"Many suspected Germans arrested as spies": South Shields and Sunderland Pastors
Transcript of Illustrated Chronicle article
German subjects, alleged to be spies acting for the enemy, are being arrested all over the country.
At South Shields police court, yesterday, Friedrich Wilhelm Singer, aged 45, a German pastor, of South View Terrace, was charged with having on Thursday unlawfully attempted to obtain information which was calculated to be useful to an enemy.
Chief-Constable Scott said that as it would be necessary to communicate with the Attorney-General for instructions, he asked the magistrates to remand accused for eight days. Accused was a German subject, and for some time had been pastor at the German Sailors’ Home, South Shields.
Accused: I really do not know why I am here. I really do not know.
Detective-Inspector Bruce said that the accused was taken to the Police Station on Thursday, by the military authorities, having been found at the railway station. At that time there was an escort at the station awaiting the arrival of some soldiers, and the allegation was that the accused had been endeavouring to obtain information.
Witness found a small pocket-book (produced) in accused’s possession. The writing in it was in English. There were other papers found in his office, but these had not yet been translated. Witness added that accused had been to Germany, and returned to South Shields on Wednesday night, which was earlier than anticipated. He had a return ticket to Germany.
Accused was shown the book which was found in his possession, and he remarked “These are notes that I took out of a paper about a year ago.”
The Clerk: Why were you interested in it?
-I think everybody was.
Lieutenant Lambert detailed a conversation between himself and the accused, in which the latter said he was looking after the luggage of eight men who are now under arrest, and also that he was a married man living at Shields.
Accused said he did not go to the station on his own account. He was told that there were bags, lying at the station, and was asked what had to be done with them. He was perfectly sure that he did not tell the officer he was a married man.
The Clerk: Witness is sure that you did.
Accused: What reason could I have for saying such a thing?
Lieutenant Lambert: You said you were a married man, and afterwards stated that you were in lodgings with a Mrs Jones. You then contradicted yourself, and told me that you did not know where Mrs Jones was.
Accused: No, because I have been on holiday.
Sunderland Pastor Arrested
Accused said that he spoke to the assistant station-master and asked him about telephoning for him, and he sent to him to the station-master. He did not speak to anybody else in the station.
Accused was remanded for eight days, bail being allowed, himself at £50 and two sureties of £25 each.
The Chairman said that it must be clearly understood that accused’s place of residence would have to be found by the Chief Constable and would have to be to his entire satisfaction.
Mr Paul Herzog, the Sunderland German pastor, who went to South Shields yesterday in connection with the case, was placed under arrest by the military.
Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums online display about Germans in Tyneside:
Contributed by Durham at War Team