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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 shot in the rifle range at The Tower.
The General courts-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's Members
The courts-martial was convened by Major-General Sir. F. Lloyd, KCB, CVO, DSO on 24 October 1914.
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.
Sequence of Events
4 August 1914:
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.
16 August 1914:
Lody's American Passport has a visa stamped by the United States' Representative at Hamburg.
20 August 1914:
Certificate of Registration shows Lody at Bergen, Norway.
27 August 1914:
Lody arrived at The North British Hotel, Edinburgh. He registers as Charles A. Inglish, an American citizen.
30 August 1914:
Lody goes to the Post Office in Edinburgh, and sends a telegram to Adolf Burchard, 4 Trottumgatten, Stockholm, Sweden.
1 September 1914:
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.
15 September 1914:
Lody leaves Miss Brown's boarding house in Edinburgh, and travels to London. Lody registers at the Ivanhoe Hotel in Bloomsbury, London.
16 September 1914:
Lody, posing as the American citizen Charles A. Inglis, sends a report to Herr J. Stammer in Berlin.
17 September 1914:
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.
25 September 1914:
Lody reports to Miss Downie at the bicycle depot in Edinburgh, that he has damaged his bicycle in an accident.
26 September 1914:
Lody settles his account with Miss Downie.
28 September 1914:
Lody leaves Edinburgh, and is next seen at the London & North Western Railway Hotel at Liverpool.
29 September 1914:
Lody leaves Liverpool on the 10.55am train for Holyhead, and then on the "Munster" to Dublin.
2 October 1914:
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 175 in English money, some German gold and some Norwegian kronen notes.
Contents of Trial
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 courts-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 "... the spirit of manhood which prompted his to carry his life in his hand when he came into this country.".
Verdict & Sentence
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 courts-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!"
List of Witnesses