Today in 1941, on August 15, German spy, Josef Jakobs was executed by firing squad at the Tower of London.
Josef and his Military Policemen guards left Wandsworth Prison at around 5:00 a.m. and arrived at the Tower at around 5:30 a.m. Josef was offered, and eventually accepted, a sedative to calm the nerves.
The execution took place in the miniature rifle range, now demolished. Josef was bound to a chair (as were all of the World War I spies) and a target was pinned to his chest. Major P.D.J. Waters commanded the eight-man firing squad. The execution was slated for 7:00 a.m. and the shots rang out at 7:12 a.m.
After the execution, Josef's body was taken to the mortuary under the Tower Bridge where it was examined by Sir Bernard Spilsbury and Eastern District Coroner W.R.H. Heddy.
The miniature rifle range was demolished in the 1960s and for many years, nothing served to mark the place where the World War I spies and Josef Jakobs met their end. Last year, Historic Royal Palaces erected a display along the East Walk to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Carl Hans Lody's execution in 1914. The display adds one more facet to the grisly history of the Tower of London.