Shot in the Tower: The Story of the Spies executed in the Tower of London during the First World War [Sellers]
The first reaction to Leonard Sellers fascinating account of the spies who were executed in the Tower of London during the First World War is likely to be one of amazement at their ineptitude. Not one of them seems to have had any proper training or any idea of how to set about the job. This, of course raises the intriguing question: how many others were there who did know what they were up to and managed to escape detection?
However, thanks to the more liberal attitude now prevalent regarding access to hitherto ‘sensitive’ material and to years of dogged research by Len Sellers, the remarkable, but somehow pathetic, stories of the eleven foreign agents who were caught and subsequently shot in the Tower for espionage can now be told. In these days when a mind-boggling array of equipment is available for the assimilation and transmission of supposedly secret information their antics strike one as little short of farcical, but for their efforts, inspired, it seems, more often by greed than patriotism, these men paid the ultimate price and paid it in the most historic site in Britain.
Whether they deserved their fate, or indeed the niche in history which this book gives them, is for the reader to decide. What cannot be denied is that their collected histories make remarkable reading.