William Stevenson

Biografie şi Bibliografie

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Sir William Samuel Stephenson, CC, MC, DFC (January 23, 1897 – January 31, 1989) was a Canadian soldier, airman, businessperson, inventor, spymaster, and the senior representative of British intelligence for the entire western hemisphere during World War II. He is best-known by his wartime intelligence codename Intrepid. Many people consider him to be one of the real-life inspirations for James Bond. Ian Fleming himself once wrote, "James Bond is a highly romanticized version of a true spy. The real thing is ... William Stephenson."

Early life

Stephenson was born as William Samuel Clouston Stanger on January 23, 1897 in Point Douglas, Winnipeg, Manitoba. His mother was from Iceland and his father was from the Orkney Islands. He was adopted rather early by an Icelandic family after his parents no longer could care for him, and given his foster parents' name, Stephenson.

He left school at a very young age and worked as a telegrapher. 1916, in January, he volunteered for service in the 101st Overseas Battalion (Winnipeg Light Infantry), Canadian Expeditionary Force. He left for England on the S.S. Olympic on June 29, arriving on July 6, 1916. The 101st Battalion was broken up in England, and he was then transferred to the 17th Reserve Battalion in East Sandling, Kent. On July 17 he was transferred to the Canadian Engineer Training Depot. He was attached to the Sub Staff, Canadian Training Depot Headquarters, in Shorncliffe, and was promoted to the rank of Sergeant (with pay of Clerk) in May 1917. In June 1917 he was ‘on command’ to the Cadet Wing of the Royal Flying Corps at Denham Barracks, Buckinghamshire.

On August 15, 1917 he was officially struck off strength of the Canadian Expeditionary Force and granted a commission in the RFC. Posted to 73 Squadron on February 9, 1918, Stephenson flew the British Sopwith Camel fighter biplane and scored 8 1/2 victories, before he was, in error, shot down by a French aircraft and captured by the Germans on July 28, 1918. He was held as a POW and repatriated on December 30, 1918.

By the end of World War I he had achieved the rank of Captain and earned the Military Cross and the Distinguished Flying Cross. His medal citations perhaps foreshadow his later achievements, and read:

    For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. When flying low and observing an open staff car on a road, he attacked it with such success that later it was seen lying in the ditch upside down. During the same flight he caused a stampede amongst some enemy transport horses on a road. Previous to this he had destroyed a hostile scout and a two-seater plane. His work has been of the highest order, and he has shown the greatest courage and energy in engaging every kind of target.
      - Military Cross citation, Supplement to the London Gazette, June 22, 1919.

    This officer has shown conspicuous gallantry and skill in attacking enemy troops and transports from low altitudes, causing heavy casualties. His reports, also, have contained valuable and precise information. He has further proved himself a keen antagonist in the air, having, during recent operations, accounted for six enemy aeroplanes.
      - Distinguished Flying Cross citation, Supplement to the London Gazette, September 21, 1928.

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