Willem Johannes Roos was born in 1882 in the Netherlands. Before becoming a merchant seaman he served in the Royal Netherlands Navy. In 1913 he had been hospitalised in a mental institution. But before that, in 1909, he had been incarcerated in prison for a hitherto unknown crime. Early 1915 he was unemployed and recruited as a spy by the German naval intelligence service N.

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dbo:abstract
  • Willem Johannes Roos was born in 1882 in the Netherlands. Before becoming a merchant seaman he served in the Royal Netherlands Navy. In 1913 he had been hospitalised in a mental institution. But before that, in 1909, he had been incarcerated in prison for a hitherto unknown crime. Early 1915 he was unemployed and recruited as a spy by the German naval intelligence service N. Roos arrived in England at Tilbury Docks on the Batavier Line on 14 May. From there he travelled up the east coast to Newcastle and the Scottish ports of Leith, Aberdeen and Inverness. When he wired Dierks & Co. from Edinburgh on 17, 18 and 25 May, orders were issued for his arrest. By then Dierks & co. was known to MI5 to be a German front company. Upon his return to London, Roos was arrested on 2 June. He claimed to be a travelling cigar salesman. Apart from documents from his employer Dierks & Co., he carried a price list from a cigar manufacturer in Rotterdam and a copy of Pearson’s Magazine containing an illustrated article on British warships, on which he had made some notes on ship names. Furthermore, Roos had a letter from a Haicke Janssen sent from Hull. Although he had gone to some length to pretend to be a cigar salesman, he had not made any attempt to actually sell cigars during his travels. Haicke Janssen had earlier been arrested on suspicion of espionage for Germany. During his interrogation by Scotland Yard Superintendent Basil Thomson, Roos admitted knowing Janssen quite well. After his interrogation Roos was brought back to his cell. He suddenly smashed a glass door and tried to cut open his wrists on the sharp shards. He was taken to Westminster Hospital and put under suicide surveillance in Brixton Prison. At the court martial in Westminster's Middlesex Guild Hall on 17 July, it was proven he did know nothing of the cigar trade and had gathered and sent naval intelligence to a known German spy address. Janssen had stood trial the day before and both men admitted the charges brought against them. The court martial sentenced Willem Roos and Haicke Janssen to death. On the early morning of 30 July 1915, Janssen and Roos were executed in the Tower of London by a firing squad of the Scots Guards. Janssen was first at 6 a.m. Roos was shot ten minutes later after finishing a last cigarette. (en)
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  • 1882-0-0
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  • 1915-7-30
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  • 1882 (xsd:integer)
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dbp:deathDate
  • 1915-07-30 (xsd:date)
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  • Willem Johannes Roos
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rdfs:comment
  • Willem Johannes Roos was born in 1882 in the Netherlands. Before becoming a merchant seaman he served in the Royal Netherlands Navy. In 1913 he had been hospitalised in a mental institution. But before that, in 1909, he had been incarcerated in prison for a hitherto unknown crime. Early 1915 he was unemployed and recruited as a spy by the German naval intelligence service N. (en)
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  • Willem Roos (en)
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  • male (en)
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  • Willem (en)
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  • Willem Roos (en)
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  • Roos (en)
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