75 years ago today, at 7.15am on 15 August 1941, Josef Jakobs was shot by firing squad.
He had the unfortunate distinction of being the last person to be executed at the Tower of London.
Jakobs’ story began sixÂ months earlier. On the morning of 1Â February farm workers walking in fields near Ramsey in Cambridgeshire heard three shots. These were soon followed by six further shots, which led to them finding a man lying in one of the nearby fields. It quickly became clear that the man had landed by parachute and was unable to move, having suffered a broken ankle.
The men soon called the Home Guard, who in turn called the police. It was evident from the absence of a crashed aeroplane, and the fact that the man was wearing civilian clothes, that this was not a usual case of a downed German pilot. As such the matter was quickly turned over to MI5.
Among the manâ€™s possessions were found a small radio for transmitting messages, a secret code wheel which he had torn into pieces, a number of forged documents including an ID card in the name of James Rymer, and the considerable sum of Â£498 in cash. Continue reading »