Canadian Intelligence Corps (C Int C), 1901 (C of G), 1942 (C Int C), 1968 (Integration)

Canadian Intelligence Corps (C Int C), History and Insignia

Intelligence Operators and Officers provide military intelligence support in operations, planning and decision-making.  Their work has an impact on military and national security, and the political and public relations of the government.

The early history of the Canadian Forces Intelligence Branch has been well-documented in Major Robert Elliot's book "Scarlet to Green".  After a number of interviews with him I am following up on our Intelligence Branch history from where he left off in 1963, to the present day in four volumes under the title "Out of Darkness - Light", (a translation of the Intelligence Branch motto "E Tenebris Lux").  The books may be found online within this website.  You will find a few photos on these pages with items of interest that relate to our Intelligence Branch history, including memorabilia associated with the Canadian Corps of Guides, the Canadian Cyclist Corps and the Canadian Intelligence Corps.  It should be useful to collector's and those interested in the history of our trade.  Acorn sends.

French Translation of the technical data presented here would be appreciated.  Corrections, amendments and suggested changes may be emailed to the author at

Une traduction au français pour l'information technique présente serait grandement apprécié.  Vos corrections, changements et suggestions sont les bienvenus, et peuvent être envoyés au

When referring to the G2 and members of the C Int C on the radio, the codeword "Acorn" was used.



Out of the night that covers me,

     Black as the Pit from pole to pole,

I thank whatever gods may be

     For my unconquerable soul.


In the fell clutch of circumstance

     I have not winced nor cried aloud,

Under the bludgeonings of chance

     My head is bloody, but unbowed.


Beyond this place of wrath and tears

     Looms but the horror of the shade,

And yet the menace of the years

     Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.


It matters not how strait the gate,

     How charged with punishments the scroll,

I am the master of my fate:

     I am the captain of my soul.


              WilliamErnest Henley[1]

[1] Major John“Pappy” MacKinnon, noted that the title “E Tenebris Lux” (Out of Darkness Light) reminded him of the powerful opening stanza of this poem written by W.E. Henleyin 1875 entitled “Invictus.”

(DND Photo)

Piper "Pappy" McKinnon,  No. 2 Intelligence Company, Toronto, 1952.

A few of the cap badges worn by Canadian Intelligence personnel since 1901: Corps of Guides, Canadian Cyclist Corps, C Int C with King's Crown and C Int C with Queen's Crown, Security Branch, and Intelligence Branch cap badges.

Canadian Intelligence Corps bronze memorial plaque mounted on a cairn at the former Canadian School of Military Intelligence (CSMI) and the later Canadian Forces School of Intelligence and Security (CFSIS) parade square, CFB Borden, Ontario.

Back to the Beginning...

(Library and Archives Canada Illustration, Acc. No. 1972-26-594)

Wolfe Chooses His Battle Ground and Landing Place, Quebec, 1759. Drawing by Charles W.  Jefferys.

Wolfe at Quebec, 1759. General James Wolfe leading the British thin red line into battle against the French on the Plains of Abraham outside Quebec City, 13 September 1759. Drawing by C.W. Jefferys.

1756-1763, Seven Years War in North America

             The “Canadian Military Intelligence Community traces its ”specific origins back “to those British and French officers who were employed at various times in the early history of Canada as scouts, guides, agents, liaison officers, and on other duties.”[1]  Early cooperation between Britain and the 13 Colonies occurred during the Seven Years War, 1756-1763, when “a Unit named the ‘Yankee Rangers‘ was employed in a reconnaissance role and conducted scouting duties.”  In the “planning” for the “seizure of Quebec, General James Wolfe kept most” of the available “Intelligence in his own hands, personally interrogating deserters, questioning spies and Rangers.” He read and “intercepted letters, conducting his own reconnaissance and including a deception plan (the leading assault boats masqueraded as French provision vessels, for example, and a feint attack to distract the enemy was mounted).”  General Jeffery Amherst, who took Montreal, “also used Rangers and guides for Intelligence work with great skill and success.”[2]

[1] Edmond Cloutier, The Canadian Intelligence Corps,(Ottawa: Queen’s Printer, 1952), p. 2.

[2] Anthony Clayton, Forearmed, A History of the Intelligence Corps, (London: Brassey’s (UK), 1993), p. 2.

4th Troop of Volunteer Cavalry of Montreal (or Guides)

(DND Library Photo)

The uniform shown in this photograph of the 1860s combined elements of British Dragoon and Light Dragoon styles. The blue tunic had white frogging and lace. The dragoon-style helmet was in white metal with a white horsehair plume.

(DND Library)

The Royal Guides on parade, Montreal, c1890s.

The 4th Troop of Volunteer Cavalry of Montreal (or Guides) The Royal Guides or Governor General's Body Guard for Lower Canada were formed on 7 February 1862 as the 3rd Volunteer Militia Troop of Cavalry of Montreal.  The uniform shown in this photograph of the 1860s combined elements of British Dragoon and Light Dragoon styles. The blue tunic had white frogging and lace. The dragoon-style helmet was in white metal with a white horsehair plume.

Renamed “The Royal Guides or Governor General’s Body Guard for Lower Canada,” and later “The Guides,” the unit took part in the actions to repel Fenian raiders attempting to invade Canada in 1866.  Following the initial Fenian incursions, a combined force of British Regulars and Canadian militia reached the border area on 9 June 1866, only to find that most of the Fenians had already withdrawn.  However, the Royal Guides, a volunteer cavalry unit composed primarily of Montreal Hunt Club members, encountered a party of about 200 Fenians near Pigeon Hill. Under the command of Captain D. Lorne MacDougall, the Guides charged with drawn sabres, jumped over the Fenians' breastwork defences and hacked at the Irish Americans as they raced for the border. The  Guides' charge resulted in the taking of 16 Fenian prisoners.  The Guides were being disbanded in 1869, shortly before a second round of Fenian raids in 1870.  With the Fenians openly regrouping, and with a powerful, covertly hostile neighbour to the south, Canada needed to strengthen her defences. Due in some part to the unifying effect the Fenian threat had on their Canadian subjects, the British passed the British North America Act in 1867, creating the Dominion of Canada. Shortly after the new nation was established, the British government began to withdraw the Regular garrisons at Kingston and Quebec. The Dominion of Canada was expected to provide for its own defence. Accordingly, Canada passed the first Militia Act in 1868, under which an administrative system was established to train and organize a 40,000-member militia force.

Canada General Service Medal (1866-1870)

The Canada General Service Medal was a campaign medal awarded by the Canadian Government to both Imperial and Canadian forces for duties related to the suppression of the Fenian raids and Riel's First Rebellion, the latter being generally referred to as the Red River Expedition.   The medal was not issued until 1899 and had to be applied for.  The period for applying for the medal was later extended to 1907, and then to 1928.  With late applications, approximately 16,668 medals were awarded, including 15,300 to members of Canadian units.

The obverse of the medal bears the head of Queen Victoria with the legend VICTORIA REGINA ET IMPERATRIX, while the reverse depicts the red ensign of Canada surrounded by a wreath of maple leaves with the word CANADA above.  The medal was always awarded with a clasp, with 20 medals awarded with all three clasps.  The number of clasps indicated below includes those that appear on multi-clasp medals.

(Author Photos, YSHS, FRM Collection)

Fenian Raid 1866

For services related to the Fenian raids of 1866.  8,591 clasps were awarded.

Red River 1870

For services related to the suppression of the Red River Rebellion.   8,606 clasps were awarded.

Fenian Raid 1870

For services related to the Fenian raids of 1870.  565 clasps were awarded.

Scout Units in Western Canada

(Glenbow Archives NA 363-5); and (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3246011)

Captain John French and his Scouts in Western Canada.

During the North-West Rebellion, various irregular cavalry units were used as scouts. One of these scout units, drawn from the Dominion Land Survey, was called the “Intelligence Corps.” With a strength of three officers and thirty men performing long-range reconnaissance and light cavalry functions, it was the first unit to be designated an “Intelligence” unit in the British Empire. These scout units, the forerunners of the Fort Garry Horse and North Saskatchewan Regiment, were disbanded by 18 September 1885.

Dominion Land Surveyors Intelligence Corps

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 7489)

One of the men in service with the Dominion Land Surveyors Intelligence Corps, 1885.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo)

1885, Dominion Land Surveyors Intelligence Corps.

North West Canada Medal

The medal was originally approved for presentation to soldiers taking part in the suppression of the Rebellion of 1885, but only to those who served west of Port Arthur.  Award of the medal was also approved for some of the volunteers who participated in key actions, including the crew of the steamer "Northcote" which was recognized for its services at the Battle of Batoche, and members of the Prince Albert Volunteers who fought at Duck Lake.  A grant of 320 acres of land or scrip of $80 were also awarded to these recipients.

Saskatchewan Bar: Awarded to all those who took part in any or all of the main encounters during the rebellion. These took place along the Saskatchewan River at Fish Creek, Batoche, Cut Knife and Frenchman's Butte.

One example of a soldier awarded this medal is Trooper William Edward De Renzy, who was recruited into the Dominion Land Surveyors Intelligence Corps during the 1885 rebellion in Northwest Canada, when the Metis (mixed-raced First Nations) took up arms against the government.  He would have had knowledge of the locals inhabitants, their languages and their lands, and conducted intelligence missions in the guise of a D.L.S. employee.

Queen's Own Corps of Guides, Punjab Frontier Force (India, 1846-1922)

Corps of Guides (Infantry & Cavalry), painted by Richard Simkin, 1891.

(Beloochee Photo)

Queen's Own Corps of Guides badge.

British officers of the Queen's Own Corps of Guides, Punjab Frontier Force (India).  Lieutenant Walter Hamilton VC with his Indian troopers who defended the residency at Kabul on 3 Sep 1879, stands on the right.

The Afghanistan Medal was awarded to members of the British and Indian armies who served in Afghanistan between 1878–1880 during the Second Afghan War, the first Afghan War being from 1839–1842.

The Queen’s Own Corps of Guides of India was a regiment of the British Indian Army raised in Peshawar by Lt. Harry Lumsden in December 1846.  The brainchild of British Army Officer Sir Henry Lawrence, this unit had a reputation for innovation, individual initiative, endurance, daring and toughness in battle.  It was initially comprised of one troop of cavalry and two companies of infantry, expanding to a somewhat larger force over its history.  It was unusual unit for its time as it combined cavalry and infantry in the same regiment for many years. The Corps of Guides was always part of the renowned Frontier Force brigade. They were famous for being the first unit in the Indian or British Armies to dress in khaki. They were soon followed by the other Frontier Force regiments including the Canadian Corps of Guides.  They were often used in small detachments, usually supported by other troops such as the Sikhs and Gurkhas.  At least one of these Guides Officers served in Canada on exchange with the Canadian Corps of Guides.  George John Younghusband, The Story of the Guides, March 1908.

Boer War in South Africa

Queen's South Africa Medal

The Queen's South Africa Medal is a British campaign medal which was awarded to British and Colonial military personnel, civilians employed in official capacity and war correspondents who served in the Second Boer War in South Africa.  Altogether twenty-six clasps were awarded to recipients of the Queen's South Africa Medal, to indicate particular actions and campaigns of the Second Boer War from 11 October 1899 to 31 May 1902.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, PA-173029)

2nd Regiment, Canadian Mounted Rifles in South Africa riding through the veldt while chasing small bands of Boers in Transvaal, March 1902.  During the Second Boer War in South Africa, Canadian mounted troops gathered information of intelligence value with the Lord Strathcona’s Horse (LdSH) and British scout units.

1901 Canada’s First Intelligence Officer, LCol Victor Brereton Rivers

           The British Army in South Africa at the time fielded a large Intelligence organization. This organization included a “Director of Military Intelligence“ and 63 officers engaged in Intelligence staff and field duties.  There was a Director of Military Intelligence, graded as Assistant-Adjutant-General (AAG), an AAG (Topography), four Deputy-Assistant Quartermaster-Generals (Intelligence), and two Press Censors, all at Force HQ; a Press Censor and a baggage and Intelligence Officer on the Railway Staff; and a Field Intelligence Staff of 15 DAQMGs (Intelligence), 13 staff Captains, a staff Lieutenant, seven staff Intelligence officers, four officers employed on Provosts duties (possibly as early forerunners of the Field Security trade), 24 Intelligence officers, most of whom were or had been, members of irregular mounted Units, and the necessary clerical staff.

(Jaypee Photo)

Major General Richard Hebden O'Grady-Haly, KCB, DSO (22 February 1841 – 8 July 1911).  He was a British Army officer who served as General Officer Commanding the Militia of Canada from 1900 to 1902.

Several Canadians trained and served in this British Intelligence system during the war, and its successful operation brought it to the attention of the serving “General Officer Commanding (GOC) Canadian Militia, Major-General R.H. O’Grady-Haly, CB, DSO, attached to the British War office.”  He noted that Canada did not have a similar working organization and recommended that an Intelligence Staff Officer be added to the department of the Quartermaster General.  His recommendation was accepted, and on 06February 1901, the Canadian Militia appointed its “first Intelligence Staff Officer (ISO), LCol Victor Brereton Rivers, RCA, a career soldier and a veteran of the battles of Fish Creek and Batoche.”[2]

[1] Hart’sArmy List, 1902-1903; Maj S. Robert Elliot, Scarlet to Green, p. 11.

[2] Ibid., p. 11-12.

Canadian intelligence efforts in South Africa led to the appointment on 6 February 1901 of Lieutenant-Colonel V.B. Rivers, RCA, as the first Intelligence Staff Officer of the Canadian Militia.  (He is shown here as a Lt).  On 1 April 1903, the Corps of Guides was created in the Canadian Army. Under the new structure, a District Intelligence Officer responsible to Director General of Military Intelligence (DGMI) was appointed to oversee Corps of Guides units established in each of Canada’s twelve Military Districts. The first DGMI, Lieutenant-Colonel W.A.C. Denny, had a very small staff overseeing information collection and mapping, and approximately 185 militia officers serving the Canadian Corps of Guides.

(Clive Law Photo)

Corps of Guides Captain Cyril Tweedale.

Canadian Corps of Guides

Lieutenant-Colonel Victor Brereton Rivers, a former officer cadet at the Royal Military College of Canada was one of the first of a small band of  officers serving in an organization that was in effect the forerunner of Canadian Forces Intelligence Branch as it is known today.[2] He carried out the necessary staff work which led to the formation of the "Canadian Corps of Guides" as authorized by "General Order 61 of 01 April 1903." [3] This Order directed that at each of the 12 Military districts across Canada there would be a District Intelligence Officer (DIO) whose duties included command of the Corps of Guides in his District.

The Corps of Guides (C of G) was a mounted corps of non-permanent Militia with precedence immediately following the Canadian. The officers, NCOs, and men were appointed individually to the headquarters staffs of various commands and districts to carry out Intelligence duties. From the authorizing order, it is apparent that one of the functions of the C of G was to ensure that, in the event of war on Canadian soil, the defenders would possess detailed and accurate information of the area of operations. The ranks of the Corps of Guides were filled quickly, and by the end of 1903, the General Officer Commanding the Militia was able to report that, “the formation of the Corps has been attended by the best possible results. Canada is now being covered by a network of Intelligence and capable men, who will be of great service to the country in collecting information of a military character and in fitting themselves to act as guides in their own districts to forces in the field. I have much satisfaction in stating that there is much competition among the best men in the country for admission into the Corps of Guides. Nobody is admitted into the Corps unless he is a man whose services are likely to be of real use to the country.” The training of the Corps began at once under the supervision of the . Special courses stressed the organization of foreign armies, military reconnaissance, and the staff duties of Intelligence officers. Instruction in drill and parade movements was kept to a minimum. Although primarily made up of individual officers and men, there was also an establishment for a mounted company of the Corps with one company allocated to each division. The strength of the company was 40 all ranks. Each Military District was sub-divided into local Guide Areas.

The head of this organization was “a Director General of Military Intelligence (DGMI),” under the control of the General Officer Commanding (GOC). “The DGMI was charged with the collection of information on the military resources of Canada, the British Empire, and foreign countries.”

Corp of Guides Officer's cap badge with silver true and magnetic north arrows in a gold wreath, ca. 1901.  These symbols were integrated into the King's Crown cap badge in 1942, the Queen's Crown cap badge in 1952 and the present day Intelligence Branch cap badge from 1982.

Canadian Corps of Guides uniform, ca. 1901, Base Borden Military Museum, CFB Borden, Ontario.  Another C of G uniform is preserved in the New Brunswick Museum, Saint John, New Brunswick.

(Photo Courtesy Bryan Gagne)

Lieutenant Cyril Tweedale, Corps of Guides.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, PA-111891)

Canadian Corps of Guides at Niagara on the Lake, Ontario, ca 1903.

 (Photo courtesy of Clive Law)

Canadian Corps of Guides group photo post 1903.

(Photo courtesy of Clive Law)

Canadian Corps of Guides Officer, post 1903.  

“The first DGMI was Brevet-Major William A.C. Denny, Royal Army Service Corps, psc, a veteran of South Africa.”  His staff included LCol Victor Brereton Rivers as ISO and two AISOs, Capt A.C. Caldwell and Capt W.B. Anderson responsible respectively for the Information and Mapping Branches, three Lieutenants, a Sergeant and two NCOs. All officers and men in the Districts were Militia. (As late as 1913 there were less than 3,000 men serving in the Canadian Militia). This was the basic organization for military Intelligence with which Canada entered the Great War.

(Steve Tijou Photo)

Capt George Bryant Schwartz (1890-1958), wearing a Corps of Guides cap badge.  Captain Bryant served with the 3rd Divisional Cyclist Company, Toronto.  He left for England in January 1916 and was part of the Canadian Corps Cyclist Battalion

1914-1918, Canadian Military Intelligence in the Great War

           Canada’s military intelligence came of age in the Great War. Because it was part of the British Empire,when Britain declared war on 4 August 1914, Canada also found itself atwar.  “The machinery of strategic Intelligence” was at that time “located in, responsible to, and managed by ”Britain’s “Whitehall.”  “The Canadian Director General of Military Intelligence (DGMI) had been required since 1903 to gather information on foreign armies, Militia, military engineering and to prepare reports for any Army in the field.”  Militia Headquarters in Ottawa,however, “had no direct access to official foreign sources” and agencies and“there were no Canadian offices abroad.”[1]  

           Before the war, Ottawa had periodically forwarded Intelligence gathered on Canada’s military resources to the Colonial Office for use by the Committee on Imperial Defence. The forwarding of Intelligence to Great Britain highlights the fact that it would have been very unlikely that Canada would have stood aside even if it had a choice, when the British Empire went to war. In fact, Canada specifically endeavoured to “acquaint the Imperial authorities with the material [Canadian]resources upon which the Empire might reckon in the event of a Great War.”[2]

           When the Great War broke out, “the Corps of Guides volunteered for service in a body and a concentration...moved to Valcartier as part of the general mobilization” then in progress.  It quickly became evident however, “that the Corps could not be employed under the conditions of warfare” for which it had been designed.  General Sir Arthur Currie[3] recorded:

“The Corps of Guides was absorbed into existing Units and formations.  Officers to the number of about thirty were absorbed into Staff posts and various regimental and special duties.  Owing to their special training in reconnaissance and scout duties generally, the officers appointed to Staff duties were utilized essentially as Staff Captains for Intelligence and General Staff Officers. Non-Commissioned Officers and men were absorbed into cavalry, horse artillery and various other Staff duties and, subsequently, into the Cyclist Corps which later became the natural channel for the absorption of the Guide personnel.”[4]

“Canadian Army personnel were also attached to the British Intelligence Corps for employment in Intelligence duties such as liaison and Counter Intelligence.”[5]  In spite of their limited training, the Guides were still better prepared than their English counterparts were for the mud of Flanders.  “Their very existence kept the importance of battlefield Intelligence highly visible,” which may explain why “Canadian formations tended to employ more Staff Officers on Intelligence duties than their British equivalents did.”[6]

[1] Ibid.,p. 23.

[2] MilitiaReport, 31 March 1908.  Dan R. Jenkins, The Corps of Guides, p. 97.

[3] Sir ArthurCurrie was the first Canadian-appointed commander of the Canadian Corps in WW I.  Arthur Currie participated in all majoractions of the Canadian forces in First World War, including the planning andexecution of the assault on Vimy Ridge. Arthur Currie is best known for his leadership during the last 100 Daysof WW I and as a successful advocate of keeping Canadians together as a unifiedfighting force.   He was born on 5 Dec 1875 in Napperton, Ontarioand died 30 Nov 1933in Montreal, Quebec.

[4] Major J.E.Hahn, The Intelligence Service Withinthe Canadian Corps, 1914-1918, (Toronto: The Macmillan Company of CanadaLtd, at St. Martin’s House, 1930), p. xiii-xiv.

[5] Edmond Cloutier, The Canadian Intelligence Corps,p. 5.

[6] Dan R.Jenkins, The Corps of Guides,p. 97.

By 1914, the Canadian Corps of Guides totaled some 500 all ranks.  When the Great War broke out, “the Corps of Guides volunteered for service in a body and a concentration...moved to Valcartier as part of the general mobilization” then in progress. It quickly became evident however, “that the Corps could not be employed under the conditions of warfare” for which it had been designed.   Given that their mounted scout role appeared inappropriate for war in Europe, many of the personnel serving with the Corps of Guides were absorbed into existing units and formations in the Canadian Army. Others became Intelligence staff officers and NCOs serving with the British Intelligence Corps. Some continued to serve in Canada with the Canadian Corps of Guides.  When the Militia units were mobilized in British Columbia they were concentrated within the 5th Western Cavalry.

(Author Photo, Fredericton Region Museum Collection)

5th Western Cavalry

5th Western Cavalry cap badge with C of G on the lower right wreath, ca. 1914.  When the Great War began, military units in British Columbia were mobilized and collected into the 5th Western Cavalry.  The C of G personnel included in this unit were the only ones officially mobilized.  In keeping with their role as mounted reconnaissance and intelligence collection personnel, many of the remaining C of G personnel went into the Canadian Cyclist Corps.5th Battalion (Western Cavalry). Authorized 10 August 1914, disbanded 15 September 1920.

The 5th Battalion sailed for England without regimental badges. After the arrival of the 1st Contingent in England in October 1914 General Alderson gave verbal authority that the battalions of the 1st Division could adopt battalion cap badges at unit expense. Designs for cap badges of all four battalions of the 2nd Infantry Brigade, the 5th, 6th 7th and 8th, were submitted by the Brigadier General A.W. Currie to the Assistant Adjutant General on October 25th 1914 shortly after the arrival of the 1st Contingent in the United Kingdom. (The 6th Battalion was replaced in the 2nd Infantry Brigade by the 10th Battalion before they sailed for France in February 1915.) No sample badges are currently known for the 5th Battalion, presumably the patterns submitted being accepted. The 5th Battalion cap badges were worn with a red felt insert behind the voided centre. The central design of the badge is surrounded with a laurel wreath entwined with a ribbon bearing the titles of the units forming the 5th Battalion. These being the 12th Manitoba Dragoons, 15th Light Horse, 27th Light horse, 29th Light horse, 30th BC Horse, 31st BC Horse, and the 35th Central Alberta Horse, the badge also bears a ‘Corps of Guides’ of which 235 troopers had arrived at Camp Valcartier to join the 1st Contingent these being distributed amongst other units as there was no matching unit within the British Army establishment, with the exception of the Indian Army. A close examination of the regimental designations will show that a number of these are wrongly numbered.

Minister Sam Hughes set up the battalion system and only allowed numbered Battalions.  People want names and characters to support & cheer for, so nicknames crept in as the war progressed.  Eventually, add-on names were recognized.  The government allowed special interests like the Tigers(football), Bantams and Irish to organize themselves.  The 5th Battalion (Western Cavalry), CEF, was known as "Tuxford's Dandy's, and was recruited in Brandon, Manitoba; Saskatoon, Regina and Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan; Red Deer, Alberta and Merritt and Vernon, British Columbia -so it was really "Western" .  (Canadian Virtual Military Museum)

The Intelligence system created within the First Canadian Division prior to its deployment to France in 1915 served as the basis for the development of Intelligence structures generally throughout the Canadian Corps.  Intelligence personnel exploited reports from ground and aerial observers, patrols, aerial photography, Prisoners of War (PWs), and captured enemy documents. They conducted intelligence preparation of the battlefield activities and issued regular INTSUMs.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3403628)

Soldiers taking a compass traverse on an Intelligence course at Camp Borden, Ontario, 26 Sep 1916.

Canadian Cyclist Corps

Canadian Cyclist Corps badges, ca 1914-1918, Author's Collection now in the New Brunswick Military History Museum, 5 Canadian Division Support Group Base Gagetown, New Brunswick.

Top: Canadian Cyclist Corps Battalion cap badge.

Centre Row: 1st Division Cyclists Company, 2nd Division Cyclists Company, 3rd Division Cyclists Company, 4th Division Cyclists Company cap badges.

Bottom Row: 5th Divisional Cyclists Company Overseas, and Divisional Cyclists Depot (Canadian Reserve Cyclist Company) cap badges.

The Canadian Corps of Cyclists, 1914-1918

           The Canadian Corps of Cyclists were employed in a wide range of duties other than cycling due to the nature of the fighting on the Western front, “including spells as infantry in the front-line trenches.”[1]  “They came into their own” in 1918 “as liaison and reconnaissance Units,” but “suffered heavy casualties while keeping the Canadian Command in touch with the rapidly changing disposition of both sides.”[2]

           The Canadian Army did not have cyclists in 1914.  Cyclists were a British development that datedfrom 1885.  On 7 November 1914, some 51 Yeomanry and 23 Territorial Force Cyclist Battalions in the UK were formed intoan Army Cyclist Corps, which, by late 1916, had grown to a strength of 14,624men.  The First Canadian Division (1 CdnDiv) conformed to the British organization, and although there was no provision for a Guides Unit, it formed a Cyclist Company in September 1914 as part of its divisional mounted Troops.  As 1 Cdn Div was being assembled in Valcartier, some 350 Canadian Corps of Guides personnel had been assembled there minus their horses.  The Guides were pressed into service to form the new Cyclist Company, which was commanded by Major C.C. Child, with Capt W.W. Everall as second in command, both of whom were Corps of Guides officers.  The First Division Cyclist Company of 100 allranks and a few bicycles was formed and sailed on 3 Oct 1914.  The Company HQ had a Company Sgt Major, a Company Quartermaster Sgt, an artificer, three signallers, and a batman.  There were 3 platoons, each with a subaltern, 1 Sgt, 2 Cpls, 2 lance Cpls, 24 privates, and a batman.

           After spending some time in England, the company moved to France in February 1915.  It was immediately moved to the front and engaged in a wide variety of tasks including traffic control, dispatch riding, mapping, and guarding prisoners of war.  Special tasks were often assigned, includingtheir use as a mobile infantry force. The Second Division Cyclist Company was formed from platoons drawn from across Canada and assembled in Toronto during the autumn of1914.  In May 1915, it embarked from Montreal for England in a ship previously used to transport horses.  The company trained through to Sep 1915, whenit embarked for France where it took up similar duties to those of the 1sCompany.[3]

           Several platoons of cyclists were formed in Niagara, Ontario, moved to Toronto and sailed for England in Nov-Dec 1915.  In March 1916, they were formed into the Third Divisional Cyclist Company and deployed toFrance.  In May 1916, the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Divisional Cyclist Companies were amalgamatedand formed into “The Canadian Corps Cyclist Battalion.[4]

           Like its predecessors, the Fourth Divisional Cyclist Company followed a recruiting, training and deployment pattern through Toronto to England.  The Company was officially formed in May 1916, but disbanded shortly thereafter and its members dispersed to other Units.  Almost simultaneously as the 4th Company was being formed and disbanded, recruiting in Canada for a fifth Unit was taking place.  As they considered themselves “mounted Troops,” they adopted cavalry style dress, drill and attitude.  After reaching England, the Unit was deployed piece-meal to other Army Units including some personnel being assigned to theother cyclist companies.[5]

           Cyclists were originally intended to protect the mainforce from surprise, much as the armoured car Units did during the Second World War, and present day reconnaissance patrols still do.  They were mobile, and had a larger ratio of machine-guns to rifles than an infantry battalion.  However, as a report on British manoeuvres of 1912 pointed out, “numerous and good roads are a necessity for (their) effective employment.”  In France, the Cyclists dug trenches, carried material forward, and acted as stretcher-bearers, observers, runners, Lewis-gun crews on anti-aircraft defence, traffic-controllers, trench wardens, and prisoner-of-war escorts. During the period 1916-1918, the Canadian Cyclist Battalion was involved in most major battles including the Somme, Vimy Ridge, Hill 70, and Passchendaele.

           The battalion was included in the establishment of the Canadian Independent Force when it was formed in 1918 as a heavily armed (machine-guns and mortars) mobile force. Later, General A.W. Currie strengthened his defences against the German offensive with extra machine-gunners from the Cyclists and the Canadian Light Horse.  In August, at Amiens, the Cyclist Battalion covered the right flank of the cavalry.  They formed part of BGen R. Brutinel‘s Automobile Machine Gun Brigade‘s thrust through the Hindenburg Line, and were active in the pursuit of the Germans around Mons.  During the Battle of Amiens, 7 Aug 1918, “Cavalry…was to pass through the Infantry…seize area “Blue Line” supported on its right flank by the Canadian Independent Force, which consisted of two Motor Machine Gun Brigades, two sections of heavy trench mortars which could be fired from trucks and the Canadian Cyclists Corps, all under the direction of BGen Brutinel, CMG, DSO,commanding the Canadian Machine Gun Corps.[6]

Parenthetically, of the first eight officers appointed to that Brigade in 1914, four were from the Corps of Guides; Major J.E. Browne, Capt F.A. Wilkin, Lt G.A. Bradbrooke, and Lt J.W. Sifton, his principal administrative officer. Replacements for both of these Units came from the Guides in Canada.

The Independent Force was frequently used to clear areas in the pursuit ahead of the main force as the German Lines began to collapse in 1918.  It crossed the Rhine into Germany in December 1918 and moved as far as Cologne but then in January 1919, it began the move back to England through Belgium.  In April 1919 it embarked for Canada.

After the war, the battalion and the Canadian Reserve Cyclist Company disbanded.  Some members returned to Canadian Corps of Guides Units, which, atl east on paper, still existed (until disbanded in 1929). 

Canadian Cyclist Battalion, CEF

Effective 16 May 1916 the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Divisional Cyclist Companies were amalgamated to form the Canadian Corps Cyclist Battalion, (authorized under General Order 63 1917) The 4th Divisional Cyclist Battalion in England was disbanded and the troops assigned to the Canadian Reserve Cyclist Company as reinforcements. The formation patch for the Canadian Corps cyclist was a triangle of Red, Royal blue and French Grey representing the colours of the Division patch of the three Divisional Cyclist Companies forming the unit. The Canadian Corps Cyclist Battalion was disbanded under General Order 208 of 15 November 1920.

1st Divisional Cyclist Company

Authority was issued on 14 September 1914 to form a cyclist company for inclusion in the 1st Contingent this being raised from volunteers at the Cyclist Depot. Five officers and 78 OR’s were selected forming the 1st Canadian Division Cyclist Company this sailed with 1st Contingent in October 1914 being billeted at Bustard Camp, where they were to spend the next four months under canvas. In December 1914 the establishment of the 1st Divisional Cyclist Company in England was increased by adding 200 more personnel, these being obtained from volunteers in England. The Cyclist Company of the 1st Divisional Mounted Troops sailed for France on the 8th February 1915 with a total of eight officers and 195 OR’s (and two horses). The additional troops formed the Canadian Reserve Cyclist Company at the British Army Cyclist Depot at Hounslow, attached to the British Army Cyclist Corps. The badges being worn by the 1st Divisional Cyclist Company on sailing to England were likely the 1914 dated General Service Maple Leaf patterns. The 1st Divisional Cyclist Company was disbanded under General Order 208 of 15 November 1920.

2nd Divisional Cyclist Company

The Cyclist Company of the 2nd Divisional Mounted Troops was raised at the Canadian Cyclist Depot at Camp Valcartier in November 9th 1914 with a strength of 200 All Ranks. Each Military District, with the exception of the 1st, 5th and 13th contributing a platoon. Most of the 2nd Division Cyclist Company sailed for England May 16th 1915 with a final platoon sailing on 15 June 1915. The Company settled at Dibgate Camp under canvas.

3rd Divisional Cyclist Company

The Cyclist Company of the 3rd Divisional Mounted Troops was raised in February 1916 from the Canadian Reserve Cyclist Company in England which was being replenished by volunteers from the Canadian Overseas Cyclist Depot in Canada. The infantry battalions of the 3rd Division sailed for France in the fall of 1915, followed in the spring of 1916 by the 3rd Divisional Cavalry and Cyclists. Almost immediately, in May 1916 (authorized under General Order 63 1917), the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Divisional Cyclist Companies were amalgamated to form the Canadian Corps Cyclist Battalion. The 3rd Divisional Cyclist Company was disbanded under General Order 208 of 15 November 1920.

Canadian Corps Cyclist Battalion

Effective 16 May 1916 the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Divisional Cyclist Companies were amalgamated to form the Canadian Corps Cyclist Battalion, (authorized under General Order 63 1917). The 4th Divisional Cyclist Battalion in England was disbanded and the troops assigned to the Canadian Reserve Cyclist Company as reinforcements. The formation patch for the Canadian Corps cyclist was a triangle of Red, Royal blue and French Grey representing the colours of the Division patch of the three Divisional Cyclist Companies forming the unit. The Canadian Corps Cyclist Battalion was disbanded under General Order 208 of 15 November 1920.

4th Divisional Cyclist Company

Formed in England April 1916 disbanded May 1916, the 4th Cyclist Company Divisional Mounted Troops was raised from the Canadian Reserve Cyclist Company in England in April 1916, being authorized under General Order 63 1917 with other personnel in Canada ready to sail. A shortage of accommodation in England restricted the movement of these troops from Canada. Effective 16 May 1916 the 1st 2nd and 3rd Divisional Cyclist Companies were amalgamated to form the Canadian Corps Cyclist Battalion, (authorized under General Order 63 1917).  At this time, the 4th Divisional Cyclist Battalion was disbanded and the troops in England were re-assigned to the Canadian Reserve Cyclist Company as reinforcements. Those in Canada were assigned to the Canadian Divisional Cyclist Depot. The 4th Divisional Cyclist Company was disbanded under General Order 208 of 15 November 1920.

Canadian Cyclist Draft

The Canadian Cyclist draft was raised in Military District 2 with cyclists slated for 1st through 4th Divisional Cyclist Companies. The date of the formation of the Draft is uncertain but as reference is made to the 4th Division in the regimental block numbers listing likely early in 1916. Only cap badges and shoulder titles are currently noted both by Birks.

5th Divisional Cyclist Company

The 5th Canadian Division was formed in England in 1916 and disbanded early in 1917 with the exception of the Divisional Artillery and 5th Divisional Machine Gun Battalions. Although authorized, the 5th Cyclist Company Divisional Mounted Troops was never formed.

1914-1918, Canadian Cyclist Units, Wartime Order of Battle

           The following is a brief chronological listing of the wartime Canadian Cyclists Units formed after 4 August 1914.  In September 1914, a Cyclist Company was authorized for each Canadian Division, leading to the formation of five Cyclist Companies.  1st Division Cyclists became A Company of the Canadian Corps Cyclists Battalion in May 1916.  2nd Division Cyclists Company became B Company of the Canadian Corps Cyclists Battalion, also in May 1916.  3rd Division Cyclists Company became C Company of the Canadian Corps Cyclists Battalion, also in March 1916.  1st, 2nd, and 3rd Division Cyclists (A, B, and C Companies) were amalgamated into a single Unit, “the Canadian Corps Cyclists Battalion, on 17 May 1916. 4th Division Cyclists Company was formed in February 1916 just as the Cyclists Battalion was being formed.  The 4th was broken up to become the Canadian Reserve Cyclist Company, with some members going to the 79th Battalion and others to different Units in the 4th Division. (They were given the nickname “Foreign Legion of Canadian Cyclist Corps).  5th Divisional Cyclist Company was formed in April 1916.  It was also broken up to reinforce the first three companies when casualties became heavy.  They were part of the Divisional Cyclist Depot (Canadian Reserve Cyclist Company).

[1] Melissa Parsons, The Iron Cavalry: The History of the Canadian Corps Cyclists in the Great World War, (BA Thesis, Mount Allison University, May 1995), p. 41.

[2] Edmond Cloutier, The Canadian Intelligence Corps, p. 29.

[3] Capt W. Doug Whitley, Acorn’s Corner, Intelligence Branch Journal Number 3, 1986, pp.13-15.

[4] Ibid., pp.13-15.

[5] Ibid., pp.13-15.

[6] LCol C.S. Grafton, VD, The Canadian “Emma Gees,” p. 141.  “D & E Batterieswere supported by a platoon of Cyclists [who] worked their way SE of Folies andwith the infantry entered Bouchoir in the evening.” p. 15.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3522258)

Bicycle equipped soldiers of the 12th Brigade Signal HQ, Dury, East of Arras, Sep 1918.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3194259)

Canadian Cyclist Corps, cyclist checking German dugout, Advance East of Arras, Sep 1918.

First World War medals: Military Cross, 1914-1915 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal.

Military Cross (MC)

The Military Cross can be awarded to commissioned officers of the substantive rank of Captain or below (therefore acting and temporary Majors are eligible) or Warrant Officers for distinguished and meritorious services in battle. In 1920, the terms were altered to clearly state the award was for gallant and distinguished services in action and that naval and air force officers could be awarded the cross for gallant and distinguished services on the ground.  Col W.W. “Jock” Murray, awarded the Military Cross & Bar, was Canada’s first Director of Military Intelligence (DMI).  Sir William Stephenson was awarded the Military Cross among his many medals.

1914-1915 Star

The star was awarded to all who saw service in any theatre of war against the central powers between 05 August 1914 and 31 December 1915 except those eligible for the 1914 Star. Canada considered 'overseas' to be service beyond the three mile limit and hence many RCN small ships were entitled to this star. There is no bar.

British War Medal

The British War Medal was a campaign medal of the British Empire, for service in the First World War   The medal was approved in 1919, for issue to officers and men of British and Imperial forces who had rendered service between 5 August 1914 and 11 November 1918.

Victory Medal (Inter-Allied War Medal)

The medal was awarded to all ranks of the fighting forces, to civilians under contract, and others employed with military hospitals who actually served on the establishment of a unit in a theatre of war between 05 August 1914 and 11 November 1918 (inclusive). It was also awarded to members of the British Naval mission to Russia 1919 - 1920 and for mine clearance in the North Sea between 11 November 1918 and 30 November 1919. This medal was never issued alone and was always issued with the British War Medal.

Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) awarded to personnel of the United Kingdom's Royal Air Force and other services, and formerly to officers of other Commonwealth countries, instituted for "an act or acts of valour, courage or devotion to duty whilst flying in active operations against the enemy".   Sir William Stephenson was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross among his many medals.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3214628)

Canadian Cyclist Corps, Lt Baines.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3405415)

Canadian Cyclist Corps soldier examining a notice board near Albert, France, Oct 1917.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3403557)

Canadian Cyclists on Scout duty, St. Catherines, Ontario.

Intelligence personnel serving with the Canadian Expeditionary Force performed infantry, liaison and reconnaissance duties in one of the five cyclist companies established - one per Division - in the Canadian Army. During the great advance of 1918, these personnel suffered numerous casualties as they attempted to keep the Canadian command in touch with rapidly changing circumstances on the battlefield.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3397352).

Canadian Intelligence Corps Officers interrogating two British soldiers who had been captured by the Germans after they escaped, Neuville, Vitasse, Sep 1918.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3403150)

Intelligence Officer interrogating a German PW, Feb 1918.

Canadian Intelligence officers and NCOs performed intelligence duties in HQs in the Canadian Corps, from Corps down to Brigade level.  A Counter-espionage Section, known as Intelligence (b), was created in 1918 to counter the threat posed by enemy agents.

Towards the end of the Great War many of the Cyclists were attached to Brigadier-General Brutinel’s Canadian Motor Machine Gun Brigade and supported the Canadian Corps during the 8 August 1918 Amiens offensive.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3405894)

Canadian Cyclist Corps, 2nd Battalion, CEF, Poperinghe, France, June 1916.

(Casey Rashotte Photo)

Canadian Cyclist Corps grave, Private J.H. Rogers, 47055, died 6 March 1918.

Canadian 1st Motor Machine Gun Brigade

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3395367)

Canadian 1st Motor Machine Gun Brigade Armoured Cars, April 1918.

Canadian 1st Motor Machine Gun Brigade cap badge.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3395368)

Canadian Autocar Machinegun Carrier, France, April 1918.

The Canadian Automobile Machine Gun Brigade, also known as Brutinel's Brigade or the Brutinel Brigade, was the first fully mechanized unit of the British Army.  It was established on 9 September 1914 by Canadian Brigadier-General Raymond Brutinel, who initiated the program and was the unit's first commander.  The unit played a significant part in halting the major German offensive of March 1918.  In 1918 Brutinel's force consisted of 1st and 2nd Canadian Motor MG Brigades (each of 5x8 gun batteries), Canadian Cyclist battalion, one section of medium trench-mortars mounted on lorries (plus an assumed wireless and medical support).  This totaled 80 machine guns and about 300 cyclist infantry.

First World War Aerial Photography

The First World War involved a lot of territory and a quickly changing battle, the lack of information and the element of surprise contributed to some German successes early in the war. The allies quickly took advantage of aerial reconnaissance and learned how to accurately map and monitor troop movements. The value of information from aerial reconnaissance became of vital importance, and being able to stop your enemy's aerial capabilities was paramount to success and thus the aerial 'dog fight' was born. The use of aerial reconnaissance in the First World War changed the nature of war forever.  There were several aircraft used for aerial reconnaissance throughout the war. First made of wood and then metal, the aircraft was the focus of intense development. At the same time camera systems and techniques for measuring and identifying features on the ground were being developed. These interpretation and measurement techniques, and the men and women who practiced them during war time, continued after the war and applied them to other areas such as forestry and agriculture.

From the first days of the First World War, the airplane demonstrated its ability to serve as the "eyes of the army." As the British Expeditionary Force retreated from German invaders in France, two-dozen reconnaissance airplanes of the Royal Air Force watched from over head. On August 22, 1914, British Captain L.E.O. Charlton and Lieutenant V.H.N. Wadham reported that German General Alexander von Kluck’s army was starting to prepare to surround the British Expeditionary Force, contradicting all other available intelligence. The British High Command listened to the pilots’ report and started a retreat toward Mons saving the lives of 100,000 soldiers.

A week later, French aerial reconnaissance units began reporting that the Germans were moving toward the east of Paris. Although the intelligence officer refused to listen, General Joseph-Simon Gallieni, the military commander of Paris and a supporter of aviation, did. He issued orders sending French troops to the exposed German flank. The resulting First Battle of the Marne was a victory for the French because it forced the Germans away from Paris. Meanwhile, on the Eastern Front in Poland, aerial reconnaissance reports on the movements of the Russian Army helped the Germans and Austrians stop an advance at the Battle of Tannenburg. But the result of these two battles was to push the armies fighting on both fronts into defensive positions in the trenches, in effect a stalemate that would last almost until the end of the war.

Between the Wars

After the War, a position for a Director of Military Operations and Intelligence was maintained in the Canadian Army. Corps of Guides units in Canada were converted to cyclist companies charged with protecting the main force form surprise during time of war.  After disbandment of these companies on 31 March 1929, a small staff in Ottawa and some Districts performed Intelligence duties.  In 1932, Intelligence staffs of the RCAF and Army were amalgamated.  A proposal in March 1938 by DMOI, Colonel Crerar, which would have led to creation of a Joint Service Intelligence Section in Ottawa, was not accepted.

(DND Photo)

Ford "All Terrain" Armoured Car.

(DND Photo)

Royal Canadian Dragoons 1935 Chevrolet Armoured Car.

In 1934, Ford and General Motors were each invited to build an experimental armoured car to undergo testing by the Permanent Force. The deal involved the government paying for the materials and chassis’ while the companies paid for the design work and assembly. The Ford differed from the Chevrolet in that it had dual wheels on the second and third axles, an eight-cylinder gasoline engine, and the armor plating was welded rather than riveted and bolted. Both armored cars had a maximum speed of 30 mph and the Ford was able to do 8 mph in reverse. Plans called for arming the vehicles with the Vickers Mk. VI medium machine gun but these were delayed as the feed mechanisms were on the wrong side, having been originally designed by the British for right hand drive vehicles. The cars underwent testing at Petawawa, Ontario with the Royal Canadian Dragoons where it was found that both performed satisfactorily. The ten wheel Ford performed the best in off-road tests and the six wheel Chevrolet excelled on roads. Orders for further cars failed to materialize due to budgetary limitations and the Ford experimental car was shipped to Winnipeg for use by the Lord Strathcona’s Horse. The Chevrolet remained with the RCD. Other than the handful of Carden-Loyd carriers obtained in the early 1930’s, these two armoured cars were the only armored vehicle procurements by the Canadian Permanent Force until the acquisition of a number of British Mk. VI B Light Tanks in 1938.

(DND Photo)

Canadian Carden Loyd Machine Gun Carrier Mk VIa, Canadian Armoured Fighting Vehicle School, Camp Borden, Ontario. 12 Carden Lloyd tankettes were supplied to Canada between 1930 and 1931, remaining in service until 1938.

1939-1946,Canadian Defence Intelligence Effort

Extracts from a paper by BGen James S. Cox (Ret’d).

Introduction.  Canada’s Second World War history is built on the magnificent exploits of our soldiers, sailors and airmen. It is an engaging read.  However, among the less well-known and rarely discussed activities are those of Canada’s wartime defence intelligence programme. What little literature exists tends to focus on ULTRA secrets,[1] saboteurs, Camp X or the secret operations of Intrepid.[2]  As exciting as these stories may be, they fail to tell the full nature and workings of Canadian wartime defence intelligence.

           By way of partial redress, this paper outlines the development of the Canadian defence intelligence effort between the years 1939-46.  The focus is on departmental-level defence intelligence activity at the strategic and, where relevant, the operational level.[3]  This fairly narrow and specific focus is aimed mainly at the three service intelligence staffs within the Department of National Defence (DND).  It also touches upon relationships with the Chiefs of Staff Committee and the Cabinet War Committee and intelligence relationswith other government departments and major allies.

Regrettably, this essay is incomplete.  While there is a reasonable amount of Navy and Army intelligence historical material, Air Force historical documents rarely discuss intelligence matters. Nonetheless, what is presented here is sufficient to show that Canadian defence intelligence was as engaged as any other military element and that, in fact, it played a significant and little known role in giving Canada an influential and enduring place within the world’s closest and most important intelligence alliance.

The focus in this paper is on the true intelligence function.[4]  It tells of the establishment and nurturing of separate service intelligence organizations, each of which developed in its own way.  From their separate efforts however, came secret, or “special,” intelligence, a euphemism to cover information gained by means that military authorities did not want the enemy to know about.  Initially, thanks to official censorship, it included information acquired by reading intercepted mail, scrutinizing intercepted telegraph messages and listening in on intercepted wireless transmissions and signals.[5]  During the period 1939-46, special intelligence was instrumental in ensuring Canada continued to play an important intelligence role among the western Allies.  

           In the following pages, background information presents the context in which defence intelligence existed in the years immediately before the Second World War.  The Canadian defence intelligence effort during the period 1939-41 is then discussed, followed by an examination of defence intelligence in the really tough war years between 1942 and late 1944.  Then the paper deals with the period 1945-46, when the Canadian defence intelligence organization fought for its post-war existence, while facing a new paradigm of cold war.  A concluding section ends the work.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3622975)

Prime Minister Mackenzie-King, c1942

Background.  By the eve the Second World War started, Prime Minister Mackenzie-King (1921-26, 1926-30,and 1935-48) had been in office for nearly 12 of the last 18 years.  Although never publicly announced, among his national policies, one thing had had become clear; he strove to avoid anything that could injure Canada’s national unity.[6]  His grand strategy to execute that policy, again never enunciated in public but clear in practice, was to avoid any foreign involvement that the Canadian Parliament did not support.  He specifically did not want to be a victim of lingering British imperial tendencies to dictate or control Canadian actions.  In everything the country might be asked to do, King wanted it to be decided and supported by all Canadians.  Accordingly, his defence policy expected that Canada would be involved in the inevitable upcoming war, but that the form and extent of any commitment would be decided by Parliament. The military strategy supporting defence policy aimed to offer such support as could be reasonably provided, without causing undue national cultural or economic strain.

Imperial Defence Conference in 1937, with representatives of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, India, Southern Rhodesia and Burma.

Michael Joseph Savage, New Zealand, Joseph Lyons, Australia, (possibly) Godfrey Martin Huggins, Rhodesia, King George VI, William Lyon Mackenzie-King, Canada, General James Barry Munnik Hertzog, South Africa.

(Bassano & Vandyk Studios Photo)

Portrait of Neville Chamberlain (1869–1940), 3 Feb 1936.

It seemed that most of those attending the Imperial Defence Conference in 1937 expected a war in Europe before too long, but King and British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain[7] (1937-40) were kindred spirits in that they believed conflict could be avoided and that they personally might be able to do something in that direction.[8]  King was relentless, even obstinate, in his perpetual campaign to remain free of anything that might hint at a commitment for Canada, particularly any commitment relating to participation in a possible war.  He had brought the Joint Staff Committee[9] with him to London, but the military members were strictly forbidden to discuss anything with British officers that might suggest a commitment.[10]

           A year later King avidly supported Chamberlain’s Munich appeasement[11] and with war apparently avoided, he was even more determined not to be seen to be planning for one. Vincent Massey, the Canadian High Commissioner in London had been forbidden from attending the High Commissioners’ collective meetings chaired by the Secretary of State for the Dominions,[12] so that Canadian representatives could not even be consulted about “possible” involvement.

However, many saw appeasement for what it was and by 1938, with war considered probable, the higher direction and control of intelligence was being discussed in National Defence Headquarters (NDHQ).  On 19 March, Col Harry Crerar, the Director of Military Operations and Intelligence(DMOI) on the General Staff, suggested that a Joint Service Intelligence Section be formed, to operate as a sub-committee of the Joint Staff.  Discussion ensued, but by 22 July, the Canadian Naval Service staff had made it clear they were already part of the Royal Navy’s (RN) worldwide organization and that their plans were already based on intelligence controlled by a higher authority - in London.[13]  It saw no need to further pool its intelligence resources and suggested, instead, the establishment of a Central War Room to coordinate operations and intelligence reports provided by various agencies. The Air staff agreed.  They wanted each service to control its own intelligence organization. Despite such unsupportive advice, Col Crerar put his original idea forward anyway, but the Joint Staff declined to act on it. The Air Force ceased its collaboration with the Army[14] and each of the three services went their own way.  At the end of 1938, defence intelligence had fragmented into three parochial staffs who were not much interested in collaborating with each other.


1939-1941: Up And Running From A Standing Start.  During the period 1939-41, Canadian defence intelligence grew, from virtually nothing, to a functioning capability that carved out its place in the national war effort. Initially, it was more a group of enthusiastic amateurs, than a cohesive function.  It began as a tool of official censorship and quickly attracted the attention of government offices because of the advantage, particularly in national security, it provided.  Unfortunately, just as defence intelligence was finding its “sea legs,” the Allied war effort entered its darkest days.  Defence intelligence would nonetheless provide much of the light showing the way forward.  By the end of 1941, immediately after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the United States (US) entry into the war and the collapse of the British imperial apparatus in the Far East, Canadian defence intelligence found itself filling a critical niche in the overall Allied intelligence effort.

As 1939 dawned, the Canadian government had no formally established method of gathering or producing foreign or military intelligence.  Its knowledge of world affairs came largely through the good offices of the British Secretary of State for Dominions.  The Foreign Office, the War Office and the Admiralty also provided diplomatic and military intelligence of some value, but eight years after the 1931 signing of the Statute of Westminster, Canada still gathered no intelligence of its own.[15]

That Canada still relied on the British to provide traditional defence intelligence is perhaps not that surprising, given the strong naval and military links that continued between senior Canadian officers and their British counterparts. In 1939 eight of the senior staff appointments within DND were filled by officers who had completed the British Imperial Defence College. Sixteen senior officers had completed the British Army, or Royal Air Force staff colleges. Even the Deputy Minister of National Defence and Vice President of the Defence Council, MGen (Retired) L.R. LaFlèche had served in England during the First World War.[16]

Things changed over the next few years.  The DND Report for the fiscal year ending March 1939 had only one intelligence entry.  In a part containing the Report from the Military Operations and Intelligence Branch of the Militia Service, the text read, “The work of collecting, collating and disseminating military intelligence has been well maintained.”[17]  In the 1940 report, the Air Staff announced that “the Intelligence Section has been organized and arrangements have been made for the care and distribution of secret and confidential documents.”[18]  In March 1941, surprisingly, intelligence was not mentioned in the Militia Report.  However, the Air Staff report featured a group of paragraphs describing the work of a new Directorate of Intelligence, which was responsible for “collection and dissemination of air intelligence, procurement, custody and distribution of secret and confidential documents, policy regarding maps, direction of air surveys and liaison with foreign air attaches.[19]

Nothing of naval intelligence is found in these reports, but the Naval Service intelligence staff had arguably the most active, and perhaps most significant, development throughout this period.  The Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) was already extensively involved with the British Admiralty’s World Wide Control of Shipping Organization[20] and Naval Service Headquarters (NSHQ) in Ottawa included a significant number of RN officers “on loan,” including a Cdr as Director of Naval Intelligence (DNI).[21]  Similar to challenges faced by other RCN elements, the NSHQ Intelligence Branch worked to overcome lingering dependence on the Operational Intelligence Centre in the British Admiralty Office.


Outline structure.  During the period 1939-46, DND cooperated with other government departments, such as External Affairs, Finance, Transport and Munitions and Supply.  The Minister of Defence and his senior officials were also engaged with various Cabinet Committees, such as the War Committee, the Committee on Internal Security and the Committee onShipping and Transportation.[22]  Defence intelligence was therefore linked, however tenuously, to important government wartime activities.

By the end of 1940, the defence intelligence structure had adopted the form it would retain throughout the war.  Each of the three service intelligence staffs had its own links to allied Britishequivalents.  Canadian Military Headquarters(CMHQ) in London reported to NDHQ in Ottawa and provided the main link to the War Office in Britain.  In parallel, the Canadian High Commission in London acquired foreign intelligence for the Department of External Affairs, from the British Secretary of State for Dominions, the War Office and the Admiralty. As well, all three services and External Affairs had senior representatives sitting with US counterparts on the Permanent Joint Board of Defence (PJBD).  Finally, from 1941, each service also had a senior representative in Washington.

In Canada, Joint Commands were set up on each coast, where Navy ships, Army units and Air Force coastal patrol squadrons cooperated to defend the country from attack.  Most of the work was done by the Navy and Air Force, particularly on the east coast where the demands of anti-submarine warfare became extreme.  Much of the intelligence accomplishment here came at the tactical level. Although it was a rudimentary practice in late 1940, patrol aircraft would range hundreds of miles out into the Northwest Atlantic in search of German U-boats and when they found one, a naval ship would be despatched to deal with it.  Many times, enemy submarines were found closer to Canadian shores.  Although crews were keen, records show that it was not until 1943 that cooperation became frequent and effective.[23]

Within NDHQ, the three service intelligence chiefs met as the Canadian JointIntelligence Committee (CJIC), a body subordinate to the Chiefs of Staff Committee.  From the Chiefs of Staff, intelligence advice could go to the Defence Council, chaired by the Minister of National Defence (MND).  The Associate Minister for Air was Vice Chairman. Members included the Deputy Ministers for the Naval, Militia and Air services, the Chief of the Naval Service, the Chief of the General Staff (CGS) and the Senior Air Officer.[24]  The Minister could carry intelligence advice to the Cabinet War Committee.

Organization was one thing, but actually producing intelligence was something else.  Over three years, all three services built active intelligence organizations, but it had not been easy.  The first serious intelligence efforts came about mainly as a result of geography and censorship.


Location.  Canada found itself well-situated in a number of relevant ways. In 1939, most of the world’s transoceanic telegraph cables touched either Britain itself or some Commonwealth territory. Cables emanating from Halifax and Vancouver linked the US to Europe and the Far East respectively.  Secondary cables from the islands of St. Pierre-Miquelon ran to France and from New York to Italy via the Azores and the Strait of Gibraltar. South America was linked only to the US.  The end result of all this was that most telegrams leaving the western hemisphere passed through Canada.[25]

The world’s mail system also had a relatively simple structure.  Letters from North America to Europe normally went through Britain or Bermuda, but letters to Mediterranean countries went through Gibraltar.  South American mail went through Trinidad. Vancouver handled much of the Mexican and US mail going to and from the Far East.  Britain could thus intercept and examine much of the mail from enemies and friends alike, but cooperation with Canada was essential.[26]

           At the onset of war and the activation of the War Measures Act, the Canadian government had authorized censorship of the mail, whereby intercepted mail was read for “contents of value…to the prosecution of the war.”[27]  LCol W.W. (Jock) Murray, a First World War veteran and a Parliamentary reporter, was recruited to oversee this operation, as Chief Telegraph and Telephone Censor.  Not being content to let the information come to him, Murray hired a number of telegraph operators to act as telegraph censors and deployed them in the offices of major telegraph companies in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver, to read all messages leaving Canada.  Messages of interest were copied and sent to the newly established Information Section of the Military Intelligence staff in NDHQ.[28]  From there they were sent to Britain.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3220105)

Lieutenant-General Maurice Arthur Pope, CB, MC, shown here as a Captain in the Royal Canadian Engineers during the First World War.

           However, in 1939, there was still more that could be done.  Col Maurice Pope, now DMOI,[30] had earlier drawn up pre-war censorship plans that exempted two transit cables running from the US, through Canada, to Italy and Spain.  Now that both Italy and Spain were clearly Fascist, Canadian authorities quietly defied international convention and tapped both lines.  By the end of the year, Col Pope was describing the intelligence gained as being of “in estimable value.”[31]

           As another example of what could be done, consider one project completed by LCol Murray.  In early 1939, before hostilities began, the Italian dictator Mussolini sought American dollars to finance military production. He devised a scheme whereby Italians in the US deposited US dollars in an Italian government account and named a beneficiary in Italy.  The idea appealed to Italian-Americans wishing to send money to poorer relatives in Italy. American banks however, insisted on full names and addresses. Many of the Italian beneficiaries were military personnel serving with their units in the field.  LCol Murray, using taps on the US-Italy cable, gradually built up a comprehensive picture of the deployed Italian order-of-battle in the Libyan Desert and Ethiopia.[32]

           As important as these developments in Ottawa were, the intelligence section set up at CMHQ was one of the most critical links in the entire Canadian intelligence chain during the Second World War.  CMHQ was authorized on 26 Oct 1939 and Brigadier Harry Crerar was appointed BGen Staff (BGS), the senior staff officer in the headquarters.  Situated in London, it was ideally placed to act as a listening post on behalf of both NDHQ and the Canadian Army Overseas.  From the beginning it gathered information on British plans and policies for Ottawa and for Canadian formations in Britain.  Initially, it controlled the cipher protection of Army messages between Ottawa and London and was responsible for security liaison between Canada, the Canadian formations in England and the British security agencies.  It had a direct role in censorship, prisoner of war handling, recruiting and training for intelligence personnel.

(IWM Photo, CH 12897)

After arriving in England for the Imperial conference, William Lyon Mackenzie King, Prime Minister of Canada, is greeted by is greeted by General H.D.G. Crerar, at that time C- in-C Canadian Forces in Europe, and Lieutenant-General Kenneth Stuart, 28 April 1944.  

           Shortly after opening CMHQ, Brigadier Crerar moved to organize the flow of intelligence, because he was not happy that the “flow of intelligence to the centre” was properly organized.[33]  He ordered his GSO1,[34] LCol E.L.M. Burns, to visit the War Office every day and told him he wanted to provide weekly reports to the CGS in Ottawa.[35]  Otherwise, CMHQ routinely received the daily summary given to the High Commissioner by the Dominions Office, the notes from the weekly meeting between the Director ofMilitary Operations (DMO) at the War Office and the BGS,[36] a weekly Intelligence Commentary, weekly Intelligence Summaries on China and Japan, a daily Intelligen ce Signal, and a weekly report from the Foreign Broadcast Monitoring Service of the BBC.  From time to time, the War Office also issued tactical and technical notes on the German Army, which were sent to the CGS and the 1s Canadian Division.

           Even with all this incoming information, CMHQ was still unable to promulgate a full intelligence assessment for Ottawa because they were not privy to the high quality intelligence found in the British Chiefs of Staff appreciations.  However, in early 1940, in a welcome display of generosity, a Canadian military representative was allowed to come and read the appreciations and extract anything Ottawa needed.  With the benefit of the new information, on 1 Feb 1940, LCol Burns prepared the first Canadian intelligence appreciation in two copies, one to be transmitted to Ottawa, the other for the High Commission. In April, the Officer Commanding the RCAF in Britain, Group Capt G.V. Walsh asked for a copy.  By February 1943, there were 45 copies of these appreciations in circulation, 14 of them within CMHQ alone.[37]

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3203279)

Lieutenant-General H.D.G. Crerar (right) turning over command of the 1st Canadian Corps to Major-General E.L.M. Burns, 3 March 1944.

Air Intelligence. As of 23 May 1940, Squadron Leader R.L. Logan, a First World War pilot who spent the last years of that war in a German prison camp, was at work as the Director of Intelligence (Air) –hereafter referred to a DAI - in the Chief of the Air Staff organization in NDHQ. He was obviously doing good work because by November he had been promoted to Wing Cdr (W/C). It seems he had faced a challenge in raising an Air Force intelligence organization and, in common with the present author, found the records to be gaunt. In a lengthy attachment to a letter to the Air Officer Commanding (AOC) Eastern Air Command on 29 November 1941, entitled “Notes on the Organization of the Intelligence Service of the RCAF,” he started by declaring, “Up to the present time no written record has been found,by the writer, of any clearly defined policy governing the organization or activities of the Intelligence Service of the RCAF”[38] Although some officers did fill the established positions as “intelligence officers,” most of them, according to W/C Logan, “are not functioning as such, for the simple reason that neither they nor their Commanding Officers have been told what they are supposed to do.”

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3218424)

Squadron Leader R.A. Logan, CAF, c1922.

           Logan had sent a similar note to other subordinate air commands in his continuing effort to establish a comprehensive Air Intelligence network across the RCAF. Despite the times, Eastern Command did not reply to W/C Logan’s letter and he had to send a “polite hastener” on 19 December. The AOC then sent a supportive reply on 6 January 1942. Subsequent correspondence over the first three months of 1942 shows considerable staff activity, particularly on the east coast, to install Air Intelligence Officers at various stations and headquarters, in accordance with W/C Logan’s initiatives. For all he accomplished, it is interesting to note that W/C Logan received no credit for this work in Douglas’ The Creation of a National Air Force.

           Nonetheless, as mentioned above, Douglas does present a comprehensive discussion of RCAF operations in Canada throughout the war years. Of particular interest is the material dealing with joint RCN and RCAF operations on both coasts.  The defence of Canada and the anti-submarine campaign off the east coast is a main story and the archive files are filled with numerous memos and messages describing the tactical intelligence interplay between RCAF and RCN forces in the Northwest Atlantic area, in the hunt for enemy submarines.  Prominent in that material are intelligence reports that percolate to all levels of air headquarters and staffs. Logan had done wonders.


Navy interception.  Meanwhile, the Naval staff had not been idle.  In July 1939, Cdr Eric Brand RN arrived at Canada’s small NSHQ as DNI,[39] but his real duty, if war came, was to manage Canadian shipping convoy assembly and protection.[40]  When war broke, he was provided with an assistant, Royal Naval Reserve officer Lt Cdr John (Jock) Barbe-Pougnet de Marbois, until then a language teacher at Upper Canada College (UCC) in Toronto.  He was 51 years old and a First World War veteran, who spoke six languages fluently, got by in Arabic and Turk and dabbled in another dozen or so far-eastern languages.  Barbe-Pougnet de Marbois, a larger-than-life character who was not shy, was put in charge of wireless interception.

In the First World War the British had discovered that a radio transmitter could be located by aiming antennae of two widely displaced receivers toward the incoming signal.  When plotted on the map, the bearings intersected at the source of the transmission.  The lines formed a “Y” and the intelligence thus gained came to be termed Y intelligence. By the start of the Second World War such high-frequency transmission direction finding had developed into a distinct activity with the acronym “HF/DF”or “huff-duff.” “Huff-duff” was routine, but valuable work required to locate enemy submarines and ships at sea.  With this knowledge, convoys could be re-routed around German U-boats and Allied warships could be directed into the area to destroy the enemy.  Eventually, Y intelligence came to mean the interception and interpretation of radio transmissions other than HF/DF.

           Concurrently, the Department of Transport (DOT) was responsible for peacetime international radio communications systems in Canada and a number of its stations had a direction finding capability.  Barbe-Pougnet de Marbois negotiated DOT agreement for the use of their east coast stations.[41]  Within two weeks of his appointment, Barbe-Pougnet de Marbois had succeeded in having bearings on suspect wireless transmissions from the Atlantic sent to the Admiralty in London and NSHQ in Ottawa.[42]  In time he was also cooperating with the RCMP and the Army, who, at that point, had no direction finding capability.

German codes had not yet been broken in 1939, so the British Admiralty could only do simple wireless traffic analysis and direction finding.  Accordingly, all they needed from the NSHQ were just the bearings, call signs and broadcast frequencies of enemy transmissions. Barbe-Pougnet de Marbois , true to form, wanted to do more and created a small “prototype” operational intelligence centre that he called the Foreign Intelligence Service (FIS), in which he did his own traffic analysis and plotted the movement of enemy shipping on a wall map in his tiny office.  Royal Canadian Navy Voluntary Reserve Lt C.H. “Herbie” Little, a former German language student of De Marbois at UCC and a Rhodes Scholar, was recruited to assist and found himself reading a number of foreign language newspapers, from which he had to cull shipping intelligence.  Little was particularly occupied with reading German newspapers and transcribing intercepted German wireless transmissions.[43]  However meagre this effort was in reality, De Marbois and Little approached their work with professionalism and zeal.  Not only had they started to keep their own plots of German submarines, they were also the first to identify messages of German spies being transmitted from Mexico and these would eventually become of immense interest to the British and Americans.


Army interception.  Not to be outdone, the Army was also interested in decoding intercepted messages.  The Director of Signals set up a small wireless monitoring team at Rockcliffe Airport in Ottawa, but it was soon overwhelmed with so many enciphered messages it could not process them all.  An officer was sent to Britain to find out how to handle the load, but after this officer had arrived, Col Pope, on LCol Murray’s urging, sent an urgent message instructing him to “secure all possible information regarding cipher and code systems used by other nations,” to assist Canadian Army code-breaking work.  An extra “few days” were allotted for the mission.  An amused War Office advised that is was “useless to expect him to obtain any useful knowledge of such methods in a few days.”[44]

Undaunted, Pope suggested to the Chiefs of Staff that Canada solicit British help to setup a Canadian cryptanalysis unit to deal with German, Italian and Spanish wireless traffic.  British authorities were sympathetic to the idea. Canadian stations were indeed receiving transmissions that could not be heard by the British because of the “radio skip” phenomenon caused by ionospheric conditions, but sober, expert advice explaining the magnitude of effort and cost of taking on such a task unnerved the Canadians.  They were also told that, in any event, only the British Admiralty and War Office had the strategic and operational capability to act on intelligence gained from deciphered messages.  There was no need for Canada to have a separate cryptanalysis capability at this point.  Pope’s idea was dropped and the Army continued to work with the British Radio Security Service (RSS) on simple radio interception, for the time being.

Ottawa was a good listening location and the Rockcliffe station, as mentioned earlier, was hearing more than they could handle. New receivers were built and the staff grew by another dozen operators.  In late 1940 Lt Edward Drake took command of the station and LCol Murray was moved out of his censorship job to take over the Army’s wireless intelligence programme.[45]

When France fell in 1940 the strategic situation suddenly became grim.  German submarines began to appear throughout the North Atlantic and their success grew. Italy had already entered the war in support of Germany.  Spain, although still officially neutral, was teetering toward joining the Axis. Britain wa snow in danger of direct invasion.

Murray and Drake started to listen to Spanish transmissions to see if they could determine Spain’s order-of-battle, as Murray had done earlier with the Italians.  They were successful.  In early 1941 Murray sent the War Office almost the entire Spanish Army, Navy and Air Force orders-of-battle and the identity of the head of the Spanish Secret Service and the name of the Spanish Army officer responsible for overseeing executions.[46]  Murray and Drake together imagined greater prospects for success, if only the Army had the requisite experts to break the mounting treasure of enciphered messages.

           From 10-23 November 1940, LCol Ed Drake built and directed the Discrimination Unit which collected SIGINT during the war.  (The DU disbanded on 31 Aug 1946).  “His imagination, zeal, and flair made this very demanding branch of Intelligence the international success that it was.”  His efforts “made it possible for DMI to provide some original material, in partial payment for the valuable and willing assistance given Canada by her Allies.  He also visited the US Army’s Chief Signals Officer, General Joseph Mouborgne, who was responsible for the US Army cryptanalysis unit, The Signal Intelligence Service.  Mouborgne was keen to help and promised to provide secret pamphlets explaining the latest techniques.  Drake went home excited and drafted a report suggesting the establishment of a joint cryptographic bureau, staffed by suitably qualified people who could be recruited from the Bureau of Statistics.  The RCMP would be invited to participate as well.

The DMOI sent the report to the Chiefs of Staff. The Navy quickly rejected the idea citing the cost and effort of raising such an organization.  At the end of November 1940, the Chiefs ofStaff formally denied Edward Drake‘s suggestion, ruling that, “We should continue to use the United Kingdom facilities for this work,” and adding, “The cost of such an organization in Canada could not be justified at this time.”[47]  This was the second occasion that the idea of a Canadian cryptographic unit had come up and failed to gain traction in military circles because of expertise and resource problems.  Not until there was a specific Canadian need would the idea surface a third time and when it did, it took root.


External Affairs interception.  When the French capitulated, their new government moved to Vichy and continued to govern its various overseas territories. Monsieur René Ristelhueber was the Vichy representative in Ottawa.  His wireless messages and other Vichy transmissions were routinely intercepted by Canadian stations and sent to the British Government Code and Cipher School (GCCS) for decoding and translation.  The Canadian External Affairs department had more than a passing interest in learning what the Vichy French thought about wartime attitudes in Quebec and whether they might try to influence opinion in that province. Britain had broken off diplomatic relations with the Vichy regime, but Churchill had apparently encouraged King to continue recognizing them, so that there would be a Vichy official in Ottawa to provide a “window” on what was happening at home.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3194639)

Rt. Hon. W.L. Mackenzie King and Mr. Norman Robertson attending the Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Conference, 1 May 1944.

In early 1941 however, with Britain facing growing German power on land and sea, her plate was understandably full with more pressing decoding work.  Perhaps, suggested the War Office, the Canadians might like to consider setting up a cryptographic bureau of their own. This time the idea stuck, largely because it became known to Norman Robertson, the Undersecretary of State for External Affairs and Dr. Chalmers Jack MacKenzie, the head of the National Research Council (NRC).  The NRC had earlier received a generous budget for defence research.

(CNS Photo)

Dr. Chalmers Jack MacKenzie, the head of the National Research Council (NRC), one of the great figures in the development of science and technology in Canada.

(Doug Robertson Photo)

Hugh Keenleyside

A fledgling cryptographic committee had been set up chaired by Hugh Keenleyside of External Affairs.  It also included T. A. Stone, the External Affairs member of the Cabinet Censorship Committee, LCol Murray from the Army and Cdr Brand and Lt (N) Little from Naval Intelligence.  Robertson and MacKenzie became members too, as did now BGen Maurice Pope, the Vice Chief of the General Staff (VCGS).[49]  Plans for anew cryptographic research unit were approved and it was agreed the unit would come under the administrative control of the NRC, while reporting to External Affairs.[50]  A formal supervisory committee was struck, the Y Committee, with Stone as its chair, along with LCol Murray, Lt (N) Little,[51] an RCMP representative and one from Censorship.  As a cover name, the new cryptographic unit would be called the Examination Unit. All wireless intercepts would be forwarded to the Examination Unit for decryption, analysis and subsequent dissemination.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3226829)

Signing of the Mutual Aid Pact with the Fighting French. (Seated l-r) Commander Gabriel Bonneau and Prime Minister W.L. Mackenzie King; (standing, l-r) H. Measures, T.A. Stone, G.R. Duval, G. Paul-Boncour, and M. Dumont, April 1933.

Dark days.  By the end of 1941, all three service staffs in NDHQ were producing weekly intelligence reports, but these were more a compendium of informative notes on strategic enemy developments, gathered from a number of other sources such as CMHQ in London, the British War Office, the Admiralty, External Affairs and their various Canadian delegations abroad, and newspaper clippings.[52]

I nthe larger picture, as 1941 came to a close, the Allied war effort was reaching its nadir.  France and the Netherlands had fallen in 1940, Nazi armies were deep into Russia, British forces were bottled up near Cairo in North Africa, German U-boats were becoming even more successful in destroying Allied shipping in the North Atlantic, the Japanese Navy had destroyed much of the Unites States Navy (USN) fleet in a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor and Canada had lost two battalions when Hong Kong fell to the Japanese at the end of the year.

In spite of all that was going on there seemed to be no strong call for intelligence from the political leadership in Ottawa.  In King’s diary of 7 December 1941,[53] he records the extensive cabinet discussion dealing with the formulation of Canada’s declaration of war on Japan.  On Page nine of nine pages dictated for that day, there is the only brief entry that may indicate any sort of intelligence was delivered to the Cabinet.  It reads, “We had the Chiefs of Staff in and listened to their representations of what had occurred, and as to their views on Canada’s security.”

At the working level in most government departments however, much was being done to prosecute the war effort.  Defence intelligence had gone from a standing start in 1939 to producing routine intelligence reports for senior leadership within NDHQ and providing raw direction finding and wireless interception material to the Admiralty’s Operational Intelligence Centre, the GCCS and the RSS in Britain. All three Canadian services now had independent – perhaps too independent – intelligence staffs, including Navy and Army radio interception elements and a secret Examination Unit had been established within the NRC.  As far as it had come, Canadian defence intelligence still had a long way to go.

(DND Photo)

1944, RMC, Canadian War Intelligence Course, 8 Nov – 20 Dec 1944.

1942-1944: War Work.  From 1942, Canadian defence intelligence was swept up in a surge of Allied intelligence activity, generated largely by the powerful effect of the US entry into the war.  When the US went on a war-footing, they tended to take the lead in everything. However, the US was strategically faced with a two-front war and decisions had to be made.  Canadian defence intelligence was stretched between supporting US strategic interests in the Pacific theatre and continuing support to North Atlantic shipping operations.  Again, largely led by naval initiatives, Canadian defence intelligence grew to support RCN autonomy in the Northwest Atlantic at the same time it became important to the American effort in the Far East.

 HYDRA, Camp X.

Army Intelligence.  On 27 June 1942, as a natural consequence of an expanding wartime staff, the Army moved to mimic the other services and establish a separate Intelligence Directorate within the General Staff, entirely separate from the Operations and Plans Directorate.  LCol Murray was promoted and appointed Director of Military Intelligence (DMI). It is curious though, to see that the new DMI was to be responsible for “all aspects of recruiting, training, and deploying Intelligence personnel, and for the many details of Intelligence and Intelligence-associated administration.”[54]  There appears to have been no real operational responsibility here and indeed, Col Murray’s duties specifically excluded anything to do with HYDRA, the secret British Security Coordination (BSC) interception activity at Camp X, outside Oshawa, Ontario. Liaison with HYDRA and BSC remained with the Staff Duties Directorate, but by 1944, largely through the pressure of informal arrangements, liaison with BSC had become a formal function of DMI.

(DND Photo)

MI 1Section, DMI, 13 December 1944.

Front Row: Capt J.K. Ross, Capt R.F. Macey, Maj R.L. Archibald, Maj P. Geymonat, LCol O. Eadie, Maj C. Chauveau, Maj A.F.P. Freeman, Capt A. Hutchison.

Centre Row: Lt R.W. Jones, Cpl B.G.C. Millar, Pte M.E. Porter, Sgt C. Feingold, Pte G.L.M. Deeks, LCpl C. Hartz, Miss P. Chartrand, Sgt K. McCormack, Cpl E.L. Rice, Pte M.E.A. McLaren, Cpl C.N. Clark, Lt G.T. Scott.

Rear Row: CSM H.W. Warner, Sgt O.A. Smith, Cpl J.H.P. Dorval, SSgt W.A. Hicke, Sgt C.W. Cameron, Sgt G. Seguin, Cpl J.H. Wright, Cpl V. Beeudin, Sgt T.J. Kennedy, Sgt M.J. Dunlop, and Pte H.B. Frenois.


Under Col Murray, DMI adopted the structure it would retain for the remainder of the war.[55]  Military Intelligence 1 (MI 1) monitored the global war situation and dealt with intelligence on military operations, relying mainly on reports from field commanders.  It had five sections, each covering an area of the world, as well as a library and map department.  With Canadian field commanders being subordinate to other Allied commanders, the value of this branch was mainly found in providing information to the Chiefs of Staff. MI 2 consisted of three Special Wireless Stations (Ottawa, Point Grey and Victoria), with a headquarters element called the Discrimination Unit, all under now Capt Ed Drake.  MI 3 was the Army security staff, under LCol Eric Acland and his primary responsibility was to keep an aggressive watch on Canadian soldiers with suspected subversive backgrounds or intentions.  MI 4 ran Prisoner of War (POW) camps and mail.

On 2 June, Col Murray was appointed the Chairman of the Y Sub-Committee of the Chiefs of Staff Committee[56] and solidified his position as the “main” intelligence appointment in NDHQ.  He was certainly involved, in one way or another, in all intelligence initiatives.  The minutes of that meeting show a list of members, among whom is found Squadron Leader H. Ronald “Ronnie” Stewart of the RCAF.  This is the first time his name appears as a representative of DAI.[57]

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4327385)

Squadron Leader H.R. Stewart, RCAF, 12 September 1940.

Given the nature of dispersed land operations, most Army intelligence came from overseas headquarters.  Without many sources of their own, DMI was in no position to offer much value-added judgement to intelligence reports coming from field commanders, but DMI did what it could to keep senior leaders in Ottawa informed. Formal negotiations to obtain US intelligence began as soon as the US entered the war. Once such exchanges started, DMI established an Information Room (Info Room) within NDHQ, to be used for providing intelligence briefings to senior officers.  By 1944 that job had become more onerous, particularly after D-Day, 6 June 1944. Maj S. Robert Elliot in Scarlet to Green, has described the daily briefing process as follows:

At 0830 each morning, CMHQ received an advance copy of the Chief of the Imperial Staff Summary that was delivered daily at the War Room of the War Office at 0900.  It also received reports from Rear HQ 21 Army Group[58] and from the ETO USA.[59]  All were forwarded to Ottawa. Col O. Eadie (MI 1 in Ottawa) asked London to provide, in addition, a daily Situation Report that he could take to the Prime Minister, to Col Ralston (a strong supporter of DMI), the CGS and Deputies.  He asked for specific order-of-battle information, a résumé (sic) of the Allied and enemy situation in both Italy and North-West Europe, the total Canadian casualties, and the total strength in France.

Colonel O. Eadie.

It seems, however, that this capability never did develop to its full potential.  When he became Minister of Defence, General McNaughton complained to the CGS that he was not satisfied with the Info Room and not only wanted more information, but wanted it “fully and properly interpreted.”  Apparently General McNaughton had visited the Info Room while serving as CGS and was less than impressed then too.  The CGS at the time, LGen Murchie, pointed out to the Minister that the Intelligence Staff was doing all it could “with the scanty input it received.”[61]

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 5055154)

Lieutenant=General J.C. Murchie, Chief-of-Staff, CMHQ, c1942.

 Lieutenant-General Andre G.L. McNaughton, PC, CH, CB, CMG, DSO, CD, when he was GOC First Canadian Army, c1942.

Navy Intelligence.  Earlier in this period, the Navy took an important step to formalize the management of higher naval issues generally and intelligence issues in particular.  On 9 Feb 1942, a Naval Board was authorized to “advise the Minister of National Defence for Naval Services[62] on all matters relating exclusively to the Naval Service and on all matters relating to that Service as are referred to it by the said Minister.”[63]  It had six members and the duties of the First and Second Naval Members included “General Naval Policy and Organization, including operations, plans, Intelligence (sic) and general control.”[64]  This move came about in the middle of a complicated campaign by the RCN to gain autonomy over its operations in the Northwest Atlantic[65]

(Imperial Japanese Navy - Official U.S. Navy Photo, NH 50930)

Photograph taken from a Japanese plane during the torpedo attack on ships moored on both sides of Ford Island shortly after the beginning of the Pearl Harbor attack. View looks about east, with the supply depot, submarine base and fuel tank farm in the right center distance. A torpedo has just hit USS West Virginia on the far side of Ford Island (center). Other battleships moored nearby are (from left): Nevada, Arizona, Tennessee (inboard of West Virginia), Oklahoma (torpedoed and listing) alongside Maryland, and California. On the near side of Ford Island, to the left, are light cruisers Detroit and Raleigh, target and training ship Utah and seaplane tender Tangier. Raleigh and Utah have been torpedoed, and Utah is listing sharply to port. Japanese planes are visible in the right center (over Ford Island) and over the Navy Yard at right. U.S. Navy planes on the seaplane ramp are on fire.

After the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, the Army hurried its construction of a Special Wireless Station at Victoria.  Anew DOT intercept station at Point Grey near Vancouver added three more receivers.  In the meantime, Cdr De Marbois had built hisFIS to over 200 personnel, analyzing wireless traffic of German, Italian, Vichy French, Spanish, Japanese and Russian vessels. Tasks were issued by the Admiralty, but the FIS engaged in free exchange with RN centres in Britain, Bermuda and Singapore.[66]  By now, Cdr Brand, the DNI, had reorganized his staff into two sections.  De Marbois, who remained interested in plotting enemy submarines, now concentrated exclusively on naval intercept traffic, while Lt (N) Little handled interceptions of all other traffic (Y traffic) and cooperated with the Examination Unit.


Examination Unit development.  The British, eager to intercept more Japanese wireless traffic asked if Canada could take on this additional load as “first priority.”  The Canadian government was reluctant to give up its work on German wireless analysis, particularly German naval traffic and spy transmissions.  The Examination Unit had been decoding, among other things, two important German Abwehr spy networks operating out of Brazil; one codenamed KOENIG and the other ALFREDO.  Following some realignment and infighting within the British intelligence services and the subsequent adjustment of assignments, MI6, now in charge of code-breaking, removed the KOENIG cipher keys from the Examination Unit and assigned them to the GCCS in Britain. The Examination Unit was then set to work on a backlog of ALFREDO messages that, unbeknownst to the British, had already been broken by the US.  Disconcertingly for the Canadians, the Examination Unit had suddenly moved from the leading edge of counter-espionage to the back of the pack.[67]

Up to this point, the Examination Unit had been supported as an ad-hoc project financed by the NRC.  Established in June 1941, as discussed above, the Examination Unit was eventually located in the house next to what was then the Prime Minister’s residence on Laurier Avenue in Ottawa.  It was felt that, in this location, the necessary security precautions would not attract undue public attention.  For the first part of its existence, the Examination Unit was given particular responsibility for intercepting and analyzing the communications of Vichy France and Germany.  With the entry of Japan into the war, the Unit was also given additional responsibility for the decryption of Japanese communications.  It is estimated that by1944 the Examination Unit had 45 staff members, among whom were a number of classicists and chess players, people capable of thinking in cipher.[68]

In its early days however, the Examination Unit needed proper government support to flourish.  On 26 January 1942, the Cabinet War Committee gave it a budget of $100,000.[69]  It was decided to leave it with the NRC as the best cover available, among the many non-military projects being sponsored at the time.  The Examination Unit Advisory Committee became, apparently, just one more subordinate body overseeing research work. C. J. Mackenzie occupied the Chair.  Oliver Strachy from the UK GCCS was a member, as were intelligence officers from the three services and the RCMP. Lester Pearson represented External Affairs.

(GCHQ Photo)

Oliver Strachy, CBE, British Civil Servant and cryptographer.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3226827)

Merchant Mahoney, C.B.E., Ambassador the Hon. Leighton McCarthy, K.C., and Lester B. Pearson, O.B.E. at the Canadian Embassy, December 1943.

At a meeting to discuss Allied wireless intelligence, on 29 January 1942, in Washington, it was decided that Canada would continue to cooperate directly with the Americans through links in Washington and not go through the BSC office in NewYork, as Britain had wanted.  A similar decision was reached on censorship cooperation. Here, at last, was one instance when US influence was advantageous to Canada, helping to prevent her from falling further into the British grip.  It suited US purposes to retain Canada as an independent partner in censorship and cryptologic intelligence.  This situation presented intriguing possibilities for a further Canadian role in the Allied intelligence effort.

Since the fall of France, the possibility that the Vichy French fleet might put to sea in support of the Germans was a significant concern to Britain.[70]  A DOT station at Forrest, Manitoba had been monitoring Vichy messages since 1940, but was simply required to send them to the British Admiralty for traffic analysis.[71]  After US entry into the war, the Allies were able to access some valuable Vichy-Washington traffic that had been previously unavailable, because it went via the only undersea cable that did not pass through Canada or Newfoundland.  Within a week after the January 1942 agreement, Canadians broke the first Vichy code.  External Affairs was excited with the breakthrough.  It sent material to Washington for the US, through BSC for the British, hired linguists and French speaking typists for the Examination Unit to handle the expected increase in work and acquired a small team of dispatch riders to take intercepts to the Examination Unit as soon as they arrived.   By March, when all this was almost ready, it was learned that the US Army’s Signal Intelligence Service was already receiving and decoding the same material.[72]  It seemed Allied coordination of special intelligence was still not all that effective.


Allied “Cooperation.”  In the spring of 1942, all was not well at sea either. Allied convoy operations were not well coordinated and the US was suffering heavy losses in its merchant fleet.  Within the naval realm, an Allied Wireless Intelligence Conference (the US called it the Radio Intelligence Conference) was convened in Washington from 6-16 April 1942.  As the meeting unfolded, it became apparent that the future of the Examination Unit hung in the balance.  An Allied sub-committee decided it was “impractical at this stage to form a complete Canadian cryptanalysis organization.”[73]  This meant that, once again, the RCN would revert to supplying raw data from the eastcoast to the Admiralty, and Japanese Navy intercepts on the west coast would be sent to the USN in Seattle.  The RCN was “allowed” to retain two DF stations, one in Ottawa and one in Esquimalt, even though they were not really needed, because the British and Americans had enough stations between them to do it all themselves.

Cdr De Marbois was elated at this outcome.  He was not concerned about anything other than his beloved “huff-duff,” traffic analysis and submarine plots.  All the other intelligence hocus-pocus did not interest him.  He proposed increases to his staff, lobbied for the organization of a more capable wireless intercept division and for his new reporting relationship direct to the DNI and the Director of Signals.[74]  Most importantly, he saw that the main focus would return to the Atlantic theatre, where he thought the real action lay.

Others in code and cipher-breaking work were less happy.  The conference had removed enemy naval traffic from the Examination Unit and confined it to London and Washington, where it was felt the necessary resources existed. Pearson and others in External Affairs were not prepared to give up, however. At a meeting on 21 April, they decided to concentrate once again on Vichy traffic and to establish the Y Committee to better coordinate all this work, both domestically and among the Allies.[75]

In May 1942, while Lt (N) Little was meeting with British cryptographic authorities in London, he discovered an apparent confidential agreement between the British and American intelligence offices, to not share the most significant German and Japanese decrypts with Canada.[76]  Thankfully, Little had also met a Cdr Denniston, the head of the Diplomatic and Commercial branch of the GCCS.  The two had hit it off well and before he came home, Denniston told Little that Britain would give Canada the decrypts of high-grade Japanese diplomatic traffic, including precious machine-enciphered (PURPLE) messages[77] from the Japanese ambassador in Berlin.  The decrypts however, were required to go directly to Norman Robertson (the Undersecretary of State for External Affairs), who would read and burn them.[78]  In return, Denniston wanted Canada to concentrate on Japanese diplomatic traffic that could be heard by the Point Grey station near Vancouver.[79]  He also had one further request and he laid it out in a note sent to Little.[80]  In it he asked if “your stations in Canada” could help in the monitoring of diplomatic and commercial wireless traffic in 21 countries which still had some diplomatic relations with at least one of the Axis powers. Many were neutral states (e.g. Sweden) and some were “friendly” (e.g. Russia).  The British were clearly reading and hearing a lot more than was apparent in the military field and they wanted Canada to help.

(GCHQ Photo)

Commander Alastair Denniston, CB, CMG, CBE, RNVR, (1 December 1881 – 1 January 1961) was a Scottish codebreaker in Room 40, deputy head of the Government Code and Cypher School (GC&CS) and hockey player. Denniston was appointed operational head of GC&CS in 1919 and remained so until February 1942.

Naval operational autonomy.  Cooperation with the USN was not so easy, even though De Marbois initially got along well with his USN counterparts. The January 1942 Radio Intelligence Conference had agreed that Canada would report submarine bearings west of 40 W and north of 40 N.  The Admiralty would report everything to theeast and the US would report everything in their “strategic zone” to the south, accepting there would be some duplication with the Canadians.  However, in October, the US proposed that itnow take over sole responsibility for all reports west of 40W and asked the British to tell Canada to report bearings only within its own coastal waters.

This issue was just one aspect of a larger campaign being waged by the RCN for operational autonomy in the Northwest Atlantic.[81]  Essentially, the RCN wanted to take over command of its operational area in the Northwest Atlantic from the Americans who enjoyed strategic command over the Western Atlantic, but who deployed almost no operational ships in the Canadian area.  The RCN was doing almost all of the convoy escort duty in the Northwest Atlantic. The details of this story are beyond the scope of this paper, but it should be explained that a major aspect of assuming operational command was the requirement to have an effective intelligence capability to support the decision makers at headquarters and the commander afloat.  It was imperative to the larger RCN agenda that De Marbois and his operational intelligence centre be seen to be capable of supporting independent Canadian command at sea.

Vice-Admiral Percy Nelles, the Canadian Chief of Naval Service succeeded in having the British and American naval authorities agree to meet at the Atlantic Convoy Conference in Washington, from 1-12 March 1943, to clear the air on issues of operational command in the North Atlantic. The RCN was represented by Vice-Admiral Victor G. Brodeur, the Chief of the Naval Mission in Washington.

(CFB Esquimalt Naval Military Museum Photo)

Vice-Admiral Victor G. Brodeur, Commander Pacific Coast during the Second World War.

The senior British and American representatives insisted that the RCN could not be given operational control of any area without having an organization that could detect and report the presence of enemy submarines and surface ships.  They felt that only something like the Admiralty’s Operational Intelligence Centre could guarantee continuing success against enemy naval forces.  De Marbois was summoned to Washington on 2 March to convince them that the RCN’s Y and “huff-duff” system was up to the job.  He succeeded in doing so and the conference agreed that the Canadian Commanding Officer Atlantic Coast (CAOC) was to become Cdr-in-Chief Canadian Northwest Atlantic (C-in-CNA),with responsibility for the general direction of all anti-submarine forces in the Northwest Atlantic; that control of convoys, the dissemination of submarine information and convoy diversions in the Northwest Atlantic would be exercised by NSHQ and C-in-CNA; and that 40 would be C-in-CNA’s southern boundary.[82]  With these decisions, the RCN assumed a full partnership in the war against the German U-boats.  Over the next two years, De Marbois‘ operational intelligence centre played a considerably more significant role in the anti-submarine campaign than could ever have been imagined in 1939.


The end in sight.  Canadian archival material shows that as 1944 wore on, the staff at NDHQ had settled into a routine whereby the intelligence staffs provided regular intelligence reports to the Chiefs of Staffs and occasionally, when tasked, promulgated detailed studies on specific issues of interest to the Chiefs of Staff or Defence Council.  At the same time, they started to plan for the post-war staff structure.

The Y Committee knew there would be a requirement for code and cipher-breaking after the war and if Canada wanted intelligence products from wireless interception, she would have to do her own cryptanalysis.  Col Murray and Cdr Little accordingly urged expansion of the Examination Unit, but had no valid argument upon which to base their case.  The war was beginning to wind down. It was then that an unexpected opportunity arose.

           The Allied intelligence effort had developed into two areas of interest. Intelligence dealing with Germany and the European Theatre was left largely to the British, while Pacific theatre intelligence had been taken over by the Americans. Canada supported both, but did not do much more than provide raw intercepts.  In early1944, the British had anticipated that, after D-Day, when the Allies would have command of the Atlantic, the RN would be able to send many of its capital ships to the Pacific, where they would need effective weather forecasting.  The Japanese had an excellent meteorological system in place and a small British team at the GCCS was already intercepting Japanese weather forecasts, for use by RN ships.  GCCS however, needed help and Canada was asked to provide it. Defence Minister Ralston, Norman Robertson at External Affairs and the Y Committee all jumped at the chance because it provided the necessary grounds to expand the Canadian cryptanalysis capability.  Even the Cabinet War Committee approved the plan[83] but, as had happened on so many occasions earlier, the USN had captured some Japanese cipher tables, broken their codes and were doing all the analysis of Japanese meteorological messages by themselves. The Canadian plan collapsed.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3203642)

Mr. Arnold Heeney, Colonel K.S. Maclachlan, Rear-Admiral Percy Walker Nelles, Colonel Power and Colonel J.L. Ralston and Hon. Angus MacDonald, Minister of National Defence for Naval Services, 1940.

           Amazingly, another development still kept Canada in the game.  At a second Radio Intelligence Conference in Washington on 13 March 1944, Capt Edward Drake and his Joint Discrimination Unit were made an integral part of the US Signal Security Agency that now had central coordinating authority for all ULTRA traffic, less naval, in the Pacific.[84]

           The Examination Unit continued to do what little work it could on Japanese diplomatic traffic for External Affairs, but it was not important to the overall war effort.  Within the Y Committee, there was some in-fighting as De Marbois threatened to take “his” people out of the Examination Unit and redeploy them to more meaningful stations.  In the months that followed, unbeknownst to Col Murray, Cdr Little and other champions of a Canadian cryptanalysis capability, there were forces at work within External Affairs that were trying to dismantle all of it.  With the cancellation of the Canadian meteorological unit in the Pacific, government officials set their sights on the inflated staffs of the Examination Unit and the Joint Discrimination Unit.  Even as the end of the war was in sight, defence intelligence still had a fight on its hands.

1945-1946: The Big Leagues.  After the Second World War, as had happened after every major conflict, the Canadian government hurried to dismantle its military forces and “return to normal.”  All elements began to reduce their strength and an intense period of staff work, in which planning for the post-war military structure was inaugurated in early 1945.  All three services had to come up with detailed estimates of what they thought was needed in “peacetime.” Defence intelligence was at risk of being reduced to insignificance when the war ended.  However, as events unfolded, it became clear that not only must it remain effective, it had to grow and become more professional.

The central intelligence issue at the end of the war was whether or not the government would maintain a distinct Canadian intelligence organization of any kind, let alone one of defence intelligence. External Affairs was distinctly cool to continuing any sort of cryptanalysis and moved quickly to run down the Examination Unit.  In an aggressive move, on 30 May 1945 Col Murray, LCdr Little and Group Capt Stewart, the DAI, proposed to the Chiefs of Staff that their CJIC be expanded to include representation from the RCMP and one member from External Affairs.  This manoeuvre would enable the CJIC to become responsible for overall intelligence, encompassing signals intelligence, the intercept stations, the Discrimination Unit and what was left of the Evaluation Unit.[85]  The Chiefs of Staff agreed.

           Interestingly, behind the staff work was LGen Maurice Pope who had returned from the Military Mission in Washington, to advise the War Cabinet and Chiefs of Staff Committee. It was Col Pope who, in 1939 had made the first attempt to raise a Canadian cryptanalysis group.  Now he had the influence to make it happen.


Changing paradigms.  Even with the Japanese surrender in Aug 1945, the US Army intelligence staff continued to monitor Japanese transmissions in case there were some fanatics who did not get word that the war was over. Canada was asked to continue to intercept all Japanese traffic and the heads of the three service intelligence branches were happy to do so, to avoid impending end-of-war personnel reductions.

The CJIC met for the last time in its wartime form on 27 Aug 1945.[86]  The External Affairs representative expressed considerable scepticism over not only the need to retain any cryptanalysis capability in particular, but argued against a separate intelligence capability more generally. Seeing the writing on the wall, Murray wrote a memorandum to the Chiefs of Staff with a plea to retain both a separate Canadian cryptanalysis and intercept capability.  In a lengthy memo, Murray explained the wartime development of cryptanalysis and interception.  He emphasized how important it had been to contribute top quality intelligence to the Allied intelligence pool in order to get something out of it.  He pointedly noted, “if we fail to contribute, we shall receive nothing.”  He concluded by clearly calling for a postwar signals intelligence organization.[87]  His proposal was to be tabled on 7 September. The meeting was postponed.

Igor Gouzenko, c1946.

Two days earlier, a 26-year-old Igor Sergeievich Gouzenko fled the Soviet Embassy in Ottawa, taking with him a number of classified Russian documents, showing the existence of a Soviet spy ring in Canada.  A full discussion of this affair is beyond the scope of this paper, but the event marked the start of Canada’s intimate involvement with the US and UK in the Cold War.[88] For defence intelligence, it meant that measures being planned as a consolidation of wartime intelligence experience became, in fact, the initial steps in a new global strategic intelligence network among the major English-speaking Allies.  Whether it intended to or not, defence intelligence would evolve or die.

           On 20 Sep 1945, the first postwar CJIC met. It consisted of the three service intelligence chiefs, an External Affairs representative and a representative from the RCMP.[89] LCol Acland of the Army’s security service also attended.  In the wake of recent events, the committee agreed to amend Col Murray’s memo to make External Affairs responsible for cryptanalysis policy and then they discussed the handling of secret intelligence more generally.[90]  It ended with Col Murray being asked to draft yet another lengthy memorandum entitled “Foreign Intelligence in Peacetime.”  In it, he introduced the important idea of working with the UK and US on a quid pro quo basis, a lesson he and the entire intelligence staff had learned during the war.  The intelligence club required that dues be paid.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MOKAN No. 3205557)

Maj. Gen. C. Foulkes and ADC Lt. E.C. Argue of the Cameron Highlanders in an armoured car, August 1944

           The Chiefs of Staff again agreed with the CJIC proposals, but with the Prime Minister and External Affairs were entangled in sensitive diplomacy with the UK and US over the Gouzenko affair, it was be months before any concrete could be taken. Murray and his colleagues need not have worried however, because they had powerful new friends in court.  The new CGS, LGen Charles Foulkes wanted a comprehensive and independently managed Canadian intelligence organization, including espionage.  Helped by the previously submitted memos from Murray and the CJIC, Foulkes composed a “Proposal for the Establishment of a National Intelligence Organization,” which directly challenged the External Affairs inclination to rely on others.  In December 1945 he wrote in a confidential memo, addressed to only the Chiefs of Staff and Norman Robertson:

To be most effective, the appraisal of international affairs, in relation to its political and economic influence, must be from a national viewpoint.  Any system whereby the appraisal is made from incomplete intelligence acquired from other countries or acceptance of another nation’s appraisal insofar as it relates to itself, cannot possibly satisfy the Canadian requirement.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4090371)

Capt (N) Eric Brand.      

LCdr Little had left his post as DNI earlier in 1945, to be replaced by a returning Capt(N) Brand. Group Capt Stewart stayed on as DAI.  Col Murray retired in February, 1946, to be replaced by Col W.A.B. Anderson, who went on to institute most of Col Murray’s recommendations.  Col Edward Drake was Army Director of Signals. In March 1946, both the CGS and External Affairs put forward a proposal to reorganize Drake’s Discrimination Unit into a civilian agency, to be called the Communications Research Centre, with Drake as the first Director, to work on cipher-making as well as cipher-breaking.[92]  On 1 September 1946, with a minor name change, the Communications Branch, National Research Council, Canada’s equivalent of the US Army’s Signal Security Agency and the UK Government Code and Cipher School, came into being.  At last, after almost fading from existence at the end of the war, Canada had its own, permanent cryptanalysis organization and a spot in the big leagues of Allied intelligence.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4728189)

Mr Jack Taylor with BGen W.A.B. Anderson, 11 May 1969.

Conclusion.  Defence intelligence provided an important and significant contribution to the Canadian effort in the Second World War.  In 1938 Canada still collected no intelligence of its own, relying entirely on its British links to get the foreign, diplomatic and military intelligence it appeared to need.  When the war started, the Canadian High Commission and CMHQ in London reinforced this practice. Concurrently though, the Navy, Army and Air Force in Canada began to build their own intelligence services.  The RCN, given its technological bent and involvement with the RN worldwide naval intelligence structure, led the Canadian defence intelligence effort throughout the war. Army intelligence began with its role of taking information from intercepted mail and telegraph messages. From the start, Col Jock Murray established himself as arguably Canada’s leading intelligence personality of the Second World War.  The Air Force had no urgent need to develop its own air intelligence function, but it would gradually become a valuable working intelligence partner with the Navy throughout the anti-submarine campaign.  Wing Cdr Logan, the largely unsung originator of the Air Force Intelligence structure, was instrumental in giving the RCAF an effective wartime intelligence capability.

From what began as three service-oriented intelligence programmes, of varying effectiveness and impact, came a fourth element – special intelligence - which was largely a result of the backroom work of Cdr Jock de Marbois and LCdr Herbie Little.  Army radio interception and analysis became the basis of a permanent Canadian cryptanalysis organization at war’s end, thanks to the efforts of Col Edward Drake and Col Jock Murray.  In seven years, from 1939-46, service intelligence programmes, reinforced by special intelligence, had developed a ubiquitous and effective Canadian defence intelligence effort and provided the basis for Canada’s enduring participation in the world’s most important and closest intelligence alliance.

[1] The group of very highly classified intelligence reports derived from intercepted German and Japanese messages transmitted by the secretive German message encryption machine, codenamed ENIGMA and the Japanese special code codenamed PURPLE.

[2] Various works describing the wartime activity of the British Security Coordination(BSC) office established by Prime Minister Winston Churchill, under the leadership of Canadian businessman William S. Stephenson – nicknamed “Intrepid.” Perhaps the best-known work is by William Stevenson, A Man Called Intrepid. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1976.

[3] The strategic level is considered to be those plans and activities that deal with national level defence issues, overall force generation and allocation, general direction of the war and civil-military interfaces within the highest levels of government. The operational level, on the other hand, deals with military activities involved in campaign planning and the general, but actual deployment of forces in preparation for combat. The tactical level deals with actual engagement of the enemy and the fight to defeat him. As an example, it would be a strategic decision to fight the enemy submarines out in the mid-Atlantic, rather than wait for them to come close to shore. The operational level plan would deal with the disposition of sufficient ships on the east coast to enable the strategy to be executed. The tactical operation would see ships actually set sail and attack enemysubmarines.

[4] The provision of processed information – the true intelligence product – to commanders and government leaders.

[5] The term “special” intelligence is not in wide use today, having been almost entirely subsumed within Signals Intelligence, or SIGINT. The NATO glossary and the Canadian Joint Intelligence Doctrine no longer show “special intelligence.” SIGINT is defined in the NATO glossary as “the generic term used to describe communications intelligence and electronic intelligence when there is no requirement to differentiate between these two types of intelligence, or to represent fusion of the two.” NATOAAP-6, NATO Glossary of Terms and Definitions (2004).

[6] In his diary of 29 Jan 1940, King entered, “There I had a word with Brocklington and Pickersgill concerning the campaign.  Stressed the two notes of “Win the war” and “Canadian unity.”  Again on 5 June 1940 he says “I spoke of the necessity of keeping Canada united and our war effort being based on that of balancing all matters, going just as far as we could, and not so far as to create a worse situation…” Mackenzie King diaries on NAC website at   Accessed Oct-Nov 04.

[7] Chamberlain succeeded Stanley Baldwin as Prime Minister at the end of May, in the middle of the Imperial Conference.

[8] Col C.P. Stacey, Canada and the Age of Conflict, Volume 2: 1921-1948,(Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1981), p. 212. Stacey quotes King’s diary entry that said, “...clearly the purpose of God is related to my securing the good will of [between?] Germany & the British Empire, working with Hitler towards this end, and saving France thereby & much else.”

[9]  In late 1939 the Joint Staff Committee was renamed Chiefs of Staff Committee. The term “joint” refers to the combination of two or more armed services of one country (e.g. a joint operation involvingnavy and army elements). Later in this paper, the term “combined” will be seenand it refers to the combination of armed services from two or more countries. So, the Joint Staff in Canada was composed of personnel from all three services, while the Combined Chiefs ofStaff included military leaders from different allied countries.

[10] Col C.P. Stacey, Canada and the Age of Conflict, Volume 2: 1921-1948, p. 208.

[11] Ibid.,p. 215.

[12] Ibid.,p. 216.

[13] NDHQ/DHH,77/578. Outline History of the Trade Division, NSHQ, Ottawa, 1939-45. 32. The Trade Division was the organization within the British Admiralty that continuously monitored worldwide shipping. It relied on an extensive, global network of Naval Control of Shipping Officers (NCSOs) located at ports around the world. NCSOs would keep track of arriving and departing ships and report their observations to a central RN authority in their region. In Canada,that RN authority occupied the position of Director of Naval Intelligence in the Naval Service Headquarters within NDHQ.

[14] Until that point, the Air Intelligence staff had been an integral part of the Military (Army) Intelligence staff, sharing the same offices and sharing the workload.

[15] Col W.W. Murray, Foreign Intelligence in Peacetime, Appendix E, 26 Sept. 1945,NAC, RG24, HQ-221-43.

[16] NDHQ/DHH.79/439. Organization of the Department of National Defence – as of 31Mar 39.

[17] Department of National Defence, The Report of the Department of National Defence Canada for the Fiscal Year Ending March 31, 1939,(Ottawa: Printer to the King’s Most Excellent Majesty, 1939), p. 29.

[18] DND Report 1940. p. 85.

[19] DND Report 1941. 22.

[20] NDHQ/DHH,77/578. Outline History of the Trade Division, NSHQ, Ottawa,1939-45. 32.

[21] Catherine E. Allan, “A Minute Bletchley Park: Building a Canadian Naval Operational Intelligence Centre, 1939-1943,” eds., Michael L. Hadley, Rob Huebert and Fred W. Crickard, A Nation’s Navy, In Quest of Canadian Naval Identity, (Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1996), p. 158.

[22]National Archives of Canada(hereafter NAC) Archivia.Net at Privy Council fonds. Cabinet War Committee descriptive record.

[23] See various intelligence and after-action reports in NAC, Staff Officer Intelligence Newfoundland. R112-369-6-F and NAC, Staff Officer Intelligence West Coast. R112-353-2-F. A substantial and interesting account of the operational and tactical detail can also be found in W.A.B. Douglas, The Creation of a National Air Force, Part III and IV, (University of Toronto Press), 1986.

[24]NDHQ/DHH, “The Organization of the Department of National Defence (Army),1939-1945.” In Report No. 49, Historical Section (GS), Army Headquarters. July 1986.

[25]John Bryden, Best Kept Secret, Canadian Secret Intelligence in the Second World War, (Toronto: Lester Publishing,1993), p. 8.

[26] Ibid.

[27] Historical Outline of Canadian Telecommunications Censorship, 29 June 1945,NAC, RG2, 5760, TC 25. Canadian censorship was part of a larger Commonwealth censorship programme coordinated by Britain.

[28] Maj S. Robert Elliot, Scarlet to Green, A History of Intelligence in the Canadian Army 1903-1963, (Canadian Intelligence and Security Association, 1981), Annex 12.

[29] John Bryden, Best Kept Secret, p.10.

[30] Col Crerar had been promoted and sent to CMHQ in London.

[31]Memorandum from Maurice Pope (DMO&I), 1 Nov. 1939. NAC, RG2, 5760, TC26/(1).

[32] W.W. Murray, “How We Tricked the Nazi Spies,” MacLean’s article, 15 Sep 1949.

[33] Maj S. Robert Elliot, Scarlet to Green, p. 87.

[34] General Staff Officer, 1s Grade, a term referring to the main operationalstaff officer in a senior army headquarters.

[35]Maj S. Robert Elliot, Scarlet to Green p. 87.

[36] BGen Crerar was a close personal friend of MGen Drew, the British DMO.  Both had attended the Army Staff College together.

[37] Maj S. Robert Elliot, Scarlet to Green, p. 88.

[38] NDHQ/DHH181.009 (D541).  Logan to AOC Eastern Air Command, RCAF File No. S.19-15-16 (D of I). Notes on Organization of RCAF Intelligence Service. Dated 29 November 1941.

[39] A British Royal Navy officer normally filled this position.

[40]NDHQ/DHH 77/578, Outline History of the Trade Division, NSHQ, Ottawa,1939-45. Brand’s appointment is common historical knowledge, but it is presented as a minor point in the context of this document, which is a fascinating exposé of the Canadian involvement in the British Admiralty’s Naval Control of Shipping Organization throughout the war.

[41] DOT stations in other areas of the country gradually came to be used in support of defence intelligence. DOT was also responsible for air traffic communications throughout Canadian airspace and, in conjunction with the RCAF, was able to monitor the airwaves for any indication of enemy aircraft.

[42] John Bryden, Best Kept Secret, p. 12.  The first two stations to support the Navy were at Shediac, NB, and St. Hubert, QC.  Most of the detail for this programme comes from History of the Activities of the Operational Intelligence Centre, 1939-45, NDHQ/DHH.  Also from material in NAC, RG24, 3807, NSS-1008-75-44(1).

[43] C.H. Little. My Early Days in Naval Intelligence 1939-41, NDHQ/DHH, Biog L, 1981.

[44] John Bryden, Best Kept Secret, p.15.

[45] Ibid., p. 26.

[46] Drake to MI 8, reporting that the four-month study of EAN, EAX and EAM2 reveals “disposition of Spanish troops,” Feb 1941, and subsequent correspondence in NAC, RG24, 12.341,4/INT/2/2.

[47] DMOI to CSC, Nov 29, 1940; DPD (Naval) to DNI, Dec 2, 1940; CSC to DMOI, Dec 12, 1940;NAC, RG24, Acc83-84/167, 189, S-1310-6.

[48] John Bryden, Best Kept Secret, p.43.

[49] This is one of the areas where there is no information on Air intelligence participation, although a DAI was probably present.

[50] John Bryden, Best Kept Secret, p.54.  This reflected the fact that significant diplomatic traffic would be intercepted.

[51] Earlier in the year, naval wireless intercepts had become so numerous that Cdr Brand had decided to “split” his staff.  De Marbois now concentrated on intercepts of naval traffic, which Little was left to cover all other material of a non-naval nature.  This he was happy to do.

[52] Maj S. Robert Elliot, Scarlet to Green, p. 448.

[53] The day of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

[54] Maj S. Robert Elliot, Scarlet to Green, p. 427.

[55] John Bryden, Best Kept Secret, p. 142.

[56]NDHQ/DHH, 193.009 (D8), dated 2 June 1942.

[57] Stewart became the DAI in 1943.

[58] Commanded by General Montgomery and including Canadian formations.

[59]European Theatre of Operations United States Army.

[60] Maj S. Robert Elliot, Scarlet to Green, p. 453.

[61] Ibid, p. 453.

[62] Honourable Angus L. Macdonald (1940-1945).

[63] DND Report 1942, 5.

[64] DND Report 1942, 6

[65] See W.G.D. Lund, “The Royal Canadian Navy’s Quest for Autonomy in the NorthWest Atlantic: 1941-43,” in James Boutilier, ed. The RCN In Retrospect, 1910-1968, 138-157, 353-356. UBC Press, 1982.

[66] John Bryden, Best Kept Secret, p. 100.

[67] Ibid., p. 104.

[68] For a more detailed history of the Examination Unit see: J.L. Granatstein and David Stafford, Spy Wars: Espionage and Canada from Gouzenko to Glasnost,(Key Porter Books, Toronto, 1990), pp. 20-46; Peter St. John, “Canada’s Accession to the Allied Intelligence Community 1940-45,” Conflict Quarterly, Vol. 4, No. 4, Fall 1984, pp. 5-21; and Wesley K. Wark, “Cryptographic Innocence: The Origins of Signals Intelligence in Canada in the Second World War,” Journal of Contemporary History, Vol. 22, 1987,  pp. 639-665.

[69] John Bryden, Best Kept Secret, p.105.

[70] The Admiralty had asked the RCN to monitor all French naval frequencies after the fall of Francein 1940. See NDHQ/DHist History and Activities of Operational Intelligence Centre.

[71] John Bryden, Best Kept Secret, p.125.

[72] Ibid.

[73] Ibid.,130.

[74] DeMarbois FIS reorganization proposal, 4 May 1942, and outline of Y Organization, 17 July 1942, NAC, RG24,3807, NSS-1008-75-44(1).

John Bryden, Best Kept Secret, p. 134.

[76] This was not a sinister plot, but simply the result of a view of the major powers that Canada and the “lesser” Allies did not have a “need to know.”  With no role in the strategic direction of the war, Canada had no apparent requirement for such high-grade intelligence.

[77] The Japanese equivalent of German ENIGMA messages.

John Bryden, Best Kept Secret, p. 140 and various CSE historical documents.

[79] Ibid. p. 140.

[80] Memo, Denniston to Little, 6 June 1942, NAC, RG24, 8125, NSS-1282-85(1).

[81] See a good outline of the whole issue by W.G.D. Lund, “The Royal Canadian Navy’s Quest for Autonomy in the North West Atlantic: 1941-43,”The RCN In Retrospect, 1910-1968,ed. James Boutilier, (UBC Press, 1982), pp. 138-157, and pp. 353-356.  Also, Catherine E. Allan, “A Minute Bletchley Park: Building a Canadian Naval Operational Intelligence Centre,1939-1943,” eds., Michael L. Hadley, Rob Huebert and Fred W. Crickard, A Nation’s Navy, In Quest of Canadian Naval Identity, (Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1996).

[82]Catherine E. Allan, “A Minute Bletchley Park, p. 172.

[83] John Bryden, Best Kept Secret, p. 228.

[84] Ibid.

[85]JIC Minutes, 30 May, 1945. NAC,RG24, 2469, S715-10-16-1-3(4).

[86]JIC Minutes,27 Aug, 1945, NAC, RG24, 2469, S715-10-16-1-3(4).

[87] This is from John Bryden’s (Best Kept Secret, p. 266) version of Murray’s memo.  Bryden goes on to say, “Nine-page(foolscap) Top Secret memorandum prepared by Col. Murray, 27 Aug. 1945, DHist, 193.009(D48).  Security was tightened at DND’s Directorate ofHistory after I saw this document in 1990 for it was no longer present when Icalled the file in 1993.  Fortunately, I had photocopied it.” As of 23 Nov 2004, the memo has still not been found in DHH.

[88] For a more complete outline of the affair, see the CBC Archive video clip at 3 Nov 04.

[89] John Bryden, Best Kept Secret, p. 278.

[90] NAC,JIC Meeting, 20 Sept. 1945,RG24, 2469, S715-10-16-1-3(5)

[91] JohnBryden, Best Kept Secret, p.288.

[92] Chiefs of Staff to Robertson and Heeney, 30 March 1946, NAC, RG2(18), C-30; SIGINT History, CSE documents 1178-79, 1220, 1183.  Arnold Heeney, as the senior civil servant in the Privy Council represented the Prime Minister in discussions on intelligence, a relationship that exists in similar form today.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3598678)

Mr. Arnold D.P. Heeney, 1949.

Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) Intelligence

(Author Photo)

HMCS Assiniboine ramming U-210, 6 Aug 1942, painting by Tom Forrestal, in the Wardroom, CFB Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Naval Intelligence began to grow as an entity in Canada after the Royal Navy was charged with leading intelligence operations in Halifax during the First World War.  In 1921, Canada joined the British Worldwide Intelligence Organization, with the establishment of a North American Station and Directorate of Naval Plans and Intelligence.  Naval Intelligence in Canada, however, remained virtually non-existent until expansion of the size and role of the Royal Canadian Navy during the Second World War.  The Directorate of Naval Intelligence emerged in 1939 and played a crucial role in the Allied effort to support convoy operations, intercept and analyze hostile radio communications, and confront the U-boat threat during the Battle of the Atlantic.  Naval intelligence specialists also participated in the Special Branch, with officers wearing light green patches on their uniforms to denote their membership.  The Naval Intelligence Division had subsections dedicated to general intelligence, foreign intelligence, ship movements (VESCA), naval information, the national distribution authority, mercantile intelligence, Defensively Equipped Merchant Ships (DEMS), and meteorology and oceanography.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4821040)

HMCS Regina, Corvette K234 June 1942.

Naval intelligence and trade protection in the Atlantic and Pacific during the war was an allied effort involving the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada.  Canada, having officially taken over responsibilities for operational command in the North West Atlantic on 1 May 1943, relied on its Operational Intelligence Centre (OIC) at Naval Services Headquarters in Ottawa.  The Trade, Intelligence and Signals Division, along with the OIC, remained in place until the end of the war.

(DND Photo)

LCdr John Barbe-Pougnet de Marbois, Royal Navy Reserve.  Jock de Marbois was born on an island near Mauritius in the Indian Ocean, but ran away to sea at the age of 12.  By the time he was 17, he had been around the world twice in sailing vessels and had survived two shipwrecks and a bloody mutiny in which the Capt and all the ship’s officers died.  During the First World War he had served as a British liaison officer aboard a Russian cruiser and had fled the Bolshevik revolution with his fiancée, a Russian countess.  After the war, he settled for a time in Nigeria before finally coming to Canada.  He spoke French, Spanish, German and Russian fluently, and had a smattering of Arabic, Turkish, and about a dozen Far Eastern languages.  On 10 September 1939, acting on the authority of Canada’s Minister of National Defence, Commander Jock de Marbois of the Naval Service Signals Division inaugurated what he called the Foreign Intelligence Section. Its task was to undertake Operational SIGINT (codenamed “Y”), high frequency directional finding, and plotting the positions of submarines and surface vessels. Traffic would come from the naval stations at Gloucester, Ontario, and Cloverdale, New Brunswick, as well as from various Department of Transport sites.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4090411)

Captain (N) Eric Sydney Brand (1896-1991), Officer - Order of the British Empire (OBE), was a Royal Navy Officer who served in Canada during WWII with the Royal Canadian Navy as the head of the Directorate of Trade and Intelligence Division.  Captain (N) Brand was born at Ipswich, England.  He joined the Merchant Navy College, HMS Conway, as a cadet in 1909 and transferred to the Royal Navy through the Royal Naval College in Dartmouth in 1911.

During the First World War he was mentioned in dispatches at the Battle of Jutland while serving in HMS Valiant and was promoted Lieutenant in 1916.  He later qualified as both G and dagger N (RN designations).  He was promoted Commander, RN, on 30 December 1929.  He served as Staff Officer (Operations) to the Commander-in-Chief, Home Fleet, and Chief Staff Officer to Admiral Commanding Coast of Scotland (1938-1939), where he was responsible for all war plans and preparations in the Command.  On 22 June 1939 the RN loaned Captain (N) Brand to the RCN to serve as the Director of Plans and Intelligence.  Soon after this appointment, he was also given the responsibility of organising the Trade Division at Naval Service Headquarters to handle the Royal Canadian Navy’s contacts with the merchant shipping of all nations.  He was promoted to Captain (N) on 1 July 1941.  He held these two posts until 14 April 1946, when he retired from active service in the rank of Captain.  His naval career lasted thirty-five years.

In 1946 he was appointed Controller of Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Shipping under the Department of Labour.  During 1946-1947 he was special assistant to the Minister of Reconstruction and Supply on the drafting of legislation to establish a Canadian Maritime Commission.  Brand later served as a special assistant to the Minister of Mines and Resources on immigrant transportation, as Executive Director, the Canadian Maritime Commission, and, finally, as the Director of Marine Operations, Department of Transport. Brand served as the first Director of the CCG College at Point Edward, Nova Scotia in 1965 and was made Honorary Commodore of the CCG.  Captain (N) Brand He made his home in Ottawa, where he died on 22 November 1991, at the age of 95 (three months after hip surgery).

For his military service he was awarded the OBE in the rank of Officer as per Canada Gazette of 5 June 1943 and London Gazette of 2 June 1943; the American Legion of Merit in the Degree of Commander on 30 March 1946; the French Croix de Guerre avec Palme en Bronze on 27 November 1946; and Chevalier - French Legion of Honour, on 27 November 1947.  In addition to his wartime medals he received a Medal from the HM King of Sweden for his services to humanity.

(DND Photo)

Commander Charles Herbert Little RCN, CD, FRCGS (11 December 1907 - January 10, 2004) was Canadian Director of Naval Intelligence during the Second World War and an author. He was selected as a Rhodes Scholar and continued Germanic studies at Brasenose College, Oxford, graduating in 1932. On his return to Canada, he married Ruth B. Harrison of Rothesay, New Brunswick. He taught at Upper Canada College until he joined the Royal Canadian Navy at the outbreak of the war in 1939. Little presented himself at HMCS York in Toronto, but after he mentioned that he was a teacher of German and that he had just returned from a trip to Germany, he was immediately sent to Ottawa. Upon his arrival he was asked to go through some captured German documents, some of which seemed to describe a weapon. Those papers were sent to London and were found to be partial plans for the new magnetic mines being used by the German Navy. During the war he served as Director of Naval Intelligence on the Naval Staff. Because of his position he was one of the few Canadians to handle Ultra decrypts. After the defeat of Nazi Germany he was allowed to enter combat and was sent to join the British Pacific Fleet. He remained in the Navy until 1959, helping to develop the University Naval Training Division and the Regular Officer Training Plan. After leaving the Navy he became a federal civil servant. From 1964 to 1971 he was Chief Editor of the Royal Commission on Pilotage. He died in Ottawa at the age of 96. He was buried at Fernhill Cemetery in Saint John, New Brunswick.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, PA 141636)

ML Q095 escorting U-190, Bay Bulls, Newfoundland, 14 May 1945.

(Library and Archives of Canada Photo, PA 116940)

U-190 flying the RCN white ensign, aerial view.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4821052)

HMCS Loch Alvie with surrendered U-boat, 1945.

(Jim Stewart Photo)

U-889 after her surrender in May 1945.

(State Library of Victoria, Australia Photo)

HMCS Ontario (C32), ca Feb 1951.

British and Canadian Intelligence Corps Insignia

When Canada mobilized in September 1939, Intelligence structures based on British organizations were rapidly developed and intelligence analysts were given new challenges.

As of 16 December 1940, there were about 60 all ranks posted to Canadian Intelligence duties.  Foreseeing the need for 200 intelligence personnel, Major John Page proposed that Field Security (FS) functions be separated from the Provost Corps.  Moreover, he worked to have an Intelligence Corps, formed in a manner similar to that of the British Intelligence Corps formed on 25 June 1940, recognized.

Canadian Intelligence Corps (1942-1968)

1942, Formation of the Canadian Intelligence Corps


           The Department of National Defence – Army- issued the following instruction from Ottawa on 6 November 1942:


Formation – Canadian Intelligence Corps


Authority is granted, effective date 29 Oct 1942, for the formation of a Canadian Intelligence Corps.[1]  This Corps is to be constituted as follows:

Such active Units as may from time to time be allocated thereto, namely:

Intelligence Sections of field formations down to and including Divisions; Field Security Sections;

Security Intelligence Sections; and,

Miscellaneous Units organized for and engaged in Intelligence and Wireless Intelligence Duties.

Such personnel as may from time to time be posted thereto, namely, those engaged inIntelligence duties at NDHQ, CMHQ, Coastal Commands and Districts except those holding General Staff appointments.


The following units presently authorizedare to be included in the above Corps:


FieldSecurity Sections

Serial  Army Unit                                          Designation


           1151    First ArmyField Security Section     II/1940/62R/2

            541     1 Field Security Section                     II/1940/23/1

            542     2 Field Security Section                     II/1940/23/1

            543     3 Field Security Section                     II/1940/23/1

            544     4 Field Security Section                     I/1940/19/1

           1402    5 Field SecuritySection                     II/1940/23/1

            546     6 Field Security Section                     II/1940/23/1

            547     7 Field Security Section                     I/1940/19/1

           1602    8 FieldSecurity Section                     I/1940/23/1

            551     11 Field Security Section                   III/1940/62R/2

            552     12 Field Security Section                   II/1940/62R/2


           Intelligence Sections


             2A     1 Division Intelligence Section          II/1940/22/1

152A  2 DivisionIntelligence Section          II/1940/22/1

            701     3 Division Intelligence Section          II/1940/22/1

            901     4 Division Intelligence Section          I/1940/18A/1

            563     5 Division Intelligence Section          I/1940/18A/1

           1800A 6 DivisionIntelligence Section          II/1940/22/1

           1401    7 DivisionIntelligence Section          II/1940/22/1

           1601    8 Division IntelligenceSection          II/1940/22/1

            607     1 Corps Intelligence Section              III/1940/62E/1

2 Corps Intelligence Section              III/1940/62E/1[2]

           1150A First ArmyIntelligence Section         BWEII/1931/62D/1


           Miscellaneous Units


            524     Pacific Command Security Intelligence Section        V/1940/309A/1

            380     Atlantic Command Security IntelligenceSection      V/1940/309/1

            462     1 Canadian Weather Intelligence Section                  III/1940/62G/2

           1195    2 CanadianWeather Intelligence Section                  III/1940/62G/2

                       521      Military District No. 2 Security IntelligenceSection V/1940/311P/1

                       490      Military District No. 3 SecurityIntelligence Section V/1940/311P/1

            565     1 Discrimination Unit.

[1] This instruction was signed by MGen H.F.G. Letson, Adjutant-General, M. 848.

[2] Approved but no action taken towards formation in 1942.  MGen H.F.G. Letson, Adjt-General.

Establishment of the First Canadian Army in April 1942 led to a tremendous demand for Intelligence specialists, and on 29 October 1942 the C Int C was officially recognized as a Corps. Canadians from universities, colleges, businesses and industries joined the C Int C to participate in a great variety of Intelligence duties; a number became casualties at Dieppe, in Northwest Europe and the Adriatic. Army Intelligence sections or staffs were represented at Army, Corps, Division, and District levels, with seven Field Security Sections in existence as well. By 1943, for the first time in Canadian history, Canadian personnel filled all Intelligence appointments within Canada's Army formations and units.

C Int C green leaf logo.

The Canadian Volunteer Service Medal shown here has the Dieppe Bar with the Combined Operations Insignia. The bar was awarded to those who took part in the Dieppe Raid of 19 August 1942.  All ranks and branches of the Canadian Armed Services were eligible for the CVSM on honourable completion of 18 months total voluntary service between 3 Sep 1939 and 1 Mar 1947 while on active service.  The medal shown includes the Overseas Service Bar which was awarded to those who spent at least two months overseas. The inscription reads 1939 CANADA 1945 around the top and VOLUNTARY SERVICE VOLONTAIRE around the bottom.

The C Int C took is first casualties of the War when Second Canadian Division was committed to its first major combat action, at Dieppe on 19 August 1942. Captain Theodor M. Insinger was killed when his landing craft tank (LCT) was blown up, and Captain F. Morgan was killed shortly after he came ashore.  In the Field Security group, Company Sergeant Major J.S. Milne, Sergeant J. Holt and Sergeant W. Corson were killed and five others captured.

Brookwood Memorial – Captain Theodor Marie Insinger of the Calgary Highlanders, Royal Canadian Infantry Corps, went missing at Dieppe on 19 Aug 1942 and was subsequently presumed dead.  He is commemorated on this Panel at the Brookwood Memorial, Surrey, United Kingdom.

Sergeant J. Holt headstone, Dieppe Canadian War cemetery.

Sergeant W. Corson headstone, Dieppe Canadian War cemetery.

Company Sergeant Major J.S. Milne headstone, Dieppe Canadian War cemetery.

Company Sergeant Major James Smart Milne of No.2 Canadian Field Security Section (F.S.S.), Canadian Intelligence Corps (C-Int-C), who was killed on beaches of Dieppe on 19 August 1942. Scottish by birth, James had gone to war as a teenager in 1915. Having emigrated to Canada, he became a policeman while also serving with the militia, before signing up for active service at the age of 42.

James was born in Kemnay, Aberdeenshire on 25 December 1897, where he grew up and later married his wife, Johanna. In 1915, he enlisted into the 1st Battalion, the Seaforth Highlanders, aged 17, and saw active service in Mesopotamia and Palestine. He was discharged from the Army on 22 July 1919, and married Johanna on 25 December.

The couple emigrated in the early 1920, and by 1924, they were living in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, where James joined the police force. In 1927, he volunteered to serve with the local militia unit, the Manitoba Mounted Rifles, and would eventually reach the rank of squadron sergeant major.

On 10 June 1940, James enlisted into the regular Army at District Deport No.10 in Winnipeg (regimental number: H32031) and assigned to 3 Provost Company. As a result of his previous war-service, time with the militia and service as a policeman, he was promoted to company sergeant major (C.S.M. (warrant officer class II)) with pay on 24 June 1940, and posted to the Field Security Police, H.Q. 2nd Canadian Division, Ottawa. On 23 July, he embarked at Halifax for the U.K, disembarking at Glasgow on 2 August. Based at Aldershot, he attended a Field Security Course at Winchester over the period 29 November to 24 December 1940. In August 1941, he was transferred to No.2 Canadian Field Security Section and his promotion to C.S.M. was confirmed, with effect from 22 September 1940.

On 18 August, James embarked with No.2 F.S.S. for Operation JUBILEE. He landed at Dieppe on 19 August and was killed in action that day. Like the C-Int-C’s other casualties, James was initially reported missing and on 22 August, Johanna received a telegram notifying her of his current status. In December, the International Red Cross confirmed that James had been killed on 19 August, and on 5 December, a second telegram was sent to Johanna informing her of his death. The following year, on 12 June, the family were given the details of James’ resting place; Grave 431, Des Vertus Cemetery, Hautot-sur-Mer. They had also received a small number of personal items that had been recovered from James’ effects in England; a number of family photographs, a pen and pencil set and a bar of medal ribbons (probably his WWI awards).

In 1949, the Canadian government issued his medals – 1939-45 Star, Defence Medal, War Medal and the Canadian Volunteer Service Medal with Clasp – and Johanna was presented with the Canadian Memorial Cross. The Dieppe clasp to the C.V.S.M. was issued in 1996.

Company Sergeant Major James Smart Milne, C-Int-C, is buried at the Dieppe Canadian War Cemetery (Hautot-sur-Mer), Grave 51, Row L. He was survived by his wife, Johanna, and his two daughters, Johanna and Shelia.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3193840)

Douglas Boston Mk, III, No. 88 Squadron, RAF on the Dieppe Raid.


In the Mediterranean theatre, Corporal A.D. Yaritch, a Canadian IS9 operative, worked on theenemy-held island of Vis, in the Adriatic, from Dec until 8 Jan 1944, when the boat in which he was travelling from Italy to Dugi Otok was machine-gunned by enemy aircraft and he was killed.  (Maj S. Robert Elliot, Scarlet to Green, p. 402.)

On 8 Aug 1944 in Normandy France, Capt Robert H.“Tex” Noble, sent Sgt G.A. Osipoff and Sgt F. Dummer with two Engineers to St.André-sur-Orne to check reports that civilians were hiding in the mines there.  The party took a wrong turn, drove across some Teller mines, and all were killed.  They were the first fatalities suffered by Field Security in North West Europe.  (Maj S. Robert Elliot, Scarlet to Green, p. 314.)

Col W.W. “Jock” Murray, OBE, MC & Bar, was Canada’s first Director of Military Intelligence (DMI) 4 July 1942 to16 Feb 1946.

Born on 22 June 1891 in Hawick, Scotland, Col Murray came to Canada in 1913, after preliminary studies at Buccleuch Academy in Hawick, followed by classical studies at the University of Edinburgh.  After 18 months in Canada, he enlisted in the 97th Algonquin Rifles, which formed part of the 20th Infantry Battalion shortly after the outbreak of the First World War.  He was in the thick of the action in many of the worst killing fields of the Great War.  Commissioned as a Lt in the field in June 1916, he was posted to the 2nd Canadian Infantry Battalion and saw action on the Somme, Vimy Ridge, Fresnoy, Hill 70, Passchendaele, Amiens, Drocourt-Queant and Canal du Nord.  Commissioned in the field, he was repeatedly cited for bravery under fire, was awarded the Military Cross with Bar, and was several times mentioned in dispatches.

After the war Capt Murray joined the Canadian Press in 1923, becoming the night editor in the Montreal bureau.  Transferred to Ottawa in 1927, he became a member of the press gallery on the Canadian Parliamentary staff and specialized in military and veteran affairs.  He was 49 years old when he was recruited for duty during WWII in Telegraph Censorship. In the fall of 1940, he was put in charge of the Army’s wireless intelligence program.  In June 1941, Murray represented the Military Intelligence Committee during a meeting in Ottawa concerning Canada’s fledgling cryptographic committee.  This meeting would later lead to the formation of the Examination Unit, which would eventually become Canada’s Communications Security Establishment. In the summer of 1942, Col Murray was made Director of Military Intelligence (DMI).  As one of the three directors of intelligence for the services at this time, Murray and his navy and air counterparts met regularly to discuss their mutual security concerns and to advise the Chiefs of Staff accordingly.  There were severe difficulties with outside interference in the cryptological organization, particularly from the UK.  Britain wanted its own representatives running the operation.  Colonel Murray personally confronted William S. Stephenson, head of British Security Coordination (BSC) in New York and Britain’s liaison officer in Washington (Hastings) over the matter, and they backed off. Murray recommended a postwar signals intelligence organization that retained the Army and Navy intercept stations and a Discrimination/Examination Unit.  In his view, the Americans and the British were going to continue the activity, and therefore Canada should do so as well.  As one of the three post-war service directors of intelligence, Col Murray took part in the first meeting of the newly expanded Canadian Joint Intelligence Committee on 20 September 1945.  Colonel Murray and his colleagues were instrumental in securing the establishment of CSE, fighting long and hard to ensure that the special intelligence expertise developed during wartime would be preserved.  He served throughout the Second World War, ending his wartime service as the DMI for the Canadian Army, retiring in 1946.  He passed away on 2 Aug 1956 at the age of 65, survived by his wife Hope, two daughters and a son.  Canadian Intelligence Corps Newsletter, No. 3, October 1956, Published by MI (O&T), Editor Lt R.C. Horlin, pp. 2-4.

Col Murray resolved that Canadians should not be put at risk again because of lack of access to allied sources of Intelligence (although the Germans had not known in advance about the raid on Dieppe, for example, they were well prepared and quickly reacted to the raid in a highly competent manner).  Col Murray advised Ottawa in clear terms as to what advantages accrued from being a full and contributing partner in Intelligence sharing.  “After explaining that collaboration with Britain and the United States on a quid pro quo basis had given Canada access to” valuable and sensitive Intelligence, “Col Murray went on to observe” the need for close cooperation and equal contribution of Intelligence by stating: The advantage of this approach was clearly impressed [on Canada] during the early war years.  When our contribution was nil, we received nothing from either Bletchley or Washington.  When, in agreement with them, our contribution became substantial, we received ample return - a seat in their counsels and a regular budget of valuable Intelligence.  If we contribute to the pool, we shall draw something from it in the form of finished products; if we fail to contribute, we shall receive nothing.  John Bryden, Best Kept Secret, p. 266-267.

Many C Int C personnel went into Europe with the “3rd Canadian Infantry Division (3 Cdn Inf Div) under 1st British Corps (1 Brit Corps)” when it “landed in Normandy on D-Day.”  Subsequently, additional Intelligence staff with the “2nd Canadian Corps (2 Cdn Corps)” participated in the operations at Caen while “under the command of the 2nd British Army.”  From 23 July 1944, senior C Int C staffs worked in the “Headquarters of the 1st Canadian Army, which was at that time in command of both British and Canadian Corps composed of a great variety of Allied forces.”[1]

[1] Col Peter E.R. Wright, First Canadian Army Final Intelligence Report, p. 2.

Colonel Charles Robert Raefe Douthwaite, MBE, CD, Medaille de la Reconnaissance Française, Croix de Guerre avec Etoile de Bronze,  Officer, Order of Orange Nassau (with Swords), Canada’s most decorated Intelligence officer of the Second World War.

Member of the British Empire medal, Medaille de la Reconnaissance Française, Croix de Guerre avec Etoile de Bronze, and Order of Orange Nassau, Netherlands medal.

After 12 years of service with the RCMP he joined the Army in March 1940 and proceeded overseas in Sep 1942.  Towards the end of 1942, the British offered Canada about 150 vacancies with the First Army in North Africa to allow officers and men to gain battle experience.  A number of Intelligence officers were selected, including Capt C.R.R. Douthwaite, who was serving as a Field Security Officer (FSO) at the time.  He was attached to No. 78 British Field Security, which took him to Sicily.  In Oct 1943, he took command of the newly formed No. 16 FSS with 1st Canadian Army.

During the first five months of 1944, the C Int C’s No. 3 FSS in Otterbourne in the UK had an active role in preparing for the invasion with the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division.  Capt Douthwaite was the most experienced FSO at the time, and he was therefore assigned to No. 3 FSS.  No. 3 FSS followed the 3rd Cdn Inf Div into France on D-Day, 6  June 1944.  Capt Douthwaite was the OC of the advance party.

At a gathering of 3 Int Trg Coy personnel in Halifax in the fall of 1973, Col Douthwaite spoke to the author about the Normandy landing.  On driving off the Landing Craft Tank (LCT), his jeep sank in moderately deep water.  He stood on his tiptoes while the driver held his breath, and they drove on up the beach.  In the first firefight they got into, one of his team killed a German who was about to shoot at Raefe, by firing at him with a Portable Infantry Anti-tank launcher (PIAT).  The advance party set up a temporary HQ at Graye-sur-Mer, and was joined by the remainder of the Section on 13 June.  Their immediate task was to establish control over civilian movement.

As the division fought through North West Europe, the Unit continued to be reinforced.  No. 16 FSS assisted in the security preparations for Operation Veritable, launched on 8 Feb 1945.  Capt Douthwaite conducted FS operations in the area of Cleve and Bedburg, setting up area security restrictions and arranging to have them enforced.  By May 1945, Major Douthwaite was serving as the GSO2 I (b) for 1 Canadian Corps at its Area HQ in Utrecht.  In July 1945, he served in the No. 1 ASO at Aurich as the GSO2.  Unfortunately, he was injured in a car accident on 30 July 45.  His place was taken by his assistant, Capt Reginald J.G. Weeks (who later served as MGen, Chief of Int and Security to NATO HQ, Brussels, Belgium, before becoming the Int Branch Col Comdt).

Major Douthwaite was awarded the MBE for his wartime service.[1]  He was also awarded the Medaille de la Reconnaissance Française, the Croix de la Guerre avec Etoile de Bronze and was made an Officer of the Order of Orange Nassau with Swords.

Early in August 1956, Major Charles R. Raefe Douthwaite, GSO2 O&T, DMI, commenced his rehabilitation leave prior to retirement.  Maj Douthwaite served in the reserves as the OC of 3 Intelligence Company after the war until 1963.  He continued to be involved in Intelligence duties being appointed as an Advisor to the CDA, and was promoted to LCol and later full Col during his remaining service.[2]  He continued to be involved in the affairs of 3 Int Coy taking part in annual unit events including a reunion of former COs in 1975.  Details courtesy of MGen Reginald J.G. Weeks (Sep 1999), and BGen George C. Piercey (Oct 2003).

Brigadier-General George Charles Piercey

Brigadier-General George Charles Piercey, CMM, E.D., C.C., LLD (Hon), Q.C., was born in Armdale, Nova Scotia, in 1919 and received his early education in Halifax.  Between 1938 and 1941 he earned his Bachelor of Commerce, Arts and Law degrees from Dalhousie University.

Commencing with army cadets at Chebucto Road and Bloomfield High Schools, George had a long association with military training shortly before the outbreak of the Second World War.  In 1939, while a student at Dalhousie University, he was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the 1st Halifax-Dartmouth Coastal Defence Regiment, Royal Canadian Artillery (RCA), as a Company Commander in the Dalhousie-Kings Canadian Officer Training Corps (COTC).  Following graduation from Dalhousie University Law School in 1941, he went on active service with the RCA.

In 1944 he transferred to the Canadian Intelligence Corps (C Int C), was promoted to Captain and served overseas in Britain, Italy and the Netherlands.  On his return home after the war he rejoined the Militia.

3 Intelligence Company was established at the Queen Street Armouries on 7 February 1951.  This new company office was located on the corner of Queen and Spring Garden Roads.  The site is now less than two blocks from the former Intelligence Company quarters at Royal Artillery Park (RA Park).    The first people enrolled in the Company included Capt George C. Piercey, Capt A.P. McCarthy, and Capt R.V.A. Swetnam.  All three of these men had served with the C Int C during the Second World War.  (At a later date both Captains Piercey and Swetnam held the honour of commanding the Unit).

On his promotion, Major Piercey was appointed the Commanding Officer of No. 3 Intelligence Training Company in Halifax.  He was the CO from 1 Oct 1954 until 30 Sep 1958.  During his command, the Crerar trophy, which was established in 1953 by the Canadian Military Intelligence Association (CMIA), was presented to 3 Int Trg Coy 1956 for having the highest efficiency rating in the training year.  3 Int Trg Coy won this trophy again in 1966.  

Promoted to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel, he served as AAQMC of No. 4 Militia Group, and he was promoted to the rank of Colonel.  In 1970 serving as a Colonel, he accepted the presidency of the Canadian Military Intelligence Association (CMIA).  That same year he was promoted to the rank of Brigadier-General and appointed the Commander of Militia Area Atlantic.   BGen Piercey served as the Honorary Aide-de-Camp to Governor-Generals Vanier and Michener and in 1973 he was designated a Commander of the Canadian Order of Military Merit.  He retired that same year.

Following his wartime service George Piercey served as the Treasurer and Legal Counsel of Piercey Supplies and Piercey Investors Limited.  In 1959 he entered the former Halifax Law firm of Daley, Black, Moreira & Piercey as a partner.  In 1977 he retired from the firm to assume responsibilities as the President of the Nova Scotia Savings and Loan Company after having served for many years on its Board of Directors.  In 1979 he took over the duties of the President of Piercey Investors and was the Chairman of the Board at the time of his death.  He was a strong supporter of Dalhousie University and served 17 years on the Board of Governors and two years as its Chairman.  In 1995, the University awarded him an Honorary Doctorate of Laws degree, and in the same year he received the University’s Outstanding Alumni Award.

In 1995, BGen Piercey attended the inauguration of 3 Int Company.

Brigadier-General George Charles Piercey, CMM, E.D., C.C., LLD (Hon), Q.C., passed away at the age of 86 in Halifax, on 3 October 2005.

[1] Supplement to The London Gazette of Tuesday, the 10th of JULY, 1945, Thurday, 12 July 1945.

[2] Details courtesy of MGen Reginald J.G. Weeks (Sep 1999), and BGen George C. Piercey (Oct 2003).

2Lt R.J.G. Weeks served as a C Int C Officer during the war (shown on the left in the middle), and would later rise to the rank of Major-General.

He is shown as a Colonel acting as the Canadian Attache in Bonn, Germany in the 1970s.  He served as the second Honorary Colonel Commandant of the post-1982 Intelligence Branch.

The Intelligence Section at CMHQ was probably the most important link in the entire intelligence chain during the Second World War. Located in London, England, where the highest Allied planning and control took place, CMHQ was ideally situated to act as a listening post both for the Department in Ottawa and for the Canadian Army Overseas. The CMHQ Intelligence Section initially controlled cipher protection of Army messages between Ottawa and London, and was the agency responsible for security liaison between Canada and Canadian formations in England. It was directly involved in censorship, and later had charge of all aspects of recruiting for the intelligence establishments it helped form. It was also responsible for the training and professional development of all Canadian intelligence personnel, as well as handling of enemy prisoners of war.

As Canadian units moved overseas, personnel who appeared suitable for intelligence duties were sent to British Intelligence Schools. Handling of cipher messages was one of the first priorities, and the initial Canadian personnel to be trained came from First Canadian Division, which had arrived in England in December 1940. RCAF Air Intelligence Liaison officers, who would work closely with Army formation Intelligence staffs, were assigned to I Canadian Corps HQ.

1st Canadian Parachute Battalion and the First Special Service Force

The FSSF was a bi-nationalgroup consisting of elite Canadian and American soldiers.  The Canadian component was originally the 2nd Canadian Parachute Battalion, and then renamed the 1st Canadian Special Service Battalion. In June 1942, when it joined with US Army troops and became the First Special Service Force, Canadians comprised 1/4 of its strength, 47 officers and 650 other ranks.  The First Special Service Force was activated 20 July 1942, under US LCol (later BGen) Robert T. Frederick, and was based at Fort Harrison outside Helena, Montana. It was organized into a combat element of 108 officers and 1,167 enlisted men and a service battalion of 25 officers and 521 enlisted men.  Known as the “Devil’s Brigade,” the FSSF was the first allied unit to secure Rome on 4 June 1944.  During the Italian campaign, Canadian casualties alone totalled 185, or about one-third of the Force’s Canadian contingent.   Sixty-two of them lie among the 2,313 war dead at Beach Head War Cemetery in Anzio on Italy’s west coast.  The FSSF was disbanded 5 December 1944, near Menton, France.  In March 1981, then-President Ronald Reagan told the House of Commons that the First Special Service Force “made no distinctions when it went into battle.  Its men had the common cause of freedom at their side and the common denominator of courage in their hearts.  They were neither Canadian nor American.  They were, in Gen (Ike) Eisenhower‘s term, liberators.”

In the Brigade-sized combined Canada-United States First Special Service Force (FSSF),which operated in Kiska and in Italy, the Unit Intelligence Officer was Major R.D. Burhans, an American, throughout the unit’s Second World Warservice.  Capt Robert D. Burhans had worked in the ArmyIntelligence Section in Washington before being promoted and becoming the FSSFG2 in July 1942.  His Intelligence Assistantwas Lt Finn Roll, also an American. (Robert H.Adleman & Col George Walton, TheDevil’s Brigade, (Toronto: Bantam Books, 1966), p. 43.)

The 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion and the First Special Service Force had their own Intelligence staff during the Second World War.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3396063)

First Special Service Force paratroopers with captured Italian weapons, Anzio, Italy, 20 Apr 1944.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No, 3205532)

German prisoners being interrogated by a Field Security Team, while awaiting transport, 23 August 1944.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3202258)

Captain G.B. Shellon, Intelligence Officer of the 10th Canadian Infantry Brigade, and Lieutenant R.C. McNairn of the Pioneer Platoon, Algonquin Regiment, talking with Dutch civilians near the Belgium-Netherlands border, 16 October 1944

(F.K. Matsubuchi Family Photo)

C Int C members returning from the Pacific, arrive at the CNR station in Montreal, Quebec, 25 May 1947.  (Note, members appear to be wearing both C Int C and UK Int Corps badges with C Int C shoulder flashes.

During the Second World War, Japanese Canadians, known as Nisei/Nikkei, were exempt from military service; however, a few were able to serve in the Canadian military. The only Nisei known to be killed in action was Trooper Minoru Morgan Tanaka from Saskatchewan who died in Holland in 1945.  In January 1945, the Canadian Intelligence Corps recruited 150 Nisei or 2nd generation Japanese Canadians due to pressure from the British for Japanese linguists.  After receiving basic training in Brantford and Simcoe, Ontario followed by Japanese instruction at the S-20 Pacific Command Japanese Language School in Vancouver, many of the Nisei served in southeast Asia.  By 1947, they had resumed civilian life in Canada.

Sir William S. Stephenson

Sir William Samuel Stephenson, CC, MC, DFC (23 January 1897 – 31 January 1989)

Sir William Stephenson was the first Colonel Commandant of the Canadian Forces Intelligence Branch from 1982 – 1985. He played an active role in establishing the Branch.

As a Canadian soldier, airman and spymaster, Stephenson became the senior representative of British intelligence for the Western Hemisphere during the Second World War.  The telegraphic address of his office was INTREPID, which was later popularized as his code name. His organization's activities ranged from censoring transatlantic mail, breaking letter codes (which exposed at least one German spy in the United States), forging diplomatic documents, obtaining military codes, protecting against sabotage of Allied factories and training Allied agents, according to the Intrepid Society, a group dedicated to honoring and sustaining Stephenson's memory.  Stephenson was also a radio pioneer who helped develop a way of transmitting photographs around the world. But it was his espionage work that garnered the most fame. Some suggest his covert operations in the Second World War were a decisive factor in the Allied victory.  Author Ian Fleming has credited Stephenson as being an inspiration for James Bond.  In an interview with the Times newspaper in 1962, Fleming said: "James Bond is a highly romanticized version of a true spy. The real thing is … William Stephenson.“

Stephenson played a key role in the creation of the Central Intelligence Agency in the United States.  As Winston Churchill's personal representative to U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt during the war, Stephenson became a close advisor to FDR and suggested he put William J. Donovan in charge of all U.S. intelligence services.  Donovan, a good friend of Stephenson, founded the U.S. wartime Office of Strategic Services, which eventually became the CIA.  Donovan later said, "Bill Stephenson taught us all we ever knew about foreign intelligence," according to the Intrepid Society.  For his extraordinary service to the war effort, he was made a Knight Bachelor by King George VI in the 1945 New Year Honours.  In recommending Stephenson for the knighthood, Winston Churchill wrote: "This one is dear to my heart."  In November 1946 Stephenson received the Medal for Merit 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".  In his homeland, Stephenson was made a Companion of the Order of Canada on 17 Dec 1979.  He died on 31 Jan 1989, in Paget, Bermuda, at age 93.

On 2 May 2000, CIA Executive Director David W. Carey, representing the Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet and Deputy Director John A. Gordon, accepted a bronze statuette of Stephenson from the Intrepid Society of Winnipeg, Manitoba. 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.

Canadians played an instrumental part in covert HUMINT, SIGINT and espionage activities.  The C Int C assisted in screening of volunteers chosen for service with Britain's Special Operations Executive (SOE), and would later participate in training at Camp X near Whitby, Ontario.

A more detailed description of Sir William Stephenson's story can be found on a separate web page on this site.

(IWM Photo, A4811)

Sir William S. Stephenson, in the grey pants, dark suit jacket at left, on board HMS Prince of Wales along with Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt during their meeting in Placentia Bay, Newfoundland, on 17 Aug 1941.

Stephenson participated in re-establishing a working relationship between the British SIS and American Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and established the British Security Co-ordination (BSC) HQ in New York as a base to conduct secret warfare operations from.  The BSC eventually included the SOE, SIS, Security Executive, MI-5, and an extensive intelligence-communications web.  Bermuda Station was established as a satellite base for various BSC communication-interception activities.

Major-General William J. Donovan, wartime chief of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) presenting the American Medal for Merit to Sir William S. Stephenson, Director of British Security Coordination in the Western hemisphere from 1940-45.  Looking on during the ceremony in Sir Williams' suite at the Dorset Hotel are (left to right) Colonel Edward G. Buxton, assistant director of OSS; Robert Sherwood, noted playwright, and Lady Mary F. Stephenson.

Many years later he was made a Companion of the Order of Canada, awarded on 17 December 1979.  He was invested on 5 February 1980, with the following citation:

This "Quiet Canadian" from Winnipeg earned early renown as a pilot in the First World War and became an inventor and industrialist before he was thirty. He played a key role in the Second World War when, amongst other notable achievements, he organized and directed so daring and successful an espionage network that it is credited with playing an important part in the Allied Victory. He was, indeed, "A Man Called Intrepid". Subsequently, Sir William lent his formidable talents to extensive industrial enterprises in Canada and beyond. In recognition of his extraordinary achievements.

After the war, Stephenson lived at the Princess Hotel for a time before buying his own home in Bermuda.  For his extraordinary service to the war effort, he was made a Knight Bachelor by King George VI in the 1945 New Year Honours. In recommending Sir William for the knighthood, Winston Churchill wrote: "This one is dear to my heart."

In November 1946 Sir William Stephenson received the Medal for Merit from President Harry S. Truman, at that time the highest U.S. Medal that could be awarded to a civilian. 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 finally recognized by his native land long after the War. He was made a Companion of the Order of Canada 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, Sir William 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 was named for him, after a vote was held to choose the name of the new library. The artist Leo Mol donated a miniature of his statue of Sir William to the library. On 24 July 1999, The Princess Royal unveiled, Leo Mol's life-sized bronze statue of Sir William in military aviator uniform near the Provincial Legislature in Winnipeg. The monument is dedicated to his memory and achievements. On 15 November 2009, Water Avenue in downtown Winnipeg was renamed William Stephenson Way. Whitby, Ontario, has a street named for Stephenson, which connects with streets named Intrepid and Overlord. In 2004 Sir William Stephenson Public School was opened in Whitby. In Oshawa, Ontario, Branch 637 of the Royal Canadian Legion is named for Sir William. Intrepid Park, honouring Sir William’s code name was established near Oshawa, Ontario. This park is located in the vicinity of what was formerly Camp X. A historic plaque erected at the park reads as follows:

"On this site British Security Co-ordination operated Special Training School No. 103 and Hydra. S.T.S. 103 trained Allied agents in the techniques of secret warfare for the Special Operations Executive (SOE) branch of the British Intelligence Service. Hydra Network communicated vital messages between Canada, the United States and Great Britain. This commemoration is dedicated to the service of the men and women who took part in these operations. In Memory of Sir William Stephenson 'The Man Called Intrepid' Born at Winnipeg, Manitoba, January 11, 1896. Died at Paget, Bermuda, January 31, 1989. Director of British Security Co-ordination. 1941-1946."

To conclude, the Canadian Military Intelligence Association has been in the forefront of honouring the wartime achievements and legacy of our first Colonel Commandant. A portrait of Sir William was refurbished and donated to the Sir William Stephenson Building housing JTF-X in Kingston. In 2020, the Association donated $5000.00 to the design and construction of a life-size statue of Sir William in the Whitby town square.  Finally, the Association designed and funded a plaque honouring the Canadian contribution to the Special Operations Executive (to which Sir William was connected with the establishment of Camp X) now proudly displayed in the Sir William Stephenson Building in Kingston.

British Security Co-ordination (1940-1945)

Camp X, near Whitby, Ontario was the site of a British Security Co-ordination special training school.

Not the least of Sir William's contributions to the war effort was the setting up by BSC of Camp X, the unofficial name of the secret Special Training School Number103, a Second World War paramilitary installation for training covert agents in the methods required for success in clandestine operations. Located in Whitby, Ontario, this was the first such training school in North America. Estimates vary, but between 500 plus British, Canadian and American covert operators were trained there from 1941 to 1945. Note that December 2021 marked the 80th Anniversary of Camp X. Artifacts from the Camp are now displayed in the 2 Intelligence Company Museum at Casa Loma in Toronto.

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 (France, Spain, Portugal, Italy and the Balkans) as well as in Africa, Australia, India and the Pacific. They may have included Ian Fleming, future author of the James Bond books. It has been said that the fictional Goldfinger's raid on Fort Knox was inspired by a Stephenson plan (never carried out) to steal $2,883,000,000 in Vichy French gold reserves from the French Caribbean colony of Martinique.

BSC purchased a ten-kilowatt transmitter from Philadelphia 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.

Plaques honouring British Security Co-ordination and Sir William Stephenson on the site of the former Camp X, Whitby, Ontario.  British Security Coordination insignia, 1940-1945.

Within Camp X, documents were faked at Station M and communication with agents around the world was achieved through Hydra. Camp X also served as a secure area where agents could be trained and equipped, and guerrilla devices tested.

Canadian SOE agents Frank Pickersgill, John Kenneth Macalister, and Roméo Sabourin were executed by the Nazis on 14 September 1944.

Memorial plaque at Buchenwald, Germany.

Seven Canadian officers who took part in SOE missions before and after D-Day arrive back in Halifax in December 1944. The second person from the right in the rear row of the group photo is Capt d'Artois. (DND).  Capt Guy d'Artois is also shown with his wife Sonya Butt.  They were married in Scotland before being parachuted separately into France to help with the resistance.  Major Gustave (Guy) Bieler at the top right was also captured and executed by the Germans during the war.

Field Security

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3203184)

Four members of the 3rd Field Security Section, Canadian Intelligence Corps, sharing a glass of wine with a French couple, Thaon, France, 20 June 1944.  Note: the Field Censors have blotted out their cap badges.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3226777)

Canadian Army Psychological Warfare vehicle in the streets of Caen, Normandy, 10 July 1944.

(H. Murray Lang Photo)

Capt. E.R. Austin and 12 men of No. 17 Field Security Section, Canadian Intelligence Corps, after arriving Normandy, in Cairon, France in late July 1944.
Top row (left to right): Capt. E.R. Austin; CSM H.F. Sutcliffe; A/Sgt. Bill McCarthy; A/Sgt. Mike Solomon; A/Sgt. Bob McPherson.
Middle row (left to right): A/Sgt. H. Murray Lang; A/Sgt. George Barnes; A/Sgt. Maurice Ippolito; A/Sgt. Frank Singer; A/Sgt. Jack Paysant.
Bottom row (left to right): Sgt. Alf Weiss; Pte. Harry Sime (Driver/Batman).

(DND Photo via CFSMI)

Fox armoured car carrying a Canadian Field Security team, entering The Hague, 8 May 1945, with Dutch Resistance members on the right.

(DND Photo)

Interrogation of Obersturmfuher Meinout Rost van Tonningen by Canadian Intelligence Corps Sergeant Brunno Vannier, No. 3 Field Security Section, May 1945.

Meinout Rost van Tonningen had a role with regard to the Waffen-SS in the Netherlands.  He founded the Mussert-Garde in 1939 together with Henk Feldmeijer. This paramilitary youth organization of the NSB developed into a kind of pre-SS, laying the foundations for the Dutch SS and the recruitment of Dutch volunteers for the Waffen-SS.

Rost was informed of the SS plans for the Netherlands nine days before NSB leader Mussert was. An Allgemeine SS was to be formed in the Netherlands and Dutch volunteers were to be recruited to serve in the new Waffen-SS division 'Wiking'. The Dutch would get their 'own' SS-Standarte called 'Westland'. Rost was very enthusiastic about all this and promised Himmler and Berger his complete co-operation. Rost was ordered to unite youths, women, farmers, and workers within national-socialist associations to promote national-socialism in the Netherlands. Seeing as how he failed to do so, Mussert remained the main marionette of the SS and the occupiers.

Rost tried to join the regular Waffen-SS, but was not successful until after the allied invasion of Normandy when his request was granted. In the period from 22 June to 8 August 1944, Rost was trained to become an officer (SS-untersturmführer der reserve) at the first battalion of 'Landstorm Nederland'. Halfway through March 1945, Rost went to the front in the Betuwe. He was captured by Canadians on 8 May 1945 (when he had become Obersturmführer).    The Canadians interrogated him after his arrest, after which he was transferred to a prison in Scheveningen. He is reputed to have committed suicide on 5 June 1945.

German Lieutenant-General Paul Reichelt (center) and Canadian Lieutenant-General Charles Foulkes (right) during preliminary discussions around 11am regarding the unconditional surrender of German forces in the Netherlands.  At Hotel de Wereld, Wageningen, Netherlands, 5 May 1945.  War correspondents line the tables behind.  Photographer Alex Stirton of the Canadian Film & Photo Unit attended to record the drama unfolding. (Alex Stirton, Library and Archives Canada Photo a137730)

(Alex Stirton; Library and Archives Canada Photo, a138588)

General Blaskowitz. Lieutenant-General (later General) Charles Foulkes, CC, CB, CBE, DSO, CD (left centre), Commanding Officer of 1st Canadian Corps, sitting on the opposite side of the same table where the earlier discussions took place.  Foulkes is accepting the surrender of all 117,000 German forces in The Netherlands from General Johannes Blaskowitz (second from right) at 4PM on 5 May 1945 in Hotel de Wereld, Wageningen, Netherlands.  Reichelt sits to Blaskowitz's right.  Kitching sits to Foulkes's left.  Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands sits in the foreground on the left.  In The Netherlands, May 5th would henceforth become Liberation Day (Bevrijdingsdag), celebrating the end of Nazi occupation in the Second World War.

Second World War medals: Military Medal, 1939-1945 Star, Italy Star, Defence Medal, Canadian Volunteer Service Medal, War Medal 1939-1945.

Military Medal (MM)

The medal is awarded to Warrant Officers, non-commissioned officers and men for individual or associated acts of bravery on the recommendation of a Commander-in-Chief in the field.

1939-1945 Star

The Star was awarded for six months service on active operations for Army and Navy, and two months for active air-crew between 02 September 1939 and 08 May 1945 (Europe) or 02 September 1945 (Pacific).

Italy Star

The star was awarded for one day operational service in Sicily or Italy between 11 June 1943 and 08 May 1945.

Defence Medal

Although the medal was usually awarded to Canadians for six months service in Britain between 03 September 1939 and 08 May 1945, the exact terms were: Service in the forces in non-operational areas subjected to air attack or closely threatened, providing such service lasted for three or more years. Service overseas or outside the country of residence, providing that such service lasted for one year, except in territories threatened by the enemy or subject to bomb attacks, in which case it was six months prior to 02 September 1945. Under the terms of this last condition, Canadians serving for one year in Newfoundland were eligible and persons serving for six months in Hong Kong were also eligible. The qualifying period in mine and bomb disposal was three months. Canadians serving in West Africa, Palestine and India, other than operational air crew, qualified for this medal. Those awarded the GC or GM for civil defence received this medal. Home Guard and others in Britain qualified for this medal.

Canadian Volunteer Service Medal

The Canadian Volunteer Service Medal is granted to persons of any rank in the Naval, Military or Air Forces of Canada who voluntarily served on Active Service and honorably completed eighteen months (540 days) total voluntary service from 3 September 1939 to 1 March 1947.  A silver bar (often called a clasp), a maple leaf at its centre, was awarded for 60 days service outside Canada.  A silver maple leaf is worn on the ribbon in undress.

War Medal 1939-1945

The War Medal was awarded to all full-time personnel of the armed forces and merchant marines for serving for 28 days between 3 September 1939 and 2 September 1945.  In the Merchant Navy, the 28 days must have been served at sea.

RCAF Intelligence

(RCAF Photo)

RCAF bomber crew receiving a briefing, and later being debriefed by the Squadron Intelligence Officer.

(RCAF Photo)

RCAF bomber crew receiving a briefing, and later being debriefed by the Squadron Intelligence Officer.

(IWM Photo)

Women knitting together a terrain model used for briefing RAF and RCAF aircrews, c1942.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3353839)

RCAF Intelligence Room, Boundary Bay, British Columbia, 26 Jan 1943.

(IWM Photo, CH 17127)

Flight Lieutenant J. M. Maclennan, the Intelligence Officer of No. 406 Squadron, RCAF, hanging aircraft recognition models in his office at Acklington, Northumberland.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 5559130)

The target was Sterkrade, a strategic industrial town in the Ruhr, Germany, heavily defended with flak batteries and night-fighters. The trio from No. 431 Iroquois Squadron shown here, are telling an intelligence officer how they saw the objective pranged. Shown are (left to right) P/O Hal Phillips from Vancouver, BV,  F/O Gordon Dumville from Rocanville, Saskatchewan, and F/O R. W. Harrison from Lorlie, Saskatchewan. All had completed more than ten missions with the RCAF Bomber Group, 17 June 1944.

16/17th June 1944, bombing raid on Sterkrade in the Ruhr with 321 Aircraft, including 162 Halifaxes, 147 Lancasters, 12 Mosquitos – flown by Nos. 1, 4, 6 & 8 Groups to Attack the Synthetic-Oil Plant at Sterkrade/Holten despite a poor Weather Forecast. The Ruhrchemie AG Synthetic Oil Plant (“Oberhausen-Holten” or “Sterkrade/Holten”) was a Bombing Target of the Oil Campaign which pitted the RAF, the RCAF, and the USAAF against Facilities supplying Germany with Petroleum, Oil, and Lubrication (POL) Products.
The Target was found to be covered by thick Cloud and the Pathfinder Markers quickly disappeared. The Main Force Crews could do little but Bomb on to the diminishing Glow of the Markers in the Cloud. RAF Photographic Reconnaissance & German Reports agree that most of the Bombing was scattered, although some Bombs did fall in the Plant area, but with little effect upon Production. Unfortunately, the Route of the Bomber Stream passed near a German Night-Fighter Beacon at Bocholt, only 30-miles from Sterkrade. The German Controller had chosen this Beacon as the Holding Point for his Night Fighters. Approximately 21 Bombers were Shot Down by Fighters and a further 10 by Flak. 22 of the Lost Aircraft were Halifax’s, these losses being 13.6% of the 162 Halifax’s on the Raid.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 5085632)

Operations monitoring at the Eastern Air Command HQ, Halifax, 9 January 1943.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3583690)

Processing of prints for tri-metrogon mapping, No.1 Photographic Establishment, RCAF, Rockcliffe, Ontario, Canada, 1 March 1945.

Trimetrogon is an aerial photographic survey method that involves the use of three cameras in one assembly. One camera is pointed directly downwards, and the other two are pointed to either side of the flight path at a 30° depression angle (60° from vertical). The images overlap, allowing the use of stereographic interpretation of the topography. The name comes from the Metrogon cameras used in the original montages.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3583720)

Processing of prints for tri-metrogon mapping, No.1 Photographic Establishment, RCAF, Rockcliffe, Ontario, Canada, 1 March 1945.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3583694)

Processing of prints for tri-metrogon mapping, No.1 Photographic Establishment, RCAF, Rockcliffe, Ontario, Canada, 1 March 1945.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3574066)

Preliminary indexing of prints for tri-metrogon mapping, No.1 Photographic Establishment, RCAF, Rockcliffe, Ontario, Canada, 1 March 1945.

Captured German Aircraft and Equipment, 1945

German aircraft taken as war prizes in 1945 and flown by RCAF test pilots at Farnborough in the UK.  For more information on these aircraft see the sections on Axis Warplane Survivors and Canadian War Trophies.

(DND Photos)

German V2 rocket taken as a war prize in 1945 and brought to Canada by Capt F.M. Mowat's Intelligence Collection team.  The V2 is shown here on display at the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto in 1950.  This V2 is believed to have been buried near Picton, Ontario, ca 1960.  For more information on this rocket see the section on Canadian War Trophies.

Lieutenant-General Guy Simonds, Sir Winston Churchill and General Montgomery, with a post war view of NDHQ as it once stood in what is now a park in front of the present day NDHQ.

Communications Security Establishment Canada

(CSE Photo)

Colonel Ed Drake, the First Director of the Communications Security Establishment (CSE).

CSEC was originally formed as part of the National Research Council, which is a research organization focusing on science and technology. Its original mandate was to analyze foreign communication (SIGINT, or Signals Intelligence) collected by the Canadian Army.   The Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC or CSE); Centre de la sécurité des télécommunications Canada) ("CSTC" or "CST") is the Canadian government's national cryptologic intelligence agency. Administered under the Department of National Defence (DND), it is charged with the duty of keeping track of foreign signals intelligence (SIGINT), and protecting Canadian government electronic information and communication networks. The CSE is accountable to the Minister of National Defence through two deputy ministers, one of whom is responsible for Administration, the other Policy and Operations. The Minister of National Defence is in turn accountable to the Cabinet and Parliament.

The CSE was established in 1946 as the Communications Branch of the National Research Council (CBNRC), and was transferred to the DND in 1975 by Order-in-Council. The origins of the CSE can be traced back to the Second World War where the civilian organization worked with intercepted foreign electronic communications, collected largely from the Canadian Signal Corps station at Rockcliffe airport in Ottawa. This unit successfully decrypted, translated, and analyzed these foreign signals, and turned that raw information into useful intelligence reports during the course of the war.

The CSE and the information it gathered and shared was secret for 34 years, when the CBC program "the fifth estate" did a story on the organization, resulting in an outcry in the Canadian House of Commons and an admission by the Canadian government that the organization existed. The CSE is now publicly known, and occupies several buildings in Ottawa, including the Edward Drake Building and the neighboring Sir Leonard Tilley Building.

During the Cold War, CSE was primarily responsible for providing SIGINT data to the Department of National Defence regarding the military operations of the Soviet Union. Since then, CSE has diversified and now is the primary SIGINT resource in Canada. The CSE also provides technical advice, guidance and services to the Government of Canada to maintain the security of its information and information infrastructures.

In early 2008, in line with the Federal Identity Program (FIP) of the Government of Canada, which requires all federal agencies to have the word "Canada" in their name, CSE changed its name to "Communications Security Establishment Canada" (CSEC); Centre de la sécurité des télécommunications Canada (CSTC).

Post-War C Int C

General, The Honorable HDG Crerar, CH, CB, DSO, CD, PC (28 April 1888 – 1 April 1965)

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4233419)

General H.D.G. Crerar, First Honorary Colonel Commandant of the Canadian Intelligence Corps.

One of Canada's greatest wartime commanders, General Crerar was born and educated in Hamilton, Ontario.  Graduating from the Royal Military College in 1909, he took a position with the Ontario Hydro-Electric Commission, Toronto.  At the outbreak of the Great War he was a Lieutenant in Toronto's 4th Battery, 2nd Brigade, the Non-Permanent Active Militia.  He immediately joined Canada's First Division, going overseas with the First Contingent.  He served in France, initially with the 3rd Field Artillery Brigade, later as Brigade Major of the 5th Canadian Divisional Artillery.  A recognized leader in the development of modern artillery, he designed the largest, most intricate and successful creeping barrage in the later days of the war.  This three-day barrage at Canal du Nord halted the final German advance and was considered a brilliant use of artillery.  His fine work was recognized in the award of the Distinguished Service Order.  By October 1918, he was a Lieutenant-Colonel.  After the war he remained in the army and was appointed to the General Staff, Ottawa.  Following attendance at the British Staff College he returned to Kingston as Professor of Tactics, Royal Military College.  He represented Canada at the 1932 Geneva Disarmament Conference and at the London Imperial Conference of 1937.  In 1935 he was promoted to Colonel concurrent with appointment as Commandant, Royal Military College.  Immediately following the declaration of war in 1939, he was promoted and dispatched to Britain to prepare for the arrival of the Canadians.  In July the following year, he returned to Ottawa a Major-General and as Chief of the General Staff.  In 1941, he was promoted to Lieutenant-General. Late in 1941 he returned to England and, in order to command the 2nd Canadian Division, reverted to Major-General.  On arrival he became temporary Corps Commander and was immediately promoted to Lieutenant-General for the second time.  In April 1942, he was given permanent command of the 1st Canadian Corps.  

"Uncle Harry", as his senior staff affectionately called him, assumed command of the First Canadian Army on 20 March 1944, less than three months before the allied assault on Normandy.  By August, after Caen had fallen and while the battle for Falaise was developing, it was announced that Crerar was in the field and in command of the Canadians.  As well as three Canadian Divisions (the 2nd, 3rd and 4th), the Polish First Armoured Division, the British 49th (West Riding) and 51st (Highland) Divisions were to remain with him almost to the end of hostilities.  During his campaigns elements of the American, Belgian, Czech, Dutch and French forces were attached to his army; he was adept at getting the best from these widely-differing forces.  After the Canadians broke the Caen "hinge", General Crerar directed one of the great battles of the war, throwing his formations into Falaise and closing the Trun Gap.  This was followed by the great pursuit through France and Belgium, an action that extended from Le Havre to the Scheldt estuary and Antwerp.  This extended front necessitated that he spent much of his time in his aircraft visiting, in turn, the British divisions hammering at Le Havre, the 3rd Canadians assaulting Boulogne and Calais, the 4th Canadians at Bruges and Ostende, the Poles at Terneuzen, the Americans near Turnhout and the 2nd Canadians at Antwerp.  This was an outstanding feat by any measure.  

After the bloody battles of the Leopold Canal, the Breskens Pocket and Walchern Island, he led his army into the Nijemgen salient to prepare for the final assault into Germany.  In February, he threw his army against the Northern flank of the Siegfried Line, a prelude to winning the great battles of the Reichswald and Hochwald forests, thereby setting the stage for the great British and American drives into the Ruhr and the plains of northern Germany.  With the addition of the 1st Canadian Corps from Italy, General Crerar launched his forces through western and northern Holland and into north-western Germany.  It was here that the war ended for Crerar's First Canadian Army.  The King honored General Crerar by appointing him to the Order of the Companions of Honour. General Crerar was the first Canadian to gain the rank of General while on active service at the front.  The contribution of his First Canadian Army and the forces of the many nations who fought with the Army was immense.  Their victories had significant bearing on the Allied advance through France, Belgium, Holland and into Germany.

(DND Photo)

General Crerar getting out of his jeep in Normandy, July 1944.  

General Crerar retired in 1946 after serving Canada for more than 35 years.  His career spanned two world wars and he was decorated by France, Belgium, the USA, Poland and Holland.  One of the most distinguished military leaders produced by Canada, General Crerar died in Ottawa in 1965. Col Peter E.R. Wright, C Int C, was the only officer below the rank of Major General to be selected as a pallbearer.

Colonel Peter. E. R. Wright shown here inspecting Militia Intelligence Sections taking part in the summer concentration training period in 1967.  Col Wright was the last Honorary Colonel Commandant of the Canadian Intelligence Corps before integration of the Canadian Forces in Feb 1968.

LCol P.E.R. Wright, GSO1 (Int) HQ, First Canadian Army from 21 June 1943 until the end of the war.  (DND Photo via CFSMI)

Col Peter Edward Robinson Wright was born 16 July 1910 at Toronto, Ontario.  He was educated at St. Andrews University, Scotland, and Osgoode Hall, Toronto.  His military service dates from his enrolment as a Lt in the Royal Regiment of Canada, 13 September 1939.  He then held various staff appointments with 4 Canadian Infantry Division, 2 Division, 1 Corps and the Canadian Planning Staff.  His first Intelligence appointment was as GSO (Int), HQ 1 Canadian Army, 21 June 1943.  He was later promoted Col GS (Int) HQ 1 Canadian Army, 3 May 1945, and served in this capacity to the end of the war.  During the post-war period, he helped to found the Canadian Military Intelligence Association and was appointed its First President.  His decorations include that of the Order of the British Empire, and Commander of the Order of Orange Nassau (with swords).  His post-war occupation was as a Barrister and QC in Toronto with the firm of Wright and McTaggart.  He also headed the Canadian Scholarship Trust Foundation, an investment organization for promoting university training.

Canadian Intelligence Corps uniforms prior to 1968.

The Canadian Women's Army Corps

The Canadian Women's Army Corps Overseas C.W.A.C. operators at work on the telephone switchboard at Canadian Military Headquarters, London, September 1941.  Many served in Intelligence duties during the war and post-war with  Reserve Intelligence Sections across Canada.

RCN Intelligence Post War

RCN McDonnell Banshee jet fighter and HMCS Bonaventure.

Naval Intelligence, which had grown in size and prominence during the Second World War, shifted its focus to the Soviet threat after 1945.  During April 1948, the Directorate of Naval Intelligence (DNI) came back into existence and would maintain its organizational framework within the Navy until the 1960s.  The RCN also maintained a number of radio stations to collect data in support of communications research.  Naval Intelligence responsibilities for trade protection partly ended in 1950, when responsibilities were shifted to the Directorate of Naval Plans and Operations in Ottawa.

RCAF Intelligence Post War

During the early 1950s, an Intelligence staff supported the RCAF's 1 Air Division in Europe. This Division later became 1 Canadian Air Group until its disbandment in Germany in 1992.

Korean War

During the 75th Anniversary of the C Int C and the 35th Anniversary celebration of the Intelligence Branch events in Kingston, Colin Schlachta wore a Korean War era C Int C uniform, shown here with the author in present day uniform.  Quite a change.

(RCN Photo)

HMCS Athabaskan, R79, ca Aug 1951 off the coast of Korea.

During the Korean conflict, No. 1 Field Security Section (FSS) was included as part of the 25th Canadian Infantry Brigade. This Section included representatives from both active and Reserve Forces.

Canadian Korea Medal

Awarded to Canadian military personnel for one day on the strength of an army unit in Korea; or 28 days afloat; or one sortie over Korea by a member of the RCAF, 02 July 1950 - 27 July 1953.

United Nations Service Medal (Korea)

The medal was earned for serving one day under United Nations' command in Korea or adjacent areas, including Japan and Okinawa. The medal could also be awarded for an aggregate of thirty days, which need not have been consecutive, spent on official visits of inspection to the qualifying area. The qualifying period was 27 June 1950 to 27 July 1954 (one year longer than for the Canadian Korean War Medal).

C Int C in the Cold War

The Canadian Army and the Royal Canadian Airforce made commitments as Canada's contribution to NATO and, commencing in 1951, began tours of duty in Germany and in France. In 1953, with the official openings of Camps and Wings, wives and children were allowed to join their husbands and fathers. Special Service Medal.

The Cold War – Training and Reserves

            One important early development of concern to the C Int C was the establishment and operation of an Intelligence training school at Camp Petawawa in 1947.  Courses were conducted at the Canadian School of Military Intelligence (CSMI) for both active and later Reserve force personnel of all Corps.  The training of Reserve personnel became a requirement in 1948, when “the Canadian Militia was authorized six Intelligence Training Companies.”

           In Aug 1950, the Department of Defence formally authorized the formation of a number of Militia Intelligence Training Companies.  The following six came into existence between 1948 and 1950: No. 1 Int Trg Coy was located in Montreal, No. 2 Int Trg Coy in Toronto, No. 3 Int Trg Coy in Halifax, No. 4 Int Trg Coy in Vancouver, No. 5 Int Trg Coy in Winnipeg and No. 6 Int Trg Coy in Edmonton.

No. 2 Intelligence Company, Toronto, 1948.

The basic aim of these companies was to provide a pool of trained manpower to augment the Regular Force.  Many of these Militia personnel were taken into the Regular Force in the early 1950s with the onset of the Korean War.  It was during this same period that Field Security Sections and other Corps representatives were dispatched to both Korea and Germany.

(DND Photo)

Canadian School ofMilitary Intelligence, Petawawa, Ontario, 1949.

(DND Photo)

CSMI, Capt WI Binkley, Ex Final Battle, Petawawa, Ontario, 1951.

(DND Photo)

No. 2 Intelligence Company, Toronto, 1952.

(DND Photo)

CSMI, Ex Trio, Petawawa, Ontario, summer 1954.

1957, C Int C Capt Cpl, artwork by G.W. Handsen.

1957, C Int C Lt & Sgt, artwork by G.W. Handsen.

(DND Photo)

CSMI Counter Sabotage Course May 1959, SCUBA diver presentation.

The Canadian Forces has gone through a number of challenges and changes.  For example, No. 4 Intelligence Training Company was initially formed in Vancouver on 30 Aug 1950.  On 15 July 1956, the minister of national defence approved the relocation of a detachment to Edmonton.  Two years later Western Command proposed that the detachment in Edmonton should form a new company; however the chief of general staff rejected the proposal at the time.  On 7 Feb 1962, the detachment was formally designated.  These reserve units went through a fresh stand-up in 1995:

2 Intelligence Company, Toronto.

3 Intelligence Company, Halifax.

4 Intelligence Company (4e Compagnie du renseignement), Montreal.

6 Intelligence Company, Edmonton, Winnipeg and Vancouver.

Intelligence Company Nos. 1 and 5 are now dormant.

7 Intelligence Company, Ottawa.  Ottawa's reserve intelligence unit, originally named 2 Intelligence Platoon, was established 18 February, 1993 by the Treasury Board as a support unit for the Special Service Force, in Canadian Forces Base Petawawa.  The unit was transferred to 1st Canadian Division in 1994 and then to 4th Canadian Division (then called Land Force Central Area) on 8 April 1995.  The unit was officially renamed 7 Intelligence Company on 18 July 2013.  In April, 2017, 7 Intelligence Company was incorporated into the Canadian Army Intelligence Regiment, a unit of the Canadian Combat Support Brigade within 5 Canadian Division.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 5091038)  

Col R.E. Hogarth, CD, Director of Military Intelligence (DMI) with the Polish Military Attache, December 1960.

Being the keeper of various records, I should have consulted Scarlet to Green.

Col W.W. Murray, MC, DMI, 04 Jul 1942-16 Oct 1946.

Col W.A.B. Anderson, OBE, DMI, 17 Feb 1946-02 Oct 1949.

LCol T.R. McCoy (Acting), DMI, 03 Oct 1949-31 Dec 1949.

Col A.F.B. Knight, OBE, DMI, 01 Jan 1950-31 Jul 1951.

LCol W.A. Todd (Acting), DMI, 01 Aug 1951-30 Nov 1951.

Col N.S. Cuthbert, ED, DMI, 01 Dec 1951-31 May 1953.

Col E.S. Tate, CD, DMI, 15 Jun 1953-31 Aug 1959.

Col R.E. Hogarth, CD, DMI, 01 Sep 1959-5 Aug 1962.

Col H.T. Fosberry, CD, DMI, 06 Aug 1962-30 Nov 1964.

The DMI position was abolished and became Director General of Intelligence (DGI).

BGen I.F. Kenyon, CD

(DND Photo)

2Lt Sherman Veinotte on the left, CWAC 2Lt, Lt J.E. Norris, 3 Intelligence Training Company, Halifax, Nova Scotia, 1963.

(DND Photo)

Colonel H.T. Fosbery, Director of Military Intelligence (DMI), visit to the CSMI, Camp Borden, Ontario, 1963.

(DND Photo)

Lt Sherman Veinotte, centre,with the CMIA Trophy, 3 Intelligence Training Company, Halifax, Nova Scotia, 1964.

3 Intelligence Training Company, Halifax, Nova Scotia, c1967.

Top Row: 1, 2, 3, Claude LaRue, 5, 6, 7. Sgt. Ed D. Kirby.

Middle Row: WO Rose M. Sutherby CWAC, Sgt. Alfred E. Brown, WO1 Samuel Gaskin, Sgt. unidentified, CWAC unidentified.

Front Row: Lt L.A. McAulay, CWAC, Lt. Jack E. Norris, Maj. William (Bill) A. Landry,

Lt. Sherman R. Veinotte, Lt V.A. Douglas CWAC.

(DND Photo via CFSMI)

No. 5 Intelligence Training Company, Winnipeg, Manitoba, with the Insinger and Jock Murray Trophies, 1967.  The Insinger trophy on the left was named in honour of Captain Ted Insinger who was killed at Dieppe on 19 August 1942.  The trophy was awarded annually to the Intelligence Training Company which achieved the greatest progress in the training year in comparison with the standard achieved in the previous year.  The members of the Canadian Women's Army Corps (CWAC) here, performed intelligence training and worked as integral members of these Reserve units.

(DND Photo)

No. 6 Intelligence Training Company, Edmonton, Alberta, 1967.  The CO was Major Cal Bricker, DFC.

(DND Photo)

C Int C Staff, Mobile Command HQ, Montreal, Quebec, 1967.

(DND Photo)

LCol C.B. MacFarlane, Col P.E.R. Wright, Capt E.N. Jungbluth, CFSIS, 1967.

(DND Photo)

Lt Peter Mackenzie & Colonel P.E.R. Wright, M113 APC, CFSIS summer parade, 1967.

C Int C Photo Interpreter training at the Canadian Forces School of Intelligence and Security (CFSIS), 1973.

Between 1948 and 1960, the Joint Air Photo Interpretation School (JAPIS) existed at Rivers, Manitoba. In 1950, the Air Photo Interpretation Centre (APIC) was formed at Rockcliffe, Ontario, where No. 1 Army Photo Interpretation Section (APIS) was established in 1953. These three organizations were united to form the Joint Photographic Interpretation Centre (JAPIC) in Ottawa. A series of integration activity since then transformed JAPIC into the Defence Photographic Interpretation Centre (CPIC), CF Photo Interpretation Unit (CFPIU), Directorate of Imagery Exploitation (DIE) and most recently CF Joint Imagery Centre (CFJIC).

Canadian Intelligence Corps buckle, Silver and Green Shoulder Flash, Kings's Crown cap badge and collar dog (1942-1952)

Canadian Intelligence Corps Queen's Crown cap badge and Army trade qualification badges (1952-1968).

The C Int C Group Level 1, 2, 3 and 4 Trade badges (1953-1968) are khaki with a True North Star and Magnetic North Star for Group 1, a laurel wreath added for Group 2, a King Edward Crown (no wreath) for Group 3, and a Crown and wreath for Group 4.  No trade badges were worn from 1968 to 1982.  Some time in the 1980s, the trade badges came back, with the Land (Army) elements having Trade Qualification Level 1 (TQ1) with just a True North Star, TQ2 with the star and wreath, TQ3 with a star and crown and TQ4 with a star, wreath and crown worn on the garrison jacket.  Trade badges are not worn by Army Officers.

Canadian Intelligence Corps cap badge - Queen's Crown (1952-1968).

Sinister Sam (hand-carved wooden statue).

(DND Photo)

Capt Jungbluth with Maj Wiens and the Dixon Trophy

In 1952, training activities for Regular and Militia personnel were moved from Petawawa to the newly-created CSMI at Camp Borden. Until unification in 1968, the C Int C provided Intelligence personnel for the Canadian Army, the Clerk-Intelligence trade supported the RCAF and the RCN employed operational personnel on intelligence duties.

(DND Photo)

Cessna L-19 Bird Dog, Canadian Army, Camera mount, C Int C, possibly Camp Gagetown, New Brunswick, c1964.

UN Duty in Cyprus

Canadian Military Intelligence Platoon in Cyprus. Lt Phil E. Bachand heads the list of C Int C personalities.  Sgt John L. Kirchner, Sgt R. Bernie Gray, Sgt J. Wally Webster, Cpl Jack A. Cuvelier, Cpl G. Ed Forde, Cpl Ernie R. Smith, and Pte Barry A. Boyce complete the list.  The GSO 3 (Int) is Capt J.G. H Ferguson of the Fort Garry Horse.  Lt Ken E. Edmonds died while on service in Cyprus in December 1964.

On United Nations duty all Canadian service personnel wore the UN cap badge (cloth or metal) on a blue beret and a shoulder flash.

C Int C uniforms, 1967.

Intelligence Integration, 1968

During the early 1960's the Canadian Government was exploring the possibility of amalgamating the three Services into a single, unified command structure. Although the government publicly stated that there was full consultation with the military, the process was essentially enacted by decree. The Royal Canadian Navy, Canadian Army and Royal Canadian Air Force ceased to exist and became the Sea, Land, and Air Elements of the Canadian Armed Forces. Individual Corps and Services common to the three elements such as Provost, Signals, Medical, Ordnance and Chaplains were unified and designated as Branches. New uniforms (the CF Greens) were authorized, and the rank structure unified.

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