Notes on Stuff You Should Know: Camp X

Notes on Stuff You Should Know: Camp X

Hi SYSK fans! Just a few quick notes on Josh and Chuck’s podcast about Camp X, the top secret World War 2 secret agent training camp in Ontario, Canada.

I just wanted to mention the discrepancy the guys found between the article’s version of Camp X’s training regimen and the version reported by the person who runs the Camp X website. Briefly, my article suggests that each “class” of trainees would, in addition to basic secret agent schooling, receive a course at Camp X specialized for the specific mission they were going to be sent on. The other version, from the Camp X website, is that Camp X was only basic training, and that trainees would subsequently be sent on to various British “finishing schools” that specialized in various things like explosives, recruiting resistance fighters, etc.

I believe the website’s version is incorrect. The British “finishing school” version is indeed how the British trained their secret agents, funneling them through basic schools, weeding out those who were unsuitable, and then moving them into more specialized schools based on their aptitude for different skills. This was the system in place prior to World War 2 and in use by the British during the war.

However, it’s not how Camp X operated. By the time Camp X was operational, teams were being trained up in a few weeks’ time so they could be immediately sent on their missions. There wasn’t time for multiple courses at different schools. Also, the Camp X trainees weren’t British, they were American and Canadian. They wouldn’t be sent to British secret agent schools (and a series of specialized training schools did not exist in Canada or the U.S. at the time). I can’t say for sure that no Camp X trainees went into the British training system for some reason or another, but it was definitely not the typical scenario.

I’m basing this information on several accounts from actual Camp X trainees found in some of the sources listed in the article’s bibliography. And of course I’m by no means calling out Josh and Chuck here, they rightfully pointed out a discrepancy between two sources. Just wanted to clarify that point and explain why I felt the website’s version isn’t wholly accurate.