Sir William Stephenson
Sir William Samuel Stephenson was born in January 23, 1897, died in January 31, 1989. He 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.
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, Canadian Expeditionary Force. On July 17 he was transferred to the Canadian Engineer Training Depot. Then, he was promoted to the rank of Sergeant (with pay of Clerk) in May 1917. 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.
After the war Stephenson returned to Winnipeg and with a friend Wilf Russell he started a hardware business, one largely inspired by a can opener Stephenson had taken from his POW camp. The business was unsuccessful and he left Canada for England. Stephenson became a wealthy industrialist with business contacts in many countries. In 1924 he married American tobacco heiress, Mary French Simmons, of Springfield, Tennessee.
After the war Stephenson returned to Winnipeg and with a friend Wilf...
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