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Theodore William John Schurch
May 5, 1918(1918-05-05) – January 4, 1946 (aged 27)
Replace this image male.svg
Place of birth Queen Charlotte's Hospital, London, England, United Kingdom
Place of death HM Prison Pentonville, London, England, United Kingdom
Allegiance Germany, Italy, United Kingdom
Service/branch Royal Army Service Corps

Theodore William John Schurch (May 5, 1918 - January 4, 1946) was an Anglo-Swiss soldier who was the last person to be executed for an offence other than murder in Britain.

Schurch's father was Swiss but living in London when TWJ Schurch was born at Queen Charlotte's Hospital. During his late teens TWJ Schurch was a member of the British Union of Fascists. On July 8, 1936 he enlisted in the British Army as a Royal Army Service Corps driver.

In June 1942 Schurch was captured by the Germans in Tobruk and began a career working for both Italian and German intelligence. Often he would pose as a captured prisoner-of-war to gain the trust of fellow Allied prisoners, including Colonel Sir David Stirling, founder of the Special Air Service.

Schurch was arrested in Rome in March 1945 and tried by Major Melford Stevenson in a court martial convened at the Duke of York's Headquarters in Chelsea, London in September 1945. He was found guilty of all charges against him, nine counts of treachery under section one of the Treachery Act 1940 and one of desertion. He was defended by Alexander Brands.

Theodore Schurch was hanged on January 4, 1946 at the age of 27. His hanging took place at HM Prison Pentonville, and was conducted by Albert Pierrepoint. Schurch was the only British soldier executed for treachery in the Second World War.

The traitors William Joyce (Lord Haw-Haw) and John Amery were executed for the ancient crime of treason rather than the offence of treachery introduced in 1940.

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Theodore William John Schurch
May 5, 1918(1918-05-05) – January 4, 1946 (aged 27)
Place of birth London, England, United Kingdom
Place of death HM Prison Pentonville, London, England, United Kingdom
Allegiance Germany, Italy, United Kingdom
Service/branch Royal Army Service Corps
Years of service 1936 - 1942
Unit Royal Army Service Corps
Battles/wars Tobruk

Theodore William John Schurch (May 5, 1918 - January 4, 1946) was an Anglo-Swiss soldier who was executed for treachery following the end of the Second World War. He was the last person to be executed in Britain for an offence other than murder.

Early life

Schurch was born at Queen Charlotte's Hospital, London while his Swiss father was living in England. During his late teens Schurch was a member of the British Union of Fascists.

On July 8, 1936 he enlisted in the British Army as a Royal Army Service Corps driver.

Betrayal

In June 1942 Schurch was captured by the Afrika Korps at Tobruk during the war in North Africa. Shortly afterwards he began working for both Italian and German intelligence. Often he would pose as a captured prisoner-of-war to gain the trust of fellow Allied prisoners, including Colonel Sir David Stirling, founder of the Special Air Service.

Trial and execution

Schurch was arrested in Rome in March 1945 and tried by Major Melford Stevenson in a court martial convened at the Duke of York's Headquarters in Chelsea, London in September 1945. He was found guilty of all charges against him, nine counts of treachery under section one of the Treachery Act 1940 and one of desertion. He was defended by Alexander Brands.

Theodore Schurch was hanged at HM Prison Pentonville on January 4, 1946 at the age of 27. His execution was conducted by Albert Pierrepoint. Schurch was the only British soldier executed for treachery in World War II.

William Joyce (Lord Haw-Haw) and John Amery were executed as traitors under the historic crime of treason. This differed from the offences covered under the 1940 Treachery Act. Its powers were suspended 1946 and abolished completely 1973.


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