Between the beginning of the First World War in the summer of 1914 and the armistice in 1918, 51 men were executed in Britain. The great majority, over 80%, were hanged for murder, but in addition to this, 11 men were shot by firing squad at the Tower of London. One traitor and one spy were also hanged. Traitors, Spies and Killers tells the story of the most interesting and noteworthy of these executions and the crimes which led up to them. Most books about true crime focus upon the crimes themselves and the trials which followed them. In this book, Simon Webb explores in detail the fates of the condemned men, examining what happened to them after their trials and the circumstances of the executions. This makes occasionally for harrowing reading. Trends in murder are also examined. For instance, a third of those executed for murder during the First World War had used cut-throat razors to dispose of their victims; a type of crime unheard of today. Others used pokers and axes, which are also exceedingly uncommon murder weapons in the twenty first century. This is a book which will fascinate and horrify those with an interest in crime and the death penalty.
FIRST WORLD WAR TRIALS AND EXECUTIONS Britain’s Traitors, Spies and Killers 1914-1918
Investigates all those the state put to death for various reasons and gives a short picture of the reason why and how they were executed. What Webb does tell us that during World War 1 the number of executions fell, and that in all a total of 51 men were executed in England. The book neatly brings those with similar crimes together in one chapter, so those that used cut-throat razors for example, seven men, told who they were, who the crime is committed against and where their execution was carried out. There are also short chapters about the Executioners which is rather interesting. For those of a gorier bent there is also a chapter on The Mechanics of Hanging.