Having just read your review of The Dream of the Celt by Mario Vargas Llosa (LR, June – I’m rather behind in my reading!), you may be interested in an incident that, I gather, is not included in the book.
My father was interned as a civilian British prisoner in Ruhleben camp, situated outside Berlin, for the duration of the First World War. The other inmates were mostly civilians, but there were a few British soldiers as well. During either 1914 or 1915 – I regret I cannot remember which year – Roger Casement visited the camp and tried to persuade the prisoners to fight for the Germans.
The majority of men treated this request with contempt, especially the soldiers, but a very few civilians did agree and departed with Casement. My father never discovered what happened to them, but was able to establish that they never featured on any list of prisoners who returned to Britain.
I have no idea whether this particular act was used as evidence against Casement at his trial, but it would be interesting to find out.
Yours faithfully, L P Birley London SW3
All this refers, no doubt, to Casement's attempt to raise an Irish Brigade.