German spy suspect was actually an insurance agent!

The headlines from 1914
The headlines from 1914

How the Free Press reported the Great War 100 years ago

One hundred years ago this week, a suspected German spy was spotted in Surfleet.

A middle aged man described at the time as “of unusual appearance and resembling a German” was seen walking along Station Road in the village around 11am on a Thursday morning.

The man was seen entering the yard of a Mr Tomlinson’s property and then appeared to be examining the place too.

Later, the same man was seen leaving the yard and walking in the direction of the station, where he stopped and took out some papers and then began to make some notes as he sat by the roadside.

Villagers from Surfleet soon raised the alarm and the policemen from Pinchbeck and from Gosberton were both fetched and hurried to the village. Two constables were said to be insufficient, so help was then wired from Donington.

Twelve residents were then seen on bikes, armed with one or two guns each, searching for the suspect.

The man was found at Surfleet Marsh where he was questioned and searched by the police. Luckily, it turned out that the man was actually an insurance agent from Spalding, and even knew the policeman from Pinchbeck.