Sir William Stephenson, a genuine Canadian hero, has been dead nearly three years. But the myth of The man called Intrepid will not die. Stephenson had been knighted by King George VI in 1945, when few Canadians had even heard of him, for top secret exploits during the war. In 1946 he was awarded the U.S. Medal of Merit for his contribution to the Allied victory. In the 20 years after the war the Intrepid myth, germinated by Stephenson himself, flowered. It pictured a wealthy Canadian businessman chosen by British Prime Minister Winston Churchill as his personal representative to the then-neutral United States; the man who co-ordinated all allied intelligence and counterespionage activities around the globe; the man who persuaded the Americans to enter the war; the man who broke the German naval code and turned the tide of war. It reached its apogee in 1976 with the publication of A Man Called Intrepid. The book, and the television film based upon it, brought to Sir William the long-overdue recognition of his own country. Then-Governor General Ed Schreyer flew to Bermuda in 1980 to drape the insignia of the Companion of the Order of Canada around the neck of the 84-year-old spy. Other honors followed: four Canadian universities gave him honorary degrees, roads and parks were named after him, the lieutenant-governor of Ontario unveiled a “He was a great empire builder.” plaque at the site of Camp X, Stephenson’s school for undercover agents near Whitby. But at the same time the book provoked a campaign by scholars and central figures in wartime espionage to debunk the myth. They are still trying.
Did you know those who worked on top secret projects during World War 2 were bound not to reveal their activities until 30 years after the the war ended. This is why the incredible story of the allied spy and intelligence network, headed by Sir William Stephenson was revelaed in a book later on and also the TV series, ‘A Man Called Intrepid”.Stephenson or Intrepid as he was called operated his organization from headquarters in New York.
For more than 30 years an Almonte woman kept secret, even from her family, her membership in Intrepid’s team. Mrs. Lorraine Kilburn worked at the New York office, handling decoded messages and working with the South American arm of the intelligance network. She remembers Inrepid well as a charming and a very sociable man, always present at the social functions that gave relief to the tension of their work.
Her last name is actually Kilburn and she passed away close to 20 years ago. They lived in Almonte before my dad was born in ‘48. There are some super interesting details about that story. My grandfather was also in the war (survived 3 ships sinking) and Lorraine knew where he was at all times despite him thinking he couldn’t tell her about his whereabouts- it was her that had to hide her true role at the time. There is a street named after my grandfather (I like to think it’s named after both of them) in the new subdivision off Johanna St. in Almonte actually. I bought my dad an old copy of a man called intrepid a while back. Anyways, thanks for writing about it!– Ashley LeBrie
Thanks Ashley I changed the name and thank you for the update!!
|Name:||Mrs Lorraine Kilburn|
|Residence Place:||Lanark, Ontario, Canada|