17 September 1915 – Augusto Roggen

Augusto Roggen

Augusto Roggen

Augusto Alfredo Roggen was executed in the Tower of London during the 1914–18 First World War.

Roggen (or maybe Roggin), originally from Montevideo in Uruguay, was accused of spying for the Germans. And the Brits were onto him.

Virtually as soon as he’d arrived in England he was banged up – after docking in May 1915, he’d found himself flung into the Tower by June.

Roggen trading

Having sent mail to an address in Rotterdam that was already known to the secret police, Roggen had inadvertently stirred their suspicions. But more evidence was needed.

So, he was allowed to enter Britain where he proceeded to Scotland to carry out a series of odd activities, all under the covert watch of the secret police. None of these activities amounted to anything, yet he was soon captured with incriminating weapons, invisible ink and the like.

The suspect was hauled in and faced trial for espionage, for which he was found guilty.

As expected, Uruguay naturally jumped to his defence asking for him to be reprieved, but to no avail.

Staunchly refusing to wear a blindfold, Roggen faced a firing squad within the walls of the Tower on this day in 1915 as the war raged, aged around 34.

According to records from the War Office, Roggen was one of 11 foreign nationals shot at the Tower during World War I on charges under the 1914 Defence of the Realm Act.

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