Soldier, Game Hunter, Spy and Saboteur…
Fritz Joubert Duquesne fought for the Boers in the second Boer War. He was captured by the British three times and once by the Portuguese. On all occasions he managed to escape but this was only the beginning.
He then led a team in an attempt to assassinate Lord Kitchener but was betrayed by one of the team members wives and the team was captured in Cape Town, then sentenced to death. The 20 men in the team were shot but Fritz made a plea bargain and had his sentence reduced to life in prison. Having bought himself some time he made yet another attempt to escape but this time with no success. Soon after this incident he was shipped to Bermuda along with other Boer prisoners from there he did manage to escape. He reached the United States where he later obtained American citizenship.
The first world war started and he found himself spying for Germany and was credited with sabotaging British Merchant vessels leaving South america. His somewhat opportunistic nature revealed in owning cargo on some of them and claiming the insurance after the vessel was lost.
In 1917 he was captured by federal agents in New York, feigned paralysis for 2 years and then escaped disguising himself as a woman and cutting through his cell bars, only to be captured again in 1932. This time he was released as Britain did not want to press charges for his wartime crimes.
During he Second World War Fritz was captured yet again, along with 32 members of his spy ring that had been infiltrated by a FBI agent in 1941. He had apparently risen to the rank of Colonel in the German army and had been awarded the Iron Cross. There are some unsubstantiated claims that he helped a German U boat to sink the HMS Hampshire with Lord Kitchener on board.
Did Fritz Joubert Duequesne eventually get his man?
Fritz died at the age of 78 in New York having lived a full and event filled life taking the answer to the grave.