Prescription for last prisoner executed at the Tower of London forms part of successful Royal Armouries’ auction bid - Thursday, 22 October 2009
Britain’s oldest museum has bought four fascinating new exhibits – including sedative prescriptions made out to the last prisoner executed at the Tower of London and also to Hitler’s deputy Rudolph Hess.
The Royal Armouries (RA) – which operates one of its museums from the White Tower – purchased the Second World War items for £750 at auction on Tuesday (October 20).
Pharmacist Harold A Rowe dispensed the medicine for both Hess and German spy Josef Jakobs.
Jakobs’ prescription was for sodium amytal, and another substance* and was issued on Army stationery, stamped August 14, 1941. He took the drugs before being executed by firing squad at the Tower of London the next day (August 15). The Royal Armouries also purchased a newspaper cutting, revealing “wartime secrets” at the Tower.
Bridget Clifford, the RA’s Keeper of Collections (South) at the Tower, said, “These are exciting and significant additions to the Royal Armouries’ extensive collections. Jakobs’ prescription is perhaps the most interesting for us as he was the last prisoner to be executed here. We have the chair, in which he was shot, and it’s currently on display in Leeds but will return here in the Spring.“
The second prescription was issued to Hess, who was held at the Tower from May 17 to 20, 1941, after he parachuted into Scotland on an apparent peace mission. Unfortunately, the prescription is not dated but is signed by both RW Taylor, of the Royal Army Medical Corps, the prescribing officer, and H A Rowe the dispenser. Hess was later transferred to Surrey and was later held in Spandau Jail, after being sentenced to life imprisonment for war crimes at Nuremberg.
The auction lot, which also included the service book of Mr Rowe, was handled by Plymouth auctioneers, Eldreds.
- The writing on the prescription is hard to decipher but is believed to be Leptandrinae Comp. Tablets, generally prescribed for dyspepsia or fever.
Catherine Kelly/Joss Loader
Primary PR Ltd.
01903 783832 / 07704 130226 / 07838 379599
Notes to editors
- Images can be previewed by clicking on them. Full size images can be seen by right clicking on selected image and selecting “view image”.
- They may be published but the Royal Armouries logo must be displayed and credit line must include © Board of Trustees of Armouries.
- Royal Armouries is the national museum of arms and armour and has sites in Leeds, HM Tower of London, Fort Nelson and Louisville, Kentucky. It also the Keeper of Tower of London history and the first British national museum to open a permanent presence in another country.
- Admission to the museum is free. However, there may be a small charge for some special events.
- Open all year daily, 10am-5pm. Closed 24-26 December
- Ticket booking Line: 0113 220 1985
- Website: www.royalarmouries.org
- The Royal Armouries Museum should not be confused with Royal Armouries International plc, the private sector corporate hospitality business.