Carl Lody, a German ex-officer, was recently tried in London by court-martial and shot for “war treason”—that is, for sending information regarding our Navy to Germany during hostilities. ("War treason” is secret work outside the zone of war operations. When carried on within the zone of operations it is called spying or “espionage.”) Carl Lody’s moves were watched and his correspondence opened by the counter-spy police in London, and thus all his investigations and information were known to the War Office long before he was arrested.
The enormous sums paid by Germany for many years past have brought about a sort of international spy exchange, generally formed of American-Germans, with their headquarters in Belgium, and good prices were given for information acquired by them. For instance, if the plans of a new fort, or the dimensions of a new ship, or the power of a new gun were needed, one merely had to apply and state a price to this bureau to receive fairly good information on the subject before much time had elapsed.
At the same time, by pretending to be an American, one was able to get a good deal of minor and useful information without the expenditure of a cent.
On getting into touch with these gentry, I was informed of one of the intended plans by which the Germans proposed to invade our country, and incidentally it throws some light on their present methods of dealing with the inhabitants as apart from the actual tactical movements of the troops.
The German idea then—some six years ago—was that they could, by means of mines and submarines, at any time block the traffic in the British Channel in the space of a few hours, thus holding our home fleets in their stations at Spithead and Portland.
With the Straits of Dover so blocked, they could then rush a fleet of transports across the North Sea from Germany, to the East Coast of England, either East Anglia or, as in this plan, in Yorkshire. They had in Germany nine embarking stations, with piers and platforms, all ready made, and steel lighters for disembarkation purposes or for actual traversing of the ocean in case of fine weather.
They had taken the average of the weather for years past, and had come to the conclusion that July 13th is, on an average, the finest day in the year; but their attempt would be timed, if possible, to fall on a Bank Holiday when communications were temporarily disorganised. Therefore the nearest Bank Holiday to July 13th would probably be that at the beginning of August; it was a coincidence that the present war broke out on that day.
The spies stationed in England were to cut all telephone and telegraph wires, and, where possible, to blow down important bridges and tunnels, and thus to interrupt communications and create confusion.
Their idea of landing on the coast of Yorkshire was based on the following reasons:—