HC Deb 20 April 1915 vol 71 cc154-5

asked the Under-Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that Julius Wurscher, an Austrian, of twenty-two years of age, who was charged before the Sheffield magistrates on 10th April, was found to be in possession of photographic apparatus and negatives of the Liverpool Docks, the Tower Bridge, and other places of military significance in London and elsewhere in England; whether he is aware that there was evidence that he is the son of an owner of steel works in Vienna, and that he came to this country ostensibly for the purpose of learning the English language; that on conviction he was sentenced to a fine of £100, with the alternative of six months' imprisonment; whether he can say if the fine has been paid; whether the military authorities were aware of the presence in this country of this alien enemy of military age; why he has not been arrested as a prisoner of war; and if, in view of the evidence found in his possession, the question has been considered whether Wurscher should be shot as a dangerous spy?


The facts are substantially as stated in the first part of the question. The fine has been paid, and Wurscher is now interned as a prisoner of War. The presence of Wurscher in this country was known, but after the case had been inquired into no reason was found for treating him otherwise than under the conditions of the Aliens' Restriction Regulations. The photographs in the possession of Wurscher were such as the public can readily buy, and it is considered that the penalty awarded, which was the maximum, adequately met the offence of possessing a camera.