YACHTSMEN NOT SPIES.
THE GERMAN BLUNDER
The five English yachtsmen who were arrested by the German authorities at Eegemforde, at the beginning'of August, on suspicion of being spies, were released, after spending five days in prison. Their yacht and property were restored to them intact.
The story of the manner in which the German .Government were, convinced that a mistake had been mad© in arresting the Englishmen is a remarkable one. Mr W. R. Macdonald, one of the members of the yachting party, is the consulting engineer to the firm of Submersibies and J. L. .Motors, Ltd. He is the patentee of the submersible motors. The British Admiralty has already made use- of these motors, but has not taken any steps to secure the sole rights in the invention. The German Admiralty learnt of this fact, arid was anxious to secure a set of the motors for experimental purposes. German agents in London entered into negotiations with the firm, aftd the result was that Mr Macdonald was instructed to proceed to' Kiel for the purpose of demonstrating to the German naval _ experts the special working facilities and virtues which the motors possess. He decided to combine business with pleasure, and, making up. the yachting party, he- and his friends sailed to Kiel. He was to have proceeded with his business when he received word that the set of motor's had arrived in Germany. The arrest of the party at Kiel interfered with ,< his plans, however, and he found it most difficult to convince the German authorities of his identity. The fact that his appointment had been been fixed up in London and had been: dealt with by a Department of the German Admiralty only made the matter more difficult.
Finally, however,' the German Government was officially convinced that Mr MacdonaldVwas in Germany practically at the official invitation of a German Government Department, and the immediate release of the engineer and his friends followed as a matter of course.
... It is stated that nothing incriminating; was found in the photographs confiscated' by the authorities, and no evidence of any kind against them was found in their papers or during the preliminary examination. Everything that had been seized was returned to them. Immediately after their release they went to the British Consulate at Kiel, where they had a conference lasting three hours with Mr Sartori, the Vice-Consul. It was reported in Kiel that this conference was with a view to suing the German authorities for false imprisonment, but Mr Sartori denied this. Their release was quite unexpected, as it was thought that even if they had taken photographs innocently * they would be held for trial.
The five Englishmen left Kiel for Eckernforde to rejoin their yacht the Silver Crescent. "We were well treated,, and accorded every courtesy while: . under arrest," said- Mr Sheffield, "and we cannot complain on that score. The arrest may have been excusable, as in our ignorance we may have been in the vicinity of military works where photographing is prohibited. Certainly we had no intention of spying or of doing anything contrary to German law, and evidently the German authorities became convinced of this fact. We are glad to be free again."
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