Camp X was the unofficial name of a Second World War paramilitary and commando training installation, on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario between Whitby and Oshawa in Ontario, Canada. The area is known today as Intrepid Park, after the code name for Sir William Stephenson of the British Security Coordination.
Camp X was established December 6, 1941 by the chief of British Security Coordination (BSC), Sir William Stephenson, a Canadian from Ajax, Ontario, and a close confidante of Winston Churchill and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The camp was originally designed to link Britain and the United States at a time when the US was forbidden by the Neutrality Act to be directly involved in World War II.
Before the attack on Pearl Harbor and America’s entry into the war, Camp X opened for the purpose of training Allied agents from the Special Operations Executive, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and American Office of Strategic Services (OSS) intended to be dropped behind enemy lines as saboteurs and spies. However, even before the United States entered the war on December 7, 1941, agents from America’s intelligence services expressed an interest in sending personnel for training at the soon to be opened Camp X. Agents from the FBI and the Office of Strategic Services (forerunner of the CIA) secretly attended Camp X. Most notable was Colonel William “Wild Bill” Donovan, war-time head of the OSS, who credited Sir William Stephenson with teaching Americans about foreign intelligence gathering. The CIA even named their recruit training facility “The Farm”, a nod to the original farm that existed at the Camp X site.
Camp X was jointly operated by the BSC and the Government of Canada. The official names of the camp were many: S 25-1-1 by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), Project-J by the Canadian military, and Special Training School 103 by the Special Operations Executive, administered under the cover of the Ministry of Economic Warfare (MEW).
Camp X trained over five hundred Allied units of which 273 graduated and moved on to London for further training. Many secret agents were trained here. The Camp X pupils (which included such individuals as Sir Ian Fleming, author of the James Bond series) were schooled in a wide variety of special techniques including silent killing, sabotage, partisan support and recruitment methods for resistance movements, demolition, map reading, use of various weapons, and Morse code.
It was at Camp X that the OSS operated an “assassination and elimination” training program that was dubbed “the school of mayhem and murder” by George Hunter White, who trained at the facility in the 1950s.