Sir William Samuel Stephenson (23 January 1897 – 31 January 1989), born William Samuel Clouston Stanger, was a Canadian soldier,
A fighter pilot is a military aviator trained to engage in air-to-air combat, air-to-ground combat and sometimes electronic warfare while in the cockpit of a fighter aircraft. Fighter pilots undergo specialized training in aerial warfare and d ...
, businessman and
A spymaster is the person that leads a spy ring, or a secret service (such as an intelligence agency).
*List of American spies
This is a list of spies who engaged in direct espionage. It includes Americans ...
who served as the senior representative of the British Security Coordination
(BSC) for the western allies
World War II
World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a world war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved the World War II by country, vast majority of the world's countries—including all of the great power ...
. He is best known by his wartime intelligence codename, Intrepid. Many people consider him to be one of the real-life
inspirations for James Bond
A number of real-life inspirations have been suggested for James Bond, the fictional character created in 1953 by British author, journalist and Naval Intelligence officer Ian Fleming (1908 – 1964); Bond appeared in twelve novels and nine shor ...
. Ian Fleming
himself once wrote, "James Bond is a highly romanticised version of a true spy. The real thing is... William Stephenson."
As head of the British Security Coordination
(BSC), Stephenson handed British scientific secrets over to Franklin D. Roosevelt
and relayed American secrets back to
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill (30 November 187424 January 1965) was a British statesman, soldier, and writer who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom twice, from 1940 to 1945 during the Second World War, and again from ...
[ In addition, Stephenson has been credited with changing American public opinion from an isolationist stance to a supportive tendency regarding the United States' entry into ] World War II
World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a world war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved the World War II by country, vast majority of the world's countries—including all of the great power ....
Stephenson was born William Samuel Clouston Stanger on 23 January 1897, in Point Douglas, Winnipeg, Manitoba. His mother was Icelandic, and his father was Scottish from the
Orkney (; sco, Orkney; on, Orkneyjar; nrn, Orknøjar), also known as the Orkney Islands, is an archipelago in the Northern Isles of Scotland, situated off the north coast of the island of Great Britain. Orkney is 10 miles (16 km) nor .... He was adopted early by an Icelandic family after his parents could no longer care for him, and given his foster parents' name, ''Stephenson''.
He left school at a young age and worked as a telegrapher. In January 1916, during World War I
World War I (28 July 1914 11 November 1918), often abbreviated as WWI, was List of wars and anthropogenic disasters by death toll, one of the deadliest global conflicts in history. Belligerents included much of Europe, the Russian Empire, ..., he volunteered for service in the 101st Overseas Battalion (Winnipeg Light Infantry), Canadian Expeditionary Force
The Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) was the expeditionary warfare, expeditionary field force of Canada during the First World War. It was formed following United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, Britain’s declaration of war on German Em .... He left for England on RMS ''Olympic'' on 29 June 1916, arriving on 6 July 1916. The 101st Battalion was broken up in England, and he was transferred to the 17th Reserve Battalion in East Sandling, Kent. On 17 July he was transferred to the Canadian Engineer Training Depot. He was attached to the Sub Staff, Canadian Training Depot Headquarters, in Shorncliffe, and was promoted to Sergeant (with pay of Clerk) in May 1917. In June 1917 he was "on command" to the Cadet Wing of the Royal Flying Corps
"Through Adversity to the Stars"
, colors =
, colours_label =
, march =
, mascot =
, anniversaries =
, decorations ... at Denham Barracks, Buckinghamshire
Buckinghamshire (), abbreviated Bucks, is a ceremonial county in South East England that borders Greater London to the south-east, Berkshire to the south, Oxfordshire to the west, Northamptonshire to the north, Bedfordshire to the north-east ....
On 15 August 1917, Stephenson was officially struck off the strength of the Canadian Expeditionary Force and granted a commission in the Royal Flying Corps. Posted to 73 Squadron on 9 February 1918, he flew the Sopwith Camel biplane
A biplane is a fixed-wing aircraft with two main wings stacked one above the other. The first powered, controlled aeroplane to fly, the Wright Flyer, used a biplane wing arrangement, as did many aircraft in the early years of aviation. While a ... fighter and scored 12 victories to become a flying ace
A flying ace, fighter ace or air ace is a military aviator credited with shooting down five or more enemy aircraft during aerial combat. The exact number of aerial victories required to officially qualify as an ace is varied, but is usually co ... before he was shot down and crashed his plane behind enemy lines on 28 July 1918. During the incident Stephenson was injured by fire from a German ace pilot, Justus Grassmann, by friendly fire
In military terminology, friendly fire or fratricide is an attack by belligerent or neutral forces on friendly troops while attempting to attack enemy/hostile targets. Examples include misidentifying the target as hostile, cross-fire while e ... (according to a French observer), [
] or by both. In any event he was subsequently captured by the Germans and held as a prisoner of war
A prisoner of war (POW) is a person who is held captive by a belligerent power during or immediately after an armed conflict. The earliest recorded usage of the phrase "prisoner of war" dates back to 1610.
Belligerents hold prisoners of wa ... until escaping in October 1918. His RAF Service file indicates that he was repatriated from the Holzminden prisoner-of-war camp on 9 December 1918.
By the end of World War I
World War I (28 July 1914 11 November 1918), often abbreviated as WWI, was List of wars and anthropogenic disasters by death toll, one of the deadliest global conflicts in history. Belligerents included much of Europe, the Russian Empire, ..., Stephenson had achieved the rank of Captain and earned the Military Cross
The Military Cross (MC) is the third-level (second-level pre-1993) military decoration awarded to officers and (since 1993) other ranks of the British Armed Forces, and formerly awarded to officers of other Commonwealth countries.
The MC is ... and the Distinguished Flying Cross. His medal citations perhaps foreshadow his later achievements, and read:
World War I
World War I (28 July 1914 11 November 1918), often abbreviated as WWI, was List of wars and anthropogenic disasters by death toll, one of the deadliest global conflicts in history. Belligerents included much of Europe, the Russian Empire, ..., Stephenson returned to Manitoba
, image_map = Manitoba in Canada 2.svg
, map_alt = Map showing Manitoba's location in the centre of Southern Canada
, Label_map = yes
, coordinates =
, capital = Winn ... and with a friend, Wilf Russell, started a hardware business, inspired largely by a can opener that Stephenson had taken from his POW camp
A prisoner-of-war camp (often abbreviated as POW camp) is a site for the containment of enemy fighters captured by a belligerent power in time of war.
There are significant differences among POW camps, internment camps, and military prisons .... The business was unsuccessful, and he left Canada for England. In England, Stephenson soon became wealthy, with business contacts in many countries. In 1924 he married American tobacco heiress Mary French Simmons, of Springfield, Tennessee
Springfield is a city in and the county seat of Robertson County, which is located in Middle Tennessee on the northern border of the state. As of the 2020 census, the city's population was 18,782.
Springfield is located at (36.499508, .... That same year, Stephenson and George W. Walton patented a system for transmitting photographic images via wireless that produced £100,000 a year in royalties for the 18-year run of the patent (about $12 million per annum adjusted for inflation in 2010). In addition to his patent royalties, Stephenson swiftly diversified into several lucrative industries: radio manufacturing (General Radio Company Limited); aircraft manufacturing ( General Aircraft Limited); Pressed Steel Company that manufactured car bodies for the British motor industry; construction and cement as well as Shepperton Studios
Shepperton Studios is a film studio located in Shepperton, Surrey, England, with a history dating back to 1931. It is now part of the Pinewood Studios Group. During its early existence, the studio was branded as Sound City (not to be confused ... and Earls Court
Earl's Court is a district of Kensington in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in West London, bordering the rail tracks of the West London line and District line that separate it from the ancient borough of Fulham to the west, th .... Stephenson had a broad base of industrial contacts in Europe, Britain and North America as well as a large group of contacts in the international film industry. Shepperton Studios were the largest film studios in the world outside of Hollywood.
As early as April 1936, Stephenson was voluntarily providing confidential information to British MP Winston Churchill
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill (30 November 187424 January 1965) was a British statesman, soldier, and writer who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom twice, from 1940 to 1945 during the Second World War, and again from ... about how Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler (; 20 April 188930 April 1945) was an Austrian-born German politician who was dictator of Germany from 1933 until his death in 1945. He rose to power as the leader of the Nazi Party, becoming the chancellor in 1933 and then ...'s Nazi
Nazism ( ; german: Nazismus), the common name in English for National Socialism (german: Nationalsozialismus, ), is the far-right totalitarian political ideology and practices associated with Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party (NSDAP) in N ... government was building up its armed forces and hiding military expenditures of £800,000,000. This was a clear violation of the terms of the Treaty of Versailles
The Treaty of Versailles (french: Traité de Versailles; german: Versailler Vertrag, ) was the most important of the peace treaties of World War I. It ended the state of war between Germany and the Allied Powers. It was signed on 28 June ... and showed the growing Nazi
Nazism ( ; german: Nazismus), the common name in English for National Socialism (german: Nationalsozialismus, ), is the far-right totalitarian political ideology and practices associated with Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party (NSDAP) in N ... threat to European and international security. Churchill used Stephenson's information in Parliament
In modern politics, and history, a parliament is a legislative body of government. Generally, a modern parliament has three functions: representing the electorate, making laws, and overseeing the government via hearings and inquiries. T ... to warn against the appeasement
Appeasement in an international context is a diplomatic policy of making political, material, or territorial concessions to an aggressive power in order to avoid conflict. The term is most often applied to the foreign policy of the UK governm ... policies of the government of Neville Chamberlain
Arthur Neville Chamberlain (; 18 March 18699 November 1940) was a British politician of the Conservative Party who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from May 1937 to May 1940. He is best known for his foreign policy of appeaseme .... [
World War II
World War II
World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a world war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved the World War II by country, vast majority of the world's countries—including all of the great power ... began (and over the objections of Sir Stewart Menzies, wartime head of British intelligence
The Government of the United Kingdom maintains intelligence agencies within three government departments, the Foreign Office, the Home Office and the Ministry of Defence. These agencies are responsible for collecting and analysing foreign and d ...) now-Prime Minister Winston Churchill
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill (30 November 187424 January 1965) was a British statesman, soldier, and writer who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom twice, from 1940 to 1945 during the Second World War, and again from ... sent Stephenson to the United States on 21 June 1940, to covertly establish and run British Security Coordination (BSC) in New York City, over a year before U.S. entry into the war.
The BSC was registered by the State Department as a foreign entity. It operated out of
Room 3603 at Rockefeller Center
Rockefeller Center is a large complex consisting of 19 commercial buildings covering between 48th Street and 51st Street in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. The 14 original Art Deco buildings, commissioned by the Rockefeller family, span t ... and was officially known as the British Passport Control Office from which it had expanded. BSC acted as the administrative headquarters more than the operational one for the Secret Intelligence Service
The Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), commonly known as MI6 ( Military Intelligence, Section 6), is the foreign intelligence service of the United Kingdom, tasked mainly with the covert overseas collection and analysis of human intelligen ... (MI6) and the Special Operations Executive
The Special Operations Executive (SOE) was a secret British World War II organisation. It was officially formed on 22 July 1940 under Minister of Economic Warfare Hugh Dalton, from the amalgamation of three existing secret organisations. Its p ... (SOE) and was a channel for communications and liaison between US and British security and intelligence organisations.
Stephenson's initial directives for BSC were to
#investigate enemy activities;
#institute security measures against sabotage to British property; and
#organize American public opinion in favour of aid to Britain.
Later this was expanded to include "the assurance of American participation in secret activities throughout the world in the closest possible collaboration with the British". Stephenson's official title was British Passport Control Officer. His unofficial mission was to create a secret British intelligence network throughout the western hemisphere, and to operate covertly and broadly on behalf of the British government and the Allies in aid of winning the war.
Stephenson was soon a close adviser to Roosevelt, and suggested that he put Stephenson's good friend William J. "Wild Bill" Donovan in charge of all U.S. intelligence services. Donovan founded the U.S. Office of Strategic Services
The Office of Strategic Services (OSS) was the intelligence agency of the United States during World War II. The OSS was formed as an agency of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) to coordinate espionage activities behind enemy lines for all branc ... (OSS), which in 1947 would become the Central Intelligence Agency
The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA ), known informally as the Agency and historically as the Company, is a civilian foreign intelligence service of the federal government of the United States, officially tasked with gathering, processing, ... (CIA). As senior representative of British intelligence in the western hemisphere
The Western Hemisphere is the half of the planet Earth that lies west of the prime meridian (which crosses Greenwich, London, United Kingdom) and east of the antimeridian. The other half is called the Eastern Hemisphere. Politically, the term W ..., Stephenson was one of the few persons in the hemisphere who were authorized to view raw Ultra
adopted by British military intelligence in June 1941 for wartime signals intelligence obtained by breaking high-level encrypted enemy radio and teleprinter communications at the Government Code and Cypher School (GC&CS) at Bletchley Park. ... transcripts of German Enigma ciphers that had been decrypt
In cryptography, encryption is the process of encoding information. This process converts the original representation of the information, known as plaintext, into an alternative form known as ciphertext. Ideally, only authorized parties can deci ...ed at Britain's Bletchley Park
Bletchley Park is an English country house and estate in Bletchley, Milton Keynes (Buckinghamshire) that became the principal centre of Allied code-breaking during the Second World War. The mansion was constructed during the years following 1 ... facility. He was trusted by Churchill to decide what Ultra information to pass along to various branches of the U.S. and Canadian governments.
While it was still neutral, agreement was made for all trans-Atlantic mails from the U.S. to be routed through the British colony of Bermuda
, anthem = " God Save the King"
, song_type = National song
, song = " Hail to Bermuda"
, image_map =
, map_caption =
, image_map2 =
, mapsize2 =
, map_caption2 =
, subdivision_type = Sovereign state
, subdivision_name =
, ..., 640 miles off the North Carolina
North Carolina () is a state in the Southeastern region of the United States. The state is the 28th largest and 9th-most populous of the United States. It is bordered by Virginia to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the east, Georgia and ... coast. Airmails carried by both British and American aircraft were landed at RAF Darrell's Island and delivered to 1,200 censors of ''British Imperial Censorship'', part of BSC, working in the Princess Hotel. All mail, radio and telegraphic traffic bound for Europe, the U.S. and the Far East were intercepted and analyzed by 1,200 censors, of ''British Imperial Censorship'', part of British Security Coordination (BSC), before being routed to their destination with no indication that they had been read. [ ] [BERNEWS]
, ''Bermuda's WWII Espionage Role''. , 11 November 2011
With BSC working closely with the FBI, the censors were responsible for the discovery and arrest of a number of Axis spies operating in the US, including the Joe K ring.
After the war, Stephenson lived at the Princess Hotel for a time before buying his own home in Bermuda.
Under Stephenson, BSC directly influenced U.S. media (including newspaper columns by Walter Winchell
Walter Winchell (April 7, 1897 – February 20, 1972) was a syndicated American newspaper gossip columnist and radio news commentator. Originally a vaudeville performer, Winchell began his newspaper career as a Broadway reporter, critic and c ... and Drew Pearson), and media in other hemisphere countries, toward pro-British and anti- Axis
An axis (plural ''axes'') is an imaginary line around which an object rotates or is symmetrical. Axis may also refer to:
* Axis of rotation: see rotation around a fixed axis
*Axis (mathematics), a designator for a Cartesian-coordinate ... views. Once the U.S. had entered the war in Dec. 1941, BSC went on to train U.S. propagandists from the United States Office of War Information
The United States Office of War Information (OWI) was a United States government agency created during World War II. The OWI operated from June 1942 until September 1945. Through radio broadcasts, newspapers, posters, photographs, films and other ... in Canada. BSC covert intelligence and propaganda efforts directly affected wartime developments in Brazil
Brazil ( pt, Brasil; ), officially the Federative Republic of Brazil (Portuguese: ), is the largest country in both South America and Latin America. At and with over 217 million people, Brazil is the world's fifth-largest country by area ..., Argentina
Argentina (), officially the Argentine Republic ( es, link=no, República Argentina), is a country in the southern half of South America. Argentina covers an area of , making it the second-largest country in South America after Brazil, ..., Colombia
Colombia (, ; ), officially the Republic of Colombia, is a country in South America with insular regions in North America—near Nicaragua's Caribbean coast—as well as in the Pacific Ocean. The Colombian mainland is bordered by the ..., Chile
Chile, officially the Republic of Chile, is a country in the western part of South America. It is the southernmost country in the world, and the closest to Antarctica, occupying a long and narrow strip of land between the Andes to the east ..., Venezuela
Venezuela (; ), officially the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela ( es, link=no, República Bolivariana de Venezuela), is a country on the northern coast of South America, consisting of a continental landmass and many islands and islets in th ..., Peru
, image_flag = Flag of Peru.svg
, image_coat = Escudo nacional del Perú.svg
, other_symbol = Great Seal of the State
, other_symbol_type = Seal (emblem), National seal
, national_motto = "Fi ..., Bolivia
, image_flag = Bandera de Bolivia (Estado).svg
, flag_alt = Horizontal tricolor (red, yellow, and green from top to bottom) with the coat of arms of Bolivia in the center
, flag_alt2 = 7 × 7 square p ..., Paraguay
Paraguay (; ), officially the Republic of Paraguay ( es, República del Paraguay, links=no; gn, Tavakuairetã Paraguái, links=si), is a landlocked country in South America. It is bordered by Argentina to the south and southwest, Brazil to t ..., Mexico
Mexico ( Spanish: México), officially the United Mexican States, is a country in the southern portion of North America. It is bordered to the north by the United States; to the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; to the southeast by Gua ..., the Central American countries, Bermuda
, anthem = " God Save the King"
, song_type = National song
, song = " Hail to Bermuda"
, image_map =
, map_caption =
, image_map2 =
, mapsize2 =
, map_caption2 =
, subdivision_type = Sovereign state
, subdivision_name =
, ..., Cuba
Cuba ( , ), officially the Republic of Cuba ( es, República de Cuba, links=no ), is an island country comprising the island of Cuba, as well as Isla de la Juventud and several minor archipelagos. Cuba is located where the northern Caribbea ... and Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico (; abbreviated PR; tnq, Boriken, ''Borinquen''), officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico ( es, link=yes, Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico, lit=Free Associated State of Puerto Rico), is a Caribbean island and unincorporated ....
Stephenson worked without salary.
He hired hundreds of people, mostly Canadian women, to staff his organization and covered much of the expense out of his own pocket. His employees included secretive communications genius Benjamin deForest "Pat" Bayly and future advertising wizard David Ogilvy. Stephenson employed Amy Elizabeth Thorpe, codenamed CYNTHIA, to seduce Vichy French
Vichy France (french: Régime de Vichy; 10 July 1940 – 9 August 1944), officially the French State ('), was the fascist French state headed by Marshal Philippe Pétain during World War II. Officially independent, but with half of its terr ... officials into giving up Enigma ciphers and secrets from their Washington embassy. At the height of the war Bayly, a University of Toronto
The University of Toronto (UToronto or U of T) is a public research university in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, located on the grounds that surround Queen's Park. It was founded by royal charter in 1827 as King's College, the first institution ... professor from Moose Jaw
Moose Jaw is the fourth largest city in Saskatchewan, Canada. Lying on the Moose Jaw River in the south-central part of the province, it is situated on the Trans-Canada Highway, west of Regina. Residents of Moose Jaw are known as Moose Javians ..., created the Rockex
Rockex, or Telekrypton, was an offline one-time tape Vernam cipher machine known to have been used by Britain and Canada from 1943. It was developed by Canadian electrical engineer Benjamin deForest Bayly, working during the war for British Se ..., the fast secure communications system that would eventually be relied on by all the Allies.
Not least of Stephenson's contributions to the war effort was the setting up by BSC of Camp X, the unofficial name of the secret Special Training School No. 103, a Second World War
World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a world war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved the vast majority of the world's countries—including all of the great powers—forming two opposing ... paramilitary installation for training covert agents in the methods required for success in clandestine operations. Located in Whitby, Ontario
Whitby is a town in Durham Region. Whitby is located in Southern Ontario east of Ajax and west of Oshawa, on the north shore of Lake Ontario and is home to the headquarters of Durham Region. It had a population of 138,501 at the 2021 census. It ..., this was the first such training school in North America. Estimates vary, but between 500 and 2,000 British, Canadian and American covert operators were trained there from 1941 to 1945. [, Office of Strategic Services Training During World War II , Dr. John Whiteclay Chambers II , June 2010](_blank)
Reports indicate that Camp X graduates worked as "secret agents, security personnel, intelligence officers, or psychological warfare experts, serving in clandestine operations. Many were captured, tortured, and executed; survivors received no individual recognition for their efforts."
Camp X graduates operated in Europe (Spain, Portugal, Italy and the Balkans) as well as in Africa, Australia, India and the Pacific. They may have included Ian Fleming (though there is evidence to the contrary), future author of the James Bond
The ''James Bond'' series focuses on a fictional Secret Intelligence Service, British Secret Service agent created in 1953 by writer Ian Fleming, who featured him in twelve novels and two short-story collections. Since Fleming's death in 19 ... books. It has been said that the fictional Goldfinger's raid on Fort Knox
Fort Knox is a United States Army installation in Kentucky, south of Louisville, Kentucky, Louisville and north of Elizabethtown, Kentucky, Elizabethtown. It is adjacent to the United States Bullion Depository, which is used to house a large po ... was inspired by a Stephenson plan (never carried out) to steal $2,883,000,000 in Vichy French
Vichy France (french: Régime de Vichy; 10 July 1940 – 9 August 1944), officially the French State ('), was the fascist French state headed by Marshal Philippe Pétain during World War II. Officially independent, but with half of its terr ... gold reserves from the French Caribbean colony of Martinique
Martinique ( , ; gcf, label= Martinican Creole, Matinik or ; Kalinago: or ) is an island and an overseas department/region and single territorial collectivity of France. An integral part of the French Republic, Martinique is located in t .... [
BSC purchased a ten-kilowatt transmitter from ] Philadelphia
Philadelphia, often called Philly, is the largest city in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the sixth-largest city in the U.S., the second-largest city in both the Northeast megalopolis and Mid-Atlantic regions after New York City. Since ... radio station WCAU and installed it at Camp X. By mid-1944, Hydra (as the Camp X transmitter was known) was transmitting 30,000 and receiving 9,000 message groups daily – much of the secret Allied intelligence traffic across the Atlantic.
For his extraordinary service to the war effort, he was made a
The title of Knight Bachelor is the basic rank granted to a man who has been knighted by the monarch but not inducted as a member of one of the organised orders of chivalry; it is a part of the British honours system. Knights Bachelor are t ... by King George VI
George VI (Albert Frederick Arthur George; 14 December 1895 – 6 February 1952) was King of the United Kingdom and the Dominions of the British Commonwealth from 11 December 1936 until his death in 1952. He was also the last Emperor of Ind ... in the 1945 New Year Honours. In recommending Stephenson for the knighthood, Winston Churchill
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill (30 November 187424 January 1965) was a British statesman, soldier, and writer who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom twice, from 1940 to 1945 during the Second World War, and again from ... wrote: "This one is dear to my heart."
In November 1946 Stephenson received the Medal for Merit
The Medal for Merit was, during the period it was awarded, the highest civilian decoration of the United States. It was awarded by the President of the United States to civilians who "distinguished themselves by exceptionally meritorious conduct i ... from President Harry S. Truman, at that time the highest U.S. civilian award. He was the first non-American to be so honoured. General "Wild Bill" Donovan presented the medal. The citation paid tribute to Stephenson's "valuable assistance to America in the fields of intelligence and special operations".
The "Quiet Canadian" was recognized by his native land late: he was made a Companion of the Order of Canada
The Order of Canada (french: Ordre du Canada; abbreviated as OC) is a Canadian state order and the second-highest honour for merit in the system of orders, decorations, and medals of Canada, after the Order of Merit.
To coincide with the c ... on 17 December 1979, and invested in the Order on 5 February 1980.
On 2 May 2000, CIA Executive Director David W. Carey, representing Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet and Deputy Director John A. Gordon, accepted from the Intrepid Society of Winnipeg, Manitoba, a bronze statuette of Stephenson. In his remarks, Carey said:
Sir William Stephenson played a key role in the creation of the CIA. He realized early on that America needed a strong intelligence organization and lobbied contacts close to President Roosevelt to appoint a U.S. "coordinator" to oversee FBI and military intelligence. He urged that the job be given to William J. "Wild Bill" Donovan, who had recently toured British defences and gained the confidence of Prime Minister Winston Churchill. Although Roosevelt didn't establish exactly what Sir William had in mind, the organization created represented a revolutionary step in the history of American intelligence. Donovan's Office of Strategic Services was the first "central" U.S. intelligence service. OSS worked closely with and learned from Sir William and other Canadian and British officials during the war. A little later, these OSS officers formed the core of the CIA. Intrepid may not have technically been the father of CIA, but he's certainly in our lineage someplace.
On 8 August 2008, Stephenson was recognized for his work by Major General John M. Custer, Commandant of the U.S. Army Intelligence Corps. Custer inducted him as an honorary member of the U.S. Army Intelligence Corps, an honour shared by only two other non-Americans.
In 1997, a new public library built in
Winnipeg () is the capital and largest city of the province of Manitoba in Canada. It is centred on the confluence of the Red and Assiniboine rivers, near the longitudinal centre of North America. , Winnipeg had a city population of 749 ... was named for him, after a vote was held to choose the name of the new library. Leo Mol donated a miniature of his statue of Stephenson to the library.
On 24 July 1999, The Princess Royal unveiled, in Stephenson's hometown of Winnipeg, Manitoba
Winnipeg () is the capital and largest city of the province of Manitoba in Canada. It is centred on the confluence of the Red and Assiniboine rivers, near the longitudinal centre of North America. , Winnipeg had a city population of 749,6 ..., near the Provincial Legislature on York Street, Leo Mol's life-sized bronze statue of Stephenson in military aviator uniform. The monument is dedicated to Stephenson's memory and achievements.
On 15 November 2009, Water Avenue in downtown Winnipeg was renamed William Stephenson Way.
Whitby is a town in Durham Region. Whitby is located in Southern Ontario east of Ajax and west of Oshawa, on the north shore of Lake Ontario and is home to the headquarters of Durham Region. It had a population of 138,501 at the 2021 census. It ... has a street named for Stephenson. It connects with streets named Intrepid and Overlord. The town is also home to Sir William Stephenson Public School, which opened in 2004.
In Oshawa, Ontario
Oshawa ( , also ; 2021 population 175,383; CMA 415,311) is a city in Ontario, Canada, on the Lake Ontario shoreline. It lies in Southern Ontario, approximately east of Downtown Toronto. It is commonly viewed as the eastern anchor of the ..., Branch 637 of the Royal Canadian Legion is named for Stephenson. Intrepid Park, named after Stephenson's wartime code name, is located in southern Oshawa near the original Camp X site. A historic plaque erected at the park reads as follows:
In 1976 British-born Canadian author William Stevenson published a biography of Stephenson, ''A Man Called Intrepid''. Some of the book's statements have been called into question; in a review the same year, Hugh Trevor-Roper wrote that "This book ... is, from start to finish, utterly worthless," while other former intelligence personnel and historians criticized the book for inaccuracies. Nigel West's 1998 book ''Counterfeit Spies'' asserts that "Intrepid" was probably not Stephenson's codename, but BSC's telegraphic address in New York. Stevenson was a frequent visitor to Bermuda, where Stephenson had taken up residence during after the war. He was an ex-naval officer, having served in the
Fleet Air Arm
The Fleet Air Arm (FAA) is one of the five fighting arms of the Royal Navy and is responsible for the delivery of naval air power both from land and at sea. The Fleet Air Arm operates the F-35 Lightning II for maritime strike, the AW159 Wi ... during the war with prominent Bermudian lawyer William Kempe
William Kempe (c. 1560–c. 1603), commonly referred to as Will Kemp, was an English actor and dancer specialising in comic roles and best known for having been one of the original players in early dramas by William Shakespeare. Roles associat ... (a founding partner of Appleby, Spurling & Kempe), a prominent Bermudian law firm (another author and frequent visitor to Bermuda was ex-naval officer Ian Fleming).
Intelligence historian David A. T. Stafford asserts that a more reliable source on Stephenson's career is H. Montgomery Hyde's ''The Quiet Canadian,'' published in 1962, before Stevenson's book.
But generally acknowledged as the most accurate account of Stephenson's life is Bill Macdonald's ''The True Intrepid'' (1998), with a foreword by the late CIA staff historian Thomas Troy. The book clears up the spymaster's fictitious background in Winnipeg and contains oral histories from his ex-agents. Macdonald's book includes a chapter on the secretive communications genius Benjamin deForest "Pat" Bayly, who according to Stafford's book Camp X – refused to speak with Stafford. Bayly is not mentioned in ''The Quiet Canadian'' or ''A Man Called Intrepid''.
# In ''Counterfeit Spies,'' Bermuda resident Rupert Allason (Nigel West) reports that no record exists of Stephenson having received the French '' Croix de guerre
The ''Croix de Guerre'' (, ''Cross of War'') is a military decoration of France. It was first created in 1915 and consists of a square-cross medal on two crossed swords, hanging from a ribbon with various degree pins. The decoration was first awa ... avec Palmes'' or the '' Légion d'honneur''. Stephenson was of course awarded Britain's Military Cross and Distinguished Flying Cross for his heroics in France. In September 2009 his medals and other effects were displayed in Manitoba's legislative building, in Winnipeg.
# William Stevenson describes a dinner held at Lord Beaverbrook's house in May or June 1940 which Stephenson purportedly attended. Churchill's private secretary Jock Colville casts doubt on Stevenson's account, pointing out that the invitation that Churchill supposedly sent Stephenson was clearly a forgery. The highly punctilious Churchill would never have called Beaverbrook "the beaver", and he would never have signed himself "W.C." (the abbreviation for " water closet
A flush toilet (also known as a flushing toilet, water closet (WC) – see also toilet names) is a toilet that disposes of human waste (principally urine and feces) by using the force of water to ''flush'' it through a drainpipe to another loc ...)." Moreover, Stevenson reports that Lord Trenchard chatted with Stephenson about his own fighter plane; however, in 1940 Trenchard was over 65 years old and was retired from the military. In author William Stevenson's papers at the University of Regina there is a reference to the Beaverbrook dinner, noting that in later years Stephenson had cabled the author that he did not recall the exact date of the gathering. There is no mention of Stephenson having received an invitation from Churchill. In his foreword to Richard Dunlop's ''Donovan'', Stephenson writes that he received a telephoned invitation to the dinner.
# In his 1981 book ''The Churchillians,'' Jock Colville took issue with Stevenson's description of Stephenson's wartime relations with Churchill. Colville pointed out that Stephenson was not Churchill's personal liaison with Roosevelt, that in fact (as is well known) the two leaders corresponded directly. Indeed, Colville contends that he never heard Churchill speak of Stephenson (which may say as much about Churchill's relations with Colville, an Assistant Private Secretary, as it does about his relations with the spy Stephenson). Based on this and other questions, Colville expressed the hope that Stevenson's book would not be "used for the purpose of historical reference." Meanwhile, numerous other references to a Stephenson-Churchill connection can be found; for example, in ''Maclean's'' magazine, 17 December 1952, and ''The Times'', 21 October 1962. The relationship is also referenced in Hyde's biography of Stephenson, ''The Quiet Canadian'' (1962). In addition, British–Soviet double agent Kim Philby, in his book ''My Silent War,'' refers to Stephenson as a friend of Churchill's. Stephenson's personal secretary and personal cipher clerks mention Stephenson-Churchill communications in ''The True Intrepid'' and in the documentary film ''Secret Secretaries''. In CIA historian Thomas Troy's book ''Wild Bill and Intrepid'', there is a chapter on the relationship based on several direct interviews conducted by the author with Stephenson on Bermuda which discounts much of the criticism of West and Hugh Trevor-Roper.
In 1979 Stephenson was portrayed by
James David Graham Niven (; 1 March 1910 – 29 July 1983) was a British actor, soldier, memoirist, and novelist. He won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance as Major Pollock in '' Separate Tables'' (1958). Niven's other roles ... in the miniseries '' A Man Called Intrepid'', based on William Stevenson's bestseller, ''A Man Called Intrepid''.
* Richard Woytak, prefatory note (pp. 75–76) to Marian Rejewski, "Remarks on Appendix 1 to ''British Intelligence in the Second World War'' by F.H. Hinsley", ''Cryptologia'', vol. 6, no. 1 (January 1982), pp. 76–83.
The Maple Leaf
"The Intrepid Society" website
based in Winnipeg, Canada, Sir William Stephenson's home city.
Article "This One is Dear to My Heart"
by Ron Cynewulf Robbins, ''Finest Hour'' Issue No. 67, Second Quarter 1990, published by The Churchill Centre
website devoted to information about William Stephenson
The Royal Canadian Legion – Branch 637
website of The Royal Canadian Legion's Sir William Stephenson Branch (#637)
"arcade-history" web site
summarizing the video game ''Intrepid''
, "L'impact de la roue à miroirs. 1920–1929", Site "Histoire de la télévision".
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