This top-secret Second World War spy training school was unofficially known as Camp X. It was established December 6, 1941, in Whitby, Ont., through a cooperative effort between the British Security Coordination (BSC) and the Canadian government. The BSC’s chief, Sir William Stephenson, was a Canadian from Winnipeg and a close confidant of the British Prime Minister, Sir Winston Churchill, who had instructed him to create “the clenched fist that would provide the knockout blow” to the Axis powers. One of Stephenson’s successes was Camp X.
The camp was designed for the sole purpose of linking Britain and the United States. Until the direct attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the United States was forbidden by Congress to get involved with the war. How timely that Camp X should open the day before that attack by the Japanese.
Even the camp’s location was chosen with a great deal of thought: a remote site on the shores of Lake Ontario, yet only 30 miles straight across the lake from the United States. It was ideal for bouncing radio signals from Europe, South America, and, of course, between London and the BSC headquarters in New York.
The choice of site also placed the camp only five miles from Defence Industries Ltd. (DIL), currently the town of Ajax. At that time, DIL was the largest armaments manufacturing facility in the Commonwealth.
Other points of strategic significance in the camp’s locale include the situation of the German Prisoner of War Camp in Bowmanville, and the position of the mainline Canadian National Railway, which went through the top part of Camp X.