British Security Coordination's Canadian Contingent

BSC Certificate of Service, Allan C. Anderson.pdf

Allan Anderson's Certificate of Service, British Security Coordination

Given the BSC’s location in New York and footprint at Camp X near Oshawa, Ontario, it made logical sense for Director William Stephenson and Director of the Communications Section Benjamin deForest Bayly to recruit heavily among fellow Canadians. The records in this briefing book showcase some of the challenges of finding skilled personnel like engineers, electricians, and typists for unspecified top-secret work.

Clerical positions were advertised in Canadian newspapers, and Stephenson and Bayly also tapped into their old boy networks. They hired out of Mackenzie King’s Prime Minister’s Office and, due to the “grave security aspects” of their work, recruited trusted friends (CDBS00023 & CDBS00847). In instances where BSC personnel did not have particular individuals in mind for jobs, they could share their requirements with Canadian military intelligence, who strove to identify officers and enlisted men that met the BSC’s criteria. There are some humorous anecdotes about Canadian soldiers on loan to BSC headquarters arriving in New York with gas masks, steel helmets, no US dollars, and no accommodation arranged.

The documents illuminate one Canadian’s clandestine service in Latin America. Allan Anderson, a future Canadian Ambassador to Cuba, worked for the BSC in venues like Chile and Peru between 1941-43 under cover as a journalist for the Southam newspaper chain. The records indicate that after the war, senior Ottawa officials denied knowledge of such Canadians’ work with the BSC because they considered the topic to be too sensitive for public disclosure.

The Canadian women Stephenson hired as clerks are a particular gap in these Department of National Defence and Department of External Affairs records. This briefing book makes no pretence to be comprehensive, but it does shed light on several of the BSC Canadians’ identities and the nature of their service.

British Security Coordination's Canadian Contingent