Camp X


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Dear Mr. Hodgson

For my Grade 10 history class I am doing a research essay on Camp X. I’ve read most of your book “Inside Camp X” but am still unclear on how Japan’s attack on pearl harbour might have affected Camp X if it on a different date. (Ex. Had the Japanese attack on pearl harbour been executed six months earlier, there would never have been a Camp X.) Could you clarify this?

Sincerely, Caleb Vandenberg

Hi Caleb,

I would be glad to.

The Camp was originally set up to train COI (later OSS) agents to fight alongside their SOE counterparts behind enemy lines. In fact, had Congress or the American people known that President Roosevelt was behind this, he would have definitely been impeached. Stephenson had to use Canadian staff only for his entire operation both in Canada and New York. The U.S. was forbidden by an Act of Congress to use Americans in any way in the war effort. (The Neutrality Act)

The Camp opened on December 6th, 1941, just eight hours before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour. On December 7th, the role of Camp-X changed to one of training new Canadians, Yugoslavs, Hungarians, etc.

The Americans immediately started up their own schools in the Washington area and in fact called upon Camp-X to make Major Fairbairn available to train instructors in the U.S.

Therefore, if the attack on Pearl Harbour had happened six months earlier, the Camps would have been set up in the U.S. instead of Canada.

Lynn Hodgson

Hi Lynn,

My name is Mario Marchese, and I recently purchased your book “Camp X”. What a wonderful read. To think that a secret camp existed just outside Toronto. I have been to the Camp X site a few times however, after having read your book I would like to visit, what remains of, POW camp 30 in Bowmanville. Would you please direct me as to its location, and what I can expect or not expect to see? I live in downtown Toronto.

Also, where is the Camp X museum, and when does it open to the public?

Thanks, Mario

Hi Mario,

I’m glad that you enjoyed Inside Camp-X.

Camp-30 today, is a closed school. However, all of the original buildings are still in great shape. It is unfortunately, private property and you would need permission from the owner to walk through the property. There is a custodian on duty and perhaps he has permission to grant that.

Lynn Hodgson

Dear Mr. Hodgson,

Hi, it’s Morgan again. I just had a few more questions for you.
Why was Sir William Stephenson chosen to take charge of Camp X?
Very good question. Sir William knew Canada and the U.S. inside out. He had also travelled the world extensively and had been reporting on the growth and dangers of the Nazi Party for many years before WWII. He was a quiet man and could be trusted.
What were the arms agents were trained with?
All types of small arms including, 22’s 38’s and 45’s. Both Allied and Axis. Also, Tommy guns, Bren guns and Sten Guns.
How were agents chosen to be trained at Camp X?
That’s a very long story as they had numerous methods. I wrote a whole chapter about it called ‘Recruiting and Training’.
Why was Sir William Stephenson called “Intrepid”?
It was a fitting Code Name for him and given to him by Winston Churchill for the purpose of communicating secretly.
Did Camp X have anything to do with Camp 30?
Yes, very much so. I wrote about it in Inside Camp-X and a number of the other books.
Did any of the tortured agents return to Camp X?
No, they never did. They simply returned to private life in Canada after the war. Some stayed in their native land. The only one who returned to Camp-X was Andy Daniel’s when he gave me a personal tour in 1977, which again, I wrote about in ICX.
Why were spies not covered by the Geneva Convention’s Rules of War?
For some reason, when the Geneva Convention was nogotiated it was decided that spies were fair game. I would suggest that the reason might have been that many spies were civilian and not military. I believe the Geneva Convention is designed for military prisoners of war.
Why did Camp X quit producing agents after the war?
Once a number of countries were liberated after the ‘D’ Day invasion, there was no longer a reason to send agents into countries secretly.

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