Bertrand Stewart

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Bertrand Stewart
Captain Bertrand STEWART portrait photograph taken c1905. He is dressed in his British Army uniform
Born December 1872
38 Eaton Place London, England
Died 12 September 1914(1914-09-12) (aged 41)
Near the River Vesle Battle of the Marne
Buried Braisne Communal Cemetery A3
Allegiance United Kingdom
Rank Captain
Commands held Queen's Own West Kent Yeomanry
Battles/wars
Awards Queen's South Africa Medal
Spouse(s) Amy Daphne, daughter of Lt.-Colonel George Kendall Priaulx
Other work Spy, solicitor

Bertrand Stewart (December 1872 – 18 September 1914) worked as a solicitor in London and was also a military officer in the Queen's Own West Kent Yeomanry, he fought in the Second Boer War and World War I. In between the two wars he volunteered to spy on German naval actions. He was famously arrested in Germany on 2 August 1911 and sentenced to four years in prison. Stewart and another British spy, Captain Trench, were pardoned and released by the German Kaiser as a present to Ernest Augustus the Duke of Brunswick when Augustus married the Kaiser's daughter, Princess Victoria Louise of Prussia.[1] He died fighting off a German attack near the River Vesle during the Battle of the Marne.[2]

Early life[edit]

Stewart went to school at Eton (Durnford’s House). He then went up to Christ Church, Oxford, leaving in 1892. He was admitted as a solicitor in 1897 and joined the firm of Markby, Stewart & Co., of Coleman Street, London.[3]

Military career and spy craft[edit]

When the Boer War started Bertrand joined the West Kent as a Private. He fought in British operations at Cape Colony, Orange River Colony, and the Transvaal.[3] In 1906 he became an officer in the Queen's Own West Kent Yeomanry.

In 1911 Stewart volunteered to spy on Germany while pretending to be a tourist. He was arrested after receiving a code book from a turned German double agent. Stewart had accomplices but he was the only one arrested in Bremen. At the time he was trying to gain information about the defenses of the East Frisian islands and Weser estuary.[4] Stewart was tried by the Supreme Court of the Empire at Leipzig on 31 January 1912. After four days he was found guilty and sentenced to three and a half years in the Glatz Fortress.[1]

Stewart and another British spy, Captain Trench, were pardoned and released by the German Kaiser as a present to Ernest Augustus the Duke of Brunswick when Augustus married the Kaiser's daughter, Princess Victoria Louise of Prussia.[1] (They married on 24 May 1913). Stewart was annoyed at his capture and sued the UK government for £12,500 for damage to his health. Some consider Stewart to have been a fantasist.[5]

When the Great War started he was quickly given a position in the Intelligence Department on the Staff of Major General Allenby. During the Battle of the Marne in the opening months of the war his unit was facing fierce German attacks and he grabbed a rifle and went to help the men at the front lines. He was found dead by future author and member of the same unit Frederick Coleman near the River Vesle.[2]

Notes[edit]

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Emmerson 2013, p. 13
  2. ^ a b The New Zealand Herald 1914, p. 7
  3. ^ a b Christ Church, Oxford 2014
  4. ^ Reader 1991, p. 70
  5. ^ Bertrand Stewart Archived 2012-06-24 at the Wayback Machine., Christ Church, Oxford University, retrieved 23 September 2014

Bibliography[edit]