secret police," he said. "Is there such a thing as a secret police?"
"I have never heard of one," said the constable.
"But don't you sometimes have visitors here from Scotland Yard?" asked Lody.
The constable admitted that that was frequently the case.
"I thought I saw a Scotland Yard man here to-day," said Lody carelessly. "That is why I asked."
But the policeman had heard nothing from Scotland lard or of any of its officers being in the town.
Possibly the did know this, and was playing upon the rivalry between the great crime detective headquarters and the local police constable.
It is not my intention at this stage, or in these articles, to discuss Lody's association with Ireland and with the desperate men who were later to force an issue with the British Government.
No doubt a great plot was hatched as early as December, 1914, when Lody received unexpected instructions to make the best of his way to Ireland and to get in touch with the leaders of the conspiracy. To Ireland he went, but the end was now near. Sufficient evidence had been accumulated to justify the police taking drastic action, and on the same boat as that by which Lody crossed went two men from Scotland Yard, one of whom was inspector Ward. They had given Lody sufficient rope, and they began to pull in the slack.
Ward carried a warrant signed by the military authorities under the Defence of the Realm Act, and the arrest was effected a few days after Lody had reached Ireland.
He was sitting in his room when the police officers were announced. Ward stepped into the room, and with a curt little nod said:
"I believe your name is Inglis."
"That is my name," smiled Lody.
"Your real name is Lody, you are an officer of the Imperial German Navy, and I have a warrant for your arrest on a charge of espionage; I caution you that anything you may say will be taken down as evidence against you."
Lody was very pale, but did not speak for a moment.
"You have made a big mistake," he said at last, but offered no resistance.
What puzzled him in the subsequent journey to London was the urbanity and politeness of the captors. He suspected some subtle design and thought that the kindliness of his treatment had a sinister meaning.
"I cannot understand if you think I am a spy why you should be so decent to me. If I were a Britisher," he said, "and you were spies in Germany, I know the kind of treatment that would be meted out to you."
"Well, you can thank your stars," said Ward grimly, "that you're a German!"
Lody did not immediately reply, but presently said—
"I don't know that I have a great deal to be thankful for."
"I don't think you have," said Ward.
Everybody who knows London does not know St George's Barracks, although it is in the very heart of the West End. It is a gaunt and rambling block of buildings immediately behind the National Gallery, and the high wall which hides from view the building which has been the last home of so many men sentenced to death for espionage, immediately faces, by the oddest trick of circumstances, the façade of Ciro's Club, which used to be the gayest resort in London.
It was to St George's Barracks that Lody was taken. He occupied a room which was especially prepared for him, and every opportunity was given to him for the adequate preparation of his defence. In no country in the world were men charged with espionage treated with the same courtesy and the same fairness as they were in Great Britain. No attempt was made to extract the names of accomplices, all the legal assistance they required was given to them, and in the case where the prisoner was a German officer, a British officer with a knowledge of German was detailed to render the preparation of the spy's defence as simple and as expeditious a matter as possible.
From his arrest Lody had no hope of escaping the supreme penalty which all nations exact for his offence. He was impressed by the absolute fairness of the proceedings, both before and at the trial, and frequently spoke in gratitude of the way he was dealt with.
The trial took place at the Westminster Guildhall before a Court Martial and was presided over by General Lord Cheylesmore, and there was produced a mass of evidence which could leave no doubt in the mind of anybody that Lody was guilty and had earned the utmost penalty. As is the custom at Courts-Martial, no announcement was made either to the prisoner or his counsel as to the findings of the Court or the sentence which had been imposed. When men are tried by Court-Martial and are sentenced to death, they receive no information of their approaching doom until less than twenty four hours before the sentence is carried into effect.
The trial, like all of its kind, was held in camera, but those who were present can testify to the courageous bearing and the modest demeanour of the prisoner. He followed all the proceedings with interest and when Inspector Ward stepped into the dock he listened to the narrative of that officer with the greatest interest and sometimes with a half-smile.
If Lody had any faint hope at all that he would escapee the death sentence it was founded on the fact that the police did not produce evidence of his pre-war activities. I believe I am right in saying that nothing was said of the work of organisation which he had carried out in the days before the war. Nothing was made known of his loan offices or of his multifarious activities both in the training of spies and in the perfection of the means of communication between Germany and Great Britain.
He was tried for certain specific offences which had been committed in the days of the war and the Court was naturally influenced by the fact that he was indubitably a German officer, and that he was attached to German Naval Intelligence. I think it was a admitted at the trial that Lody had secured no information which could be of the slightest service to Germany so that he was tried and condemned more for his intentions than his deeds. The trial ended at last and Lody was returned to his room at the barracks.
He spent much of his time writing letters to friends and relations and in these letters, of course, no reference occurred to his activities in Britain, nor did he discuss military or political affairs. I shall always think that Lody showed a greater fineness of character than he had ever displayed before. After the trial he made no pretence of being anything but what he was, a German officer anxious for the success of German arms. But he had his misgivings.
"There is something about this war which frightens me," he said to an officer who saw him a great deal. "There are so many unexpected features—unexpected by me and, I know, by my people. Pray God that out dream of easy conquest does not prove a veritable mirage which promises only to deceive."
"The Marne battle is baffling. I do not see the end of it. I heart-aching feeling that, in some way or other, we have failed miserably. I know for certain that we have not succeeded."
All the time he was in captivity he was expecting to learn that there had been an Irish rising. He pinned his faith to this and refused to believe that it had not occurred. He thought that the British censors were holding up and keeping secret the news.
On the ethics of espionage he had very definite opinions.
"I have come to the conclusion," he said, two days before his execution, "that espionage is profitless unless it is conducted at the actual base. My view is that the only kind of spy who is worth anything is a man of the same nation as that which is being spied upon. But we have never managed to get a British traitor to act for us and, of course, it is wholly impossible to bribe your officers. You may be interested to learn that the code of the German Army and Navy is modelled upon a British pattern. Our superior officers are never tired of telling us that the money is not coined which would buy the honour of a British officer. We had this so constantly dinned into our ears that we came to regard the British officer with a certain kind of pride, as though we were responsible for his moral code!"
Lody spoke very little about the probable results of the trial. It was a subject which he avoided, and with reason, for he could not but be conscious of the inevitability of the end. Yet there were occasions when he faced the certainty of death manfully, and expressed his wish that if he was to be killed he should be shot "like a soldier," and that he might wear his naval uniform.
"I am only a pawn in the game." he said, "and the nearer I come to the end of it the more insignificant I appear to myself. I wish I could believe that I had done something which was really helpful to Germany. Even that satisfaction is denied me, for it seems to me that I have been all but useless."
On Britain and the British effort he was very emphatic.
"It is not my fault that our people have underrated Great Britain," he said. "I warned the Government time and time again, but I have always been pooh-poohed. We are up against the most virile nation on the face of the earth—our people think you are most decadent."
The day on which be was to learn his fate arrived.
An officer came into his room just as he was sitting down to lunch and Lody saw his doom in the grave eyes of the Britisher.
"Well?" he said. "I've bad news for you, Lody, but you must bear it like a man. You been found guilty on all counts and are to be shot at dawn."
For a moment the super-spy broke down. He bowed his head and tears rolled down his cheeks, but with a supreme effort of will he took command of himself.
"Very well," he said calmly and, sitting down, went on with his lunch.
That afternoon, accompanied by an escort, he entered a taxicab, and was driven to the Tower, by way of the Thames Embankment and Queen Victoria Street. He was lodged in one of the modern buildings and was allowed to take exercise near the place where Lady Jane Grey had paid for her husband's ambitions with her head.
That night he was visited by a clergyman and spent an hour in spiritual exercises and the remainder of the night was passed in letter writing. He ate well and, for a short time, slept.
He was now entirely resigned to his fate and asked the visiting officer if he would tell him the names of other personages who had met their end within the grey walls of the ancient fortress.
"I am in excellent company," he said, with a smile. "I am sorry that I have not studied English history a little more closely."
The morning of the execution was grey and cheerless, and Lody again saw the chaplain, and handed to him the letters which he had written during the night.
"They will have to be censored," he said, "but I have put no information into them which is likely to be serviceable to Germany. If I have inadvertently done so I should be glad if the words are carefully erased."
In the dawn a firing party, recruited from the Scots Guards, had assembled at the miniature rifle range and a solid chair had been placed against the wall.
Prior to Lody's arrival the men went through the exercise of loading and firing at the place where the spy would sit.
Lody in his cell showed much interest in such of the preliminaries as he could see.
"I suppose you will want my coat and shirt to be open?" he said, and when the officer nodded he smiled.
"You will not care to shake hands with a spy? he asked.
"I will shake hands with a man who gives his life for his country," replied the officer, extending his hand.
He walked by Lody's side until they came to the place of execution.
The condemned man faced his executioners without a tremor.
"Is it necessary that I should be bound and blindfolded?" he asked, and when the officer replied in the affirmative he submitted to the process of being bound to the chair.
"I have had a fair trial, and the sentence was just," he said. "God have mercy upon me."
The rifles crashed together, and he died instantly.
The following synopsis of the Karl Lody case was downloaded from the web site British Military & Criminal History 1990-1990 and reformatted for inclusion in this e-book. Copyright on this material is owned by its author, Stephen Stratford, who has given permission for its inclusion in this RGL first edition. The original web page can be viewed here.
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 be shot in the rifle range at The Tower.
The General court-martial of Karl Lody took place at The Middlesex Guildhall, Westminster, on Friday, Saturday and Monday 30, 31 October and 2 November 1914.
The court-martial was convened by Major-General Sir. F. Lloyd, KCB, CVO, DSO on 24 October 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.
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.
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.
Lody's American Passport has a visa stamped by the United States' Representative at Hamburg.
Certificate of Registration shows Lody at Bergen, Norway.
Lody arrives at The North British Hotel, Edinburgh. He registers as Charles A. Inglis, an American citizen.
Lody goes to the Post Office in Edinburgh, and sends a telegram to Adolf Burchard, 4 Trottumgatten, Stockholm, Sweden.
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.
Lody leaves Miss Brown's boarding house in Edinburgh, and travels to London. Lody registers at the Ivanhoe Hotel in Bloomsbury, London.
Lody, posing as the American citizen Charles A. Inglis, sends a report to Herr J. Stammer in Berlin.
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.
Lody reports to Miss Downie at the bicycle depot in Edinburgh, that he has damaged his bicycle in an accident.
Lody settles his account with Miss Downie.
Lody leaves Edinburgh, and is next seen at the London & North Western Railway Hotel at Liverpool.
Lody leaves Liverpool on the 10.55am train for Holyhead, and then on the "Munster" to Dublin.
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.
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 court-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 in "...the spirit of manhood which prompted him 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 court-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 verandah 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 verandah, 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!"
|1||Alfred WARD||Chief Inspect., New Scotland Yard|
|2||Jessie GRAHAM||Clerkess - North British Station Hotel|
|3||William MILLS||Counter Clerk - Edinburgh General Post Office|
|4||Julia Ann FRANCIS or BROWN||Bedford House, Drumsheugh Gardens|
|5||Chrissie CAIRNS||Rutland Square, Edinburgh|
|6||Mary DOWNIE||West Stanhope Place|
|7||Mary Grace FOSTER||Head Reception Clerk - Ivanhoe Hotel|
|8||Ida McCLYMENT||Met Lody on train from Ediburgh to London|
|9||Ruth ROUTLEDGE||Manageress - Roxburgh Hotel, Edinburgh|
|10||Jean FROST||Book Keeper - LNER Hotel, Line Street, Liverpool|
|11||Frank NEWCOMB||Porter - LNER Hotel, Lime Street, Liverpool|
|12||John Edward LEVETT||Det. Con., Liverpool Special Branch|
|13||Alfred HUSSEY||Aliens' Office in charge of Holyhead|
|14||Hugh CALLAGHAN||Head Porter - Gresham Hotel, Dublin|
|15||Charles CHEESMAN||Dist. Inspt., Royal Irish Constab., Killarney|
|16||James CAMERON||Detective, Edinburgh City Police|
|17||Malcolm BRODIE||Clerk - Secretary's Office, Gen. P.O|
|18||Frederick Bosworth BOOTH||Clerk - Secretary's Office, Gen. P.O|
|19||John Barr FETHERSTONE||Clerk - Secretary's Office, Gen. P.O|
|20||John BRIGGS||Police Inspector, New Scotland Yard|
|21||Capt. William Reginald HALL, RN||Dir. of Intell. Dept. Admiralty|
|22||William McBRIDE||Det. Sgt., New Scotland Yard|
BEFORE his execution on 6 November 1914, Carl Lody wrote two letters. They are reproduced on this page.
London, Nov. 5th 1914.
Tower of London
To the Commanding Officer of the 3rd Battalion Gren. Guards.
I feel it my duty as a German officer to express my sincere thanks and appreciation towards the staff officers and men who were in charge of my person during my confinement.
Their kind and considered treatment has called my highest esteem and admiration as regards good fellowship even towards the enemy and if I may be permitted, I would thank you for making this known to them.
I am, Sir, with profound respect:
Carl Hans Lody.
Senior Lieutenant, Imperial German Naval Res. II.
My Dear Ones,
I have trusted in God and He has decided. My hour has come, and I must start on the journey through the Dark Valley like so many of my comrades in this terrible War of Nations. May my life be offered as a humble offering on the alter of the Fatherland.
A hero's death on the battlefield is certainly finer, but such is not to be my lot, and I die here in the Enemy's country silent and unknown, but the consciousness that I die in the service of the Fatherland makes death easy.
The Supreme Court-Martial of London has sentenced me to death for Military Conspiracy. Tomorrow I shall be shot here in the Tower. I have had just Judges and I shall die as an Officer, not as a spy.
Farewell. God bless you,
Roy Glashan's Library.
Non sibi sed omnibus
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