Camp X

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Contents

Camp X

Camp X was a World War II spy camp located on the border between the cities of Whitby and Oshawa, Ontario. The camp's activity is still shrouded in secrecy. Lynn-Philip Hodgson is an indefatigable researcher and has recently published the book Inside-Camp X, which delineates the story of the spy camp and its inhabitants. He has uncoverd the facts and clarified some of the already-known stories about such figures as Ian Fleming and Igor Gouzenko.


What was Camp X?

Camp X was established December 6, 1941 by the BSC's (New York-based British Security Co-Ordination) chief, Sir William Stephenson, a Canadian from Winnipeg, Manitoba and a close confidante of Winston Churchill and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The camp was first opened for the purpose of training American COI (forerunner to the Central Intelligence Agency) agents to be dropped behind enemy lines as saboteurs and spies, at a time when the US was forbidden by the Neutrality Act to be directly involved in World War II.

Camp X was jointly operated by the British Security Coordination (BSC) and the Government of Canada. The official names of the camp were many: S 25-1-1 by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), Project-J by the Canadian military, and STS-103 (Special Training School 103) by the SOE (Special Operations Executive), a branch of the British intelligence service MI-6.

Camp X trained over five hundred Allied units of which 273 of these graduated and moved on to London for further training. Many secret agents were trained here. The Camp X pupils were schooled in a wide variety of special techniques including silent killing, sabotage, partisan support & recruitment methods for resistance movements, demolition, map reading, skilled use of various weapons, and Morse code.

More from Wikipedia.org


Plaque1.jpg
photo credit Marg from the North Shore Amateur Radio Club
A special training school run by the British near Whitby, Ontario, during WWII, Camp X has become a legend. A Man Called Intrepid (1977), the best-selling account of the wartime activities of Sir William STEPHENSON, director of the New York-based British Security Co-Ordination (BSC), made several dramatic assertions about its operations, most notably that the Czech secret agents who assassinated SS General Reinhard Heydrich in 1942 were trained there.

Most of this is untrue. The camp, whose official title was STS (Special Training School) 103, provided the British Special Operations Executive (SOE) with a preliminary training school for those it recruited in North and South America and with a convenient place to teach espionage to the Americans while the US was still neutral. Neither the agents who assassinated Heydrich nor others recruited in Europe were trained there.

Most of the camp's graduates were either Canadians or Americans, many from the American OSS (Office of Strategic Services). SOE provided the training staff, BSC looked after administrative and financial matters, and the Canadian military authorities provided auxiliary services. Exclusively under BSC control was a secondary operation on the same site known as "Hydra," a radio station which handled top-secret British transatlantic intelligence communications. The school opened 9 December 1941 and closed 2 years later.

From The Canadian Encyclopedia



How to Visit Camp X

One of the spy trainees was James Bond author Ian Fleming, who went on to create the famous James Bond '007' character using knowledge he acquired here. Camp X was also influencial in the development of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA); five future heads of the CIA were trained there. Today the Camp X location is marked by a small memorial in the 17-acre, waterfront Intrepid Park, on the Whitby/Oshawa border. From the Hwy 401 head south on Thickson Road to Wentworth Road. Go left (East) to Boundary Road, then right (south) about 600 ft. It's at the top of hill on the right. 'Inside Camp X' author Lynn Philip Hodgson leads occasional guided walks of the site.


Ian Fleming

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British author Ian Fleming (1908-1964) created the James Bond character. (source: Express Newspapers/Getty Images)

Read more about a museum exhibit on James Bond at "London goes loony over the centenary of James Bond creator Ian Fleming". Read more about Ian Lancaster Fleming at MI6.


Plaque2.jpg
photo credit Marg from the North Shore Amateur Radio Club

A special training school

From the Historica Foundation of Canada
A special training school run by the British near Whitby, Ontario, during WWII, Camp X has become a legend. A Man Called Intrepid (1977), the best-selling account of the wartime activities of Sir William STEPHENSON, director of the New York-based British Security Co-Ordination (BSC), made several dramatic assertions about its operations, most notably that the Czech secret agents who assassinated SS General Reinhard Heydrich in 1942 were trained there.

Most of this is untrue. The camp, whose official title was STS (Special Training School) 103, provided the British Special Operations Executive (SOE) with a preliminary training school for those it recruited in North and South America and with a convenient place to teach espionage to the Americans while the US was still neutral. Neither the agents who assassinated Heydrich nor others recruited in Europe were trained there.

Most of the camp's graduates were either Canadians or Americans, many from the American OSS (Office of Strategic Services). SOE provided the training staff, BSC looked after administrative and financial matters, and the Canadian military authorities provided auxiliary services. Exclusively under BSC control was a secondary operation on the same site known as "Hydra," a radio station which handled top-secret British transatlantic intelligence communications. The school opened 9 December 1941 and closed 2 years later.
Source: http://www.canadianencyclopedia.ca/index.cfm?PgNm=TCE&Params=A1ARTA0001193



dagger and poison fountain pen

Few People Knew About Camp X

The camp, officially known as Special Training School #103 but commonly referred to as “Camp X”, was established on 280 acres of land east of Toronto, on the shore of Lake Ontario near the border between the towns of Oshawa and Whitby. This location was chosen as it provided the seclusion needed for the camp’s clandestine operations.

However, very few people knew the true purpose of Camp X. Defence Minister Colonel James Ralston and RCMP Commissioner Stuart Taylor Wood were let in on the secret, as was the head of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, since the public were told that the radio antennas dotting the property were CBC broadcast antennas. Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie-King was left out of the loop since BSC feared he would shut down the camp as a violation of Canada’s sovereignty by Great Britain.

Another purpose for establishing the camp was to unite Great Britain and the US. At the time Camp X was being constructed—the summer of 1941—the US was still refusing to join the war effort. Others saw this as a mistaken position as evidenced by the over 30 000 Americans who crossed the border to join British and Canadian armed forces. Even before the US entered the war on December 7, 1941, agents from America’s intelligence services expressed an interest in sending personnel for training at the soon to be opened Camp X. Agents from the FBI and the Office of Strategic Services (fore-runner of the CIA) secretly attended Camp X. Most notable was Col William Donovan, wartime head of the OSS, who credited Sir William Stephenson with teaching Americans about foreign intelligence gathering.

Camp X officially opened for training on December 6, 1941, the day before the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Trainees at the camp learned sabotage techniques, subversion, intelligence gathering, lock picking, explosives training, radio communications, encode/decode, recruiting techniques for partisans, the art of silent killing and unarmed combat. Camp X offered no parades for its graduates and none were ever publicly recognized for their accomplishments.

By the time Special Training School #103 terminated training operations in 1944, up to 2000 students had graduated from the camp.

In 1945, Igor Gouzenko the Soviet Embassy cypher clerk whose defection exposed the Soviet spy threat in North America, was hidden at Camp X along with his family for two years. Prime Minister Mackenzie-King was first advised about the camp’s existence when it was suggested that Gouzenko be hidden there.

Post-war, the camp was re-named the Oshawa Wireless Station and turned over to the Royal Canadian Corps of Signals as a wireless intercept station, military talk for a spy listening station. The Oshawa Wireless Station continued operations until 1969 when it too closed. All remaining buildings were demolished or relocated elsewhere and the property abandoned. Records pertaining to Camp X were either locked away under the Official Secrets Act or destroyed after WWII.

Even the end of the war brought no parades or official recognition for Camp X veterans. They simply went home and did, as they were required to do during the war; they kept quiet. It’s only been in recent years that many Camp X veterans have felt comfortable talking about their experiences.

Sourcce: http://www.forces.gc.ca/site/community/mapleleaf/article_e.asp?id=3350



Escape from Camp X

In the winter of 1941 a group of German PoWs in Angler, Ont., plotted a daring escape from the remote camp. More than 100 prisoners helped dig a 150-foot tunnel in the hopes of a mass escape planned for Hitler's upcoming 52nd birthday. In what became a headline-grabbing event, 28 PoWs eventually made their break from "Camp X" — some getting as far as Medicine Hat before they were captured. CBC Television Archives



Books About Camp X



Videos About Camp-X from VideoDurhamRegion.com

Unfortunately, these videos are no longer available.



Camp-X Official Site

http://webhome.idirect.com/~lhodgson/camp-x.htm



Camp-X Museum

http://webhome.idirect.com/~lhodgson/canadaspymuseum.html



Camp X Historical Society

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Camp X Historical Society
http://www.campxhistoricalsociety.ca/




Books about Camp X

Audio Book about Camp X
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Inside Camp X
http://www.scenarioproductions.com/campx/campX.html



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Walters, Eric.Puffin Canada.04 Feb 2003.ISBN 9780141313283.<http://www.penguin.ca/nf/Book/BookDisplay/0,,9780141313283,00.html>.

It's 1943, and nearly-12-year-old George and his older brother Jack are spending a restless wartime summer in Whitby, Ontario, where their mom is working at a munitions plant while their dad is off fighting the Germans. One afternoon, the boys stumble across Canada's top-secret spy camp-and so begins an exciting and terrifying adventure as George and Jack get caught up in the covert activities of Camp X.

Fascinated by Camp X and its secrets, the boys begin to suspect local townspeople of being spies. Is the police chief keeping tabs on people for enemy purposes? Is Jack's boss at the newspaper really amassing information for sinister reasons?

Unable to resist the camp's allure, the boys keep going back to find out more details of what's going on-they even meet William Stephenson, the Man Called Intrepid himself. They also attract the attention of a very sinister character, someone who is determined to use George and Jack's knowledge against the Allies, no matter the consequences . . . or the casualties.




Amateur Radio Club Broadcasts from Camp X

The North Shore Amateur Radio Club of Oshawa, Ontario operated a Special Event station from Camp X Intrepid Park in Whitby, Ontario, Canada, on May 6, 7, and 8, 1999 in celebration of the 55th anniversary of VE Day and the part Camp X played in the Allied war effort. Camp X was where 'agents' trained before being parachuted into Nazi occupied territory to not only lead the resistance movement, but to provide valuable information to invading Allied Armies. Camp X was also a Hydra facility where messages were sent and received between Europe and North America. Camp X was administered by British Security Co-ordination under the leadership of Sir William Stephenson, known as Intrepid. There was great public turnout to this event and Amateur Radio was once again brought to the forefront.

The Second Canadian Intelligence Division, of the Canadian Armed Forces, set up our operational theatre of action. From this site we extended the story of Camp X around the world by amateur radio.

The Camp X Historical Society marked the event with a public ceremony on Monday, May 8th, VE Day. The ceremony was held at the memorial in Camp X Intrepid Park. The mayors of both Whitby and Oshawa made presentations and the Camp X Historical Society urged both local governments to assist with the creation of a Camp X museum.

http://www.osha.igs.net/~lsolomon/nsarc/campx_main.htm


Who was William Stephenson?

  • Library and Archives of Canada
    A profile of Canadian flying ace and inventor, businessman, and master spy, William Samuel Stephenson. From Library and Archives Canada.
  • The Intrepid Society, Inc.
    Honours the memory and achievements of Sir William Stephenson CC MC DFC who distinguished himself in the two Great World Wars. Often remembered as "The Man Called Intrepid. Based in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
  • Veterans Affairs Canada
    Devoted to Sir William Stephenson and other Canadian agents involved in Allied intelligence operations during World War II. From Veterans Affairs Canada.



Help Save Camp 30 from demolition

  • BOWMANVILLE PoW CAMP FACES THE WRECKING BALL- Bowmanville’s Camp 30, a prisoner of war camp for German officers, is threatened by development. In order to gain time and prevent immediate demolition, Clarington Council has placed the property on the municipal register of properties of cultural heritage value or interest. But government must now work with the developer to find a good use for the buildings. Local citizens are organizing to try to save Camp 30. One of its most tireless advocates is Lynn Philip Hodgson who is a champion for local heritage, especially for Camp X, the spy training facility nearby.


  • DEMOLITION BY SUSPICIOUS FIRE AT CAMP 30Lynn Philip Hodgson who has been campaigning to save the site told the Globe and Mail (see March 31st) that even though the generals’ building was destroyed on March 28th, it may now be easier to save Camp 30, because it thrusts a more storied building into the spotlight. The one-storey building is where Otto Kretschmer, the most highly-decorated U-boat commander captured in the war, was kept. From here the prisoners dug a tunnel under the camp fence and into a farmer's field. But only one man actually escaped.
    According to newsdurhamregion.com, the camp has been sold to a developer who is looking for permission to demolish the old buildings. The Kaitlin Group, which owns the property, has written to council saying the buildings are a safety and liability concern because of ongoing trespass and vandalism, The Municipality has been looking for heritage protection for the site. Clarington Council was hoping for financial support from the federal government to preserve this piece of Canada’s military history.


Teachers' Resource for Camp-X



Lynn Phillip Hodgson: A World Wide Expert on Camp X

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Lynn Hodgson has spoken to thousands of public and high school students, enlightening them about their own rich historical heritage in Durham Region. Some of the organizations he is or has been involved with are the Camp-X museum in Oshawa, the Scugog Shores Historical Museum, the Kawartha Region Conservation Authority, Military Heritage of Durham Region, Scugog Township Heritage Committee and Camp-X Historical Society. He is also an elected Municipal Councillor for Ward 3 in Scugog Township. He has written or co-written several books about local heritage. You may contact Lynn Hodgson here.



Videos About Camp X

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References


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