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This article covers the brief spying career of Fernando Buschman, who was executed at the Tower of London during World War One.
Fernando Buschman was born on 16 August 1890, in Paris, of a naturalised Brazilian Father and Brazilian Mother, who was originally from Denmark. Fernando was sent to Austria for his education, before entering a mechanical school at Karlstein, and finishing at Zurich. Following the death of his Father in 1907, Fernando returned to his Mother in Vienna. However, Fernando soon travelled to work with his brother at a firm of mechanical engineers in Rio de Janeiro. After a couple of years, Fernando returned to his Mother in Vienna. This arrangement was not working, so Fernando decided to travel to Paris. After an unsuccessful attempt at an airplane manufacturing business, Fernando returned to Brazil, starting up a business called Buschman & Bello importing food from Germany and England, in turn exporting bananas and potatoes back to this countries.
After the outbreak of the First World War, Buchman travelled to Hamburg so he could tidy up his business affairs, which had been badly affected by the anti-German feeling in the UK.
On 14 April 1915, Buschman arrived in London staying at the Piccadilly Hotel. However, as he was short of money he sent a telegram requesting £12. Almost a week later, Buschman went to the office of Messrs Bolus & Co, which were located at 487-489 Salisbury House, London Wall, City of London. While at this office, Bushman met Emil Samuel Franco. Franco asked what Buschman wanted. He replied that he was a Brazilian with a German-sounding surname, and that Bolus & Co had stopped shipments from his company in Brazil. He was concerned that this could have been caused by the company ceasing to trade with a Germany-interests company. Their friendship flourished to the extent that they often went out drinking together.
At 9am on 23 April 1915, Buschman was seen off by Franco from London's Waterloo Rail Station. He had previously explained to Franco that he was visiting various food merchants in the Southampton area. Later that day, Buschman returned saying to Franco that he had returned from Portsmouth. Both Southampton and Portsmouth were major ports. The following day, Buschman moved to the cheaper Strand Palace and received a telegram from Flores Dierks & Co. Later in May 1915, Buschman travelled to Amsterdam, in neutral Holland. After returning on 16 May 1915. However money was still a problem so another telegram was sent to Flores requesting more money be sent to Buschman, who had moved into lodgings in Harrington Road, South Kensington.
The British Security Services had intercepted all the telegrams, as they were aware from previous spies that Dierks was a major organising officer for spies sent to the UK. On 4 June 1915, they decided to act. Very early on the morning of 5 June 1915, Buschman was arrested by Inspector George Riley (New Scotland Yard) at his lodgings. When he was later questioned, Buschman stated that he had been employed by Dierks & Co in Amsterdam. He added that although he was suspicious of Mr Dierks and that he had been asked to find out information, he said that he was not the sort of person to furnish such information. He also denied sending the telegrams to Dierks in Amsterdam, neither was he able to explain why Mr Dierks was so interested in a new employee that he was sending several transfers of money via telegram.
Fernando Buschman's courts-martial took place on 29-30 September 1915, at Middlesex Guildhall. The courts president was Major-General Lord Cheylesmore. The Prosecution Case was presented by Mr. A.H. Bodkin and Lieutenant Peevor. Buschman was represented by Mr. Curtis Bennett, and he pleaded not guilty. Buschman presented evidence on his own behalf.
Buschman was found guilty and sentenced to death by shooting. He asked that he be allowed to have his violin, to keep his mind occupied in his last hours. The request was granted. The night before his execution, Buschman played through the night. When his guard collected him for the walk to the miniature rifle range, Buschman picked up his violin and kissed it saying "Goodbye, I shall not want you any more".
At 7am on 19 October 1915, Fernando Buschman was executed by a firing squad composed of members of the 3rd Battalion Scots Guards.