This section deals with people who spied for Germany during the Second World War, and were convicted and subsequently executed under the Treachery Act 1940, for their activities.
All the people except Jakobs and Schurch, were tried before a judge and 12-person jury at The Central Criminal Court (Old Bailey) London. Both Jakobs and Schurch were tried by Military general courts martial at the Duke Of York’s HQ, Chelsea, London.
All the people, except Josef Jakobs, were executed by hanging at either Pentonville or Wandsworth Prison, London. Josef Jakobs was executed by firing squad at The Tower of London.
Theodore Schurch was tried under this Treachery Act at the end of 1945, for offences he committed during the war. He was executed by hanging at Pentonville Prison in January 1946, the day after “Lord Haw Haw” was hanged at Wandsworth Prison.
Rogerio de Magalhaes Peixoto de Menezes was convicted under the Treachery Act 1940 and sentenced to death. His sentence was later commuted to life imprisonment. He eventually received a pardon.
Jose Waldberg was born a German subject at Mainz on 15 July 1915. He was convicted at the Central Criminal Court on 22 November 1940 before Mr. Justice Asquith. Waldberg was executed on 10 December 1940 at Pentonville Prison, together with Karl Meier.
Karl Meier was born a Dutch subject at Koblenz on 19 October 1916. He was convicted at the Central Criminal Court on 22 November 1940 before Mr. Justice Asquith. Meier was executed on 10 December 1940 at Pentonville Prison, together with Jose Waldberg.
CHARLES ALBERT VAN DER KIEBOOM
Van Der Kieboom was born a Dutch subject at Takarumuka, Japan, on 6 September 1914. He was tried with Karl Meier and Jose Waldberg at the Central Criminal Court on 22 November 1940. Due to lodging an appeal, which was later withdrawn, Van Der Kieboom was executed at Pentonville Prison one week after the double execution of Waldberg and Meier.
GEORGE JOHNSON ARMSTRONG
Click here for details of the Armstrong case.
WERNER HEINRICH WAELTI
Werner Waelti was born a Swiss citizen, at Zurich, on 14 December 1915. He landed in Scotland, and was eventually arrested by the Left Luggage office in Edinburgh’s Waverley Rail Station after entering via the steps from Princes Street.
He was tried at the Old Bailey on 12-13 June 1941, together with Karl Drucke, before Mr. Justice Asquith. Waelti’s appeal was dismissed on 21 July 1941. He was executed at Wandsworth Prison, together with Drucke, on 6 August 1941.
KARL THEO DRUCKE
Karl Theo Drucke was a German national born at Grebenstein, Hessen, on 20 March 1906. He landed in Scotland with Waelti, and was later arrested. He was tried at the Central Criminal Court on 12 and 13 June 1941 before Mr. Justice Asquith. Drueke’s appeal was dismissed by the Court of Criminal Appeal on 21 July 1941. He was executed at Wandsworth Prison, together with Waelti, on 6 August 1941
Click here for details of the Jakobs case.
KARL RICHARD RICHTER
Karl Richard Richter was born at Kraslice on 29 January 1912, a Sudeten German. He was convicted at the Central Criminal Court before Mr. Justice Tucker, the trial lasting four days 21-24 October 1941. His appeal was dismissed by the Court of Criminal Appeal on 24 November 1941. After a long struggle in the condemned cell, Richter was hanged at Wandsworth Prison on 10 December 1941. The events at Richter’s execution are detailed in Albert Pierrepoint’s autobiography.
JOSE ESTELLE KEY
Jose Estelle Key was born on 1 July 1908 on Gibraltar, a British citizen. Key was arrested on Gibraltar under the Emergency Powers (Defence of the Realm) Act 1939. Whilst he was being searched, they found information which Key was planning to transmit to the Germans. Key was then taken to the U.K and charged under the Treachery Act. He was tried before Mr. Justice Humphreys. His appeal, before Mr. Justice Tucker and Mr. Justice Asquith, was dismissed on 22 June 1942. Jose Estelle Key was executed at Wandsworth Prison, together with Timmerman, on 7 July 1942 at Wandsworth Prison.
ALPHONS L.E. TIMMERMAN
Aphons Timmermann was born in Ostend on 1 August 1904. After the German invasion of Belgian in 1940, Timmerman decided to make his way to the U.K and join the Free Belgian Merchant Fleet. He successfully travelled through France, but he was arrested when he entered Spain, and imprisoned in Barcelona. Eventually the Belgian Consul arranged his release, and Timmerman arrived in the U.K on 1 September 1941. Whilst being interrogated by a Belgian Security Officer at the Royal Victoria Patriotic School (located opposite Wandsworth Prison), the officer noticed that Timmerman had the following items: an envelope containing white powder, a bunch of orange sticks and a piece of cotton wool; the classic items used for invisible writing.
Timmerman was tried on 20 May 1942, with his appeal dismissed on 22 June 1942. Alphons Timmerman was executed, together with Jose Estelle Key, at Wandsworth Prison on 7 July 1942. Being a slightly built man, weighing only 120 pounds (8 stones 8 pounds or 54.5 kilogrammes), Timmerman was given a long drop of nearly 9 feet.
Click here for details of the Scott-Ford case.
JOHANNES MARINUS DRONKERS
Johannes Marinus Dronkers was a Dutch subject, born at Nigtevecht (near Utrecht) on 3 April 1896. He was picked up with two other Dutchmen, from a small yacht on 18 May 1942. During the normal routine interrogation, the other two Dutchmen seemed quite rational. In contrast, Dronkers was so hysterical that no sense could be got out of him. He was tried at the Central Criminal Court on 13, 16 and 17 November 1942 before Mr. Justice Wrottesley. On 14 December 1942, his appeal was dismissed at the Court of Criminal Appeal by Lord Chief Justice Mr. Justice Humphreys and Mr. Justice Asquith. On 31 December 1942, Dronker was executed at Wandsworth Prison.
FRANCISCUS JOHANNES WINTER
Winter was born a Belgian subject at Antwerp on 17 January 1903. He was employed as a steward in the Belgian Merchant fleet. After contacting the British authorities in Spain, stating that he was a Belgian refugee, Winter arrived in the U.K via a ship on 31 July 1942. As was normal for refugees arriving in the U.K, he was interrogated by British security officers. He told them that he had fled from Belgium via France and Spain. He also had approximately £100 worth of British, American, French, Belgian and Spanish currencies on his person. His story of coming to the U.K to join the merchant navy was not believed. He eventually stated that he had told a pack of lies. He said in his statement that he had been recruited by German Intelligence to spy on convoy movements. He was then to send his reports to an address in a neutral country. This address was a know front for German Intelligence. Winter was tried on 4 December 1942 before Mr. Justice Humphreys. His appeal, heard before Mr. Justice Tucker and Mr. Justice Cassels, was dismissed on 11 January 1943. Winter was hanged at Wandsworth Prison on 26 January 1943.
OSWALD JOHN JOB
Oswald Job, a son of German parents, was born in Stepney, London, on 4 July 1885. He was educated at a English public school before going to live in Paris. When the Germans took over France in 1940, Job along with other enemy passport holders was interned, finally ending up in the St. Denis Internment Camp. Job, who had already become friendly with his German guards, had already come to noticed. When approached by the German Intelligence services, he reportedly said that he had always been friendly to Germany. The emaciated and thin Job eventually arrived at the British Embassy in Madrid. His story appeared to check, and as one of the embassy staff went to the same school as Job, everything appear to be satisfactory. After arriving in England via an aeroplane, Job was given a further interrogation. He was eventually given a small living allowance, and found a room in Bayswater. Soon the British Postal Censorship notice a strangely frequent exchange of letters between the Job family and Job’s former inmates in the St. Denis Camp. When Job’s relatives were interviewed and denied ever sending the letters, the British Security Services paid Job a visit. One of the officers noticed that Job had a very large set of keys, for someone with just a very small room. When the keys were examined, they were found to contain invisible inks, and specialist cipher information. When interrogated, Job claimed that he took the mission from the Germans as a way to escape St. Denis. However, Job was tried before Mr. Justice Slade on 24-26 January 1944. Job’s appeal against conviction was dismissed on 28 February 1944. Oswald John Job was hanged at Pentonville Prison on 16 March 1944, aged 59 years’ old. He was the oldest person executed under the Treachery Act 1940.
PIERRE RICHARD C. NEUKERMANS
Pierre Richard Charles Neukermans was born a Belgian subject at Waarbecke, Belgium, on 1 May 1916. He was a former officer in the Belgian Army, that had been invalided out of the Belgian Army in 1938. After the German invasion of Belgium, Neukermans return to Brussels and worked in his Father-in-law’s business. Sometime later, he was recruited by the German Intelligence services. After receiving training, he arrived in the U.K via Lisbon on 16 July 1943. He claimed to be an escapee from the Nazis, and eager to help the allied cause. After questioning, Neukermans was allowed into the U.K. Being medically unfit for military service, he gained employment in one of the Free Belgian Government offices in the U.K. Around six months later, the British Security Services paid Neukermans another visit. They had established that the person who helped Neukermans ‘escape’ from the Nazis and Belgium was working for the German S.S in Belgium. After interrogation, Neukermans admitted that he had sent letters to an address in a neutral country, detailing convoy movements from this country to the Belgian Congo. Neukermans was tried on 28 April and 1 May 1944, before Mr. Justice MacNaughten. His appeal was dismissed on 8 June 1944. Neukermans was executed at Pentonville Prison on 23 June 1944.
JOSEPH JAN VANHOVE
Joseph Jan Vanhove was heavily involved in the Belgium black market activities. As he was being pursued by the Belgian police, he decided to work for the Germans. His various assignments involved spying on French and Belgian workmen, who were working for the German occupation forces on their Northern France airfields. In 1942, the German Intelligence services suggested that he try to enter the U.K with another agent via Switzerland. This operation was a complete failure. After returning to Belgium, the German Intelligence services told him to try again. This time he was to try and gain passage on a ship to Sweden. He accomplished this, and presented himself to the British authorities in Stockholm. The British authorities pretended to believe him, and Vanhove sailed for the U.K. As soon as the ship arrived on 11 February 1944, Vanhove was arrested. He was probably set-up by a double agent, who the Germans had not realised had been turned by the British Security forces. Vanhove was tried on 23-24 May 1944 at the Old Bailey. His appeal was dismissed on 27 June 1944. Vanhove was executed at Pentonville Prison on 12 July 1944.
THEODORE JOHN WILLIAM SCHURCH
Click here for details of the Schurch case.