Schurch Petition

This post contains the text of Theodore Schurch‘s Petition against the death sentence passed upon him, after his conviction for treachery and desertion.

The information is extracted from Schurch’s Security Service file, KV 2/77, held at the National Archive, Kew, London.

Subject: General Court-Martial.

No. T/61711 Private Schurch, Theodore John William.

To: Commander, Royal Army Service Corps, Woolwich.

On 17 September 1944 I was tried by General Court-Martial in London on nine charges under Section 1 of the Treachery Act 1940, and on one charge of desertion under Section 12(1) of the Army Act. I was found guilty on all charges and sentenced to death. The Court made no recommendation to mercy. I now respectfully submit this appeal against the sentence on the grounds of severity and respectfully draw attention to the following points, namely:

(1) Ever since I can remember I have looked at askance by my fellows, at school, and later when I went to work. This was on account of my foreign name. The result was that my mind became warped and distorted at an early age.

(2) At the age of 16 I was introduced to the British Union of Fascists, and readily believed their high sounding doctrines.

(3) While completely under their influence I joined the Army at the age of 18, and supplied to them information which I regarded as being of an innocent nature; information which was ostensibly required for an innocent purpose.

(4) When I realised the nature and gravity of my actions, I endeavoured to extricate myself from my position, even to the extent of attempting to commit suicide early in 1942. I was thereafter warned that reprisals would be taken against my parents unless I continued to help the enemy.

(5) In spite of this, I did, when possible, supply false information. Lieutenant Bromage, RN, confirms this.

(6) When I came into Allied hands in La Spezia in March 1945, I made a voluntary confession to the Americans, and later to the British Authorities. It was principally on those statements that I was convicted.

(7) In my statement to the Americans, I disclosed the names of 60-70 enemy agents operating in Italy and the Austrian Tyrol. In a statement made to British Military Intelligence on 14 September 1945 I made further disclousers. In view of the presence of the press at my trial, I instructed my defending officer to remain silent on those points.

In view of the forgoing, I appeal against the sentence of the Court, and beg that it be corrected.

I have the honour to be, Sir,

Your obedient servant,

(signed) Theodore J.W. Schurch.