German spies who were caught in the UK during World War One were dealt with under various sections of the Defence of the Realm legislation.The condemned spies were shot by firing squad either in the old miniature rifle range in The Tower of London or The Tower's ditch. The rifle range was demolished for office space in 1969, and later converted into car-parking space. All the executed spies were buried in East London Cemetery, in Plaistow, East London.Augusto Alfredo Roggen's father was a German who had become a Uruguayan citizen in 1885.Roggen sailed from Rotterdam on the Batavia, arriving at Tilbury Docks on 30 May 1915. After disembarking from the ship, Roggen told the Aliens' Officer that he intended to travel to Scotland. Roggen was allowed to proceed, arriving in Edinburgh on 5 June 1915.
After arriving at the hotel, he stated on the hotel registration that he was a farmer, and that he was interested in agricultural vehicles. Roggen had visited some agricultural companies in London, but they were suspicious about his apparent lack of references or even knowledge of the horses that he was attempting to buy. Later the next day, Roggen got into conversation with the Hotel Manager's wife asking about going around the Trossachs and the availability of local hotels. He also expressed a keenness about fishing, although he had no fishing equipment with him.
Before leaving Edinburgh, Roggen sent two postcards to Holland. They were both intercepted, as they had been sent to addresses familiar to the British Security Services. They were copied and then allowed to carry on their postal journey.
On 9 June 1915, Roggen booked into the Tarbet at Loch Lomond. He purchased a map of Loch Lomond and the head of Loch Long, which is part of the Firth of Clyde. Loch Long was significant as it was a restricted area, and fishing was banned. It had previously been used for testing torpedoes.
By this time, British Security Service had become concerned, and so later on 9 June 1915 Roggen was arrested at his new hotel by Superintendent John Wright. Roggen was taken to London, where he and his luggage were handed over to Inspector Edmund Buckley (Special Branch). Roggen was found to be possession of a Browning revolver with 50 rounds of ammunition, together with fluids used for writing invisible messages. He was also unable or unwilling to explain the postcards sent to known enemy espionage addresses.
Roggen was tried by court-martial at Middlesex Guildhall, Westminster, on 20 August 1915, before the president Major-General Lord Cheysmore. He gave no evidence and made no statement. He was found guilty and sentenced to death by shooting. Roggen's original execution was postponed, as the Uruguayan Ambassador sent a note to the War Office. However, it was felt that there was nothing in the note, which could change the sentence.
Roggen was shot by a firing squad composed of members of 3rd Battalion, Scot Guards. The execution took place at 6am on 17 September 1915. It was observed that Roggen faced death as a brave man, marching to the chair with a defiant air, refusing to have his eyes blindfolded.
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