Page last updated: 7 February 2021 - Dernière mise-à-jour: 7 janvier 2021
Benjamin deForest (Pat) Bayly - BSC, Camp X and ROCKEX
Prior to WW-2, Pat Bayly was a University of Toronto professor in Electrical Engineering.
In 1941, in close association with Sir William Stephenson as Director of British Security Co-ordination
(BSC), Pat Bayly became Assistant Director of BSC. He set up the HYDRA Communications Centre at
Camp X (in Whitby - near Oshawa) and designed special purpose equipment for networking New York,
Washington, Ottawa and the UK. To handle confidential traffic, he invented ROCKEX which was a
One-Time-Tape cipher device - see further below.
Operations at Camp X were two-fold: administratively, positions were held by Canadians - as to the staffing and running of the school itself, it
came under SOE control and therefore British staffing. However at certain times, it wasn't clear who was ultimately in charge. In the "Pat Bayly"
chapter in Bill Macdonald's book "The True Intrepid", there is a most interesting entry about how periodically things
were not so rosy in terms of clarity of who was in charge and Sir William Stephenson had to "put his foot down" so to speak (in Bayly's words):
“There were many squabbles at the multi-headed Camp X, and Stephenson’s financial clout helped smooth out the supervision.
When he got irrated at some of the bickering, Stephenson shut the training camp down. SOE were up some of the money for the
operation of the camp and thought they ran it, Bayly said. “Bill Stephenson just got mad one morning and cancelled the whole
thing and said, ‘Now you are in charge’. And Cuthbert Skilbeck wasn’t going to have that. He said, ‘We put up some of the
money for this place’, so he went down to New York, and he burst into Stephenson’s office and he said, ‘This is quite a deal,
and I’ve told Bayly he has to get out’, and Stephenson said, “Oh, you did?’ And he said, ‘Well, just wait a minute’. He phoned
me downstairs, and I came upstairs and he said, ‘Cuthbert Skilbeck, I’d like to introduce you to your boss.’” Bayly smiled.
“And this is me”.
From the Kingston Military Communications and Electronics Museum, the Rockex is described as follows:
The message was prepared on plain language tape, this tape was then
fed through the transmitter heads simultaneously with a special "scrambled"
tape to provide an encoded transmittable text. At the receiving terminal
a reverse process using a "scrambled" tape recreated a plain text page
copy. The Rockex was operated in conjunction with a tape punch and a
keyboard/printer of which the M-28 is an example. The name ROCKEX
originated after the designers attended a performance of the "Rockettes",
a dance group, at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.
ROCKEX Display at the Military Communications and Electronics Museum in Kingston Ontario Canada
Radio City Music Hall's Rockettes in the 1940's at the Rockefeller Center
Pat Bayly's activities encompassed other scientific/technical fields such as radar and he received
the Order of the British Empire (1946) and fellowship in the Institute of Radio Engineers (1947).
Pat Bayly Displays
Note the technical papers and Curta I calculator that were Pat Bayly's (thanks to Jodi B. in California for donating these)
He moved Bayly Engineering Ltd. (est. 1946, Oshawa) to Ajax in 1948, where his municipal leadership
led to incorporation, with him as the first mayor in 1955. Here is a photo of a turntable his company produced:
Here is an excellent write-up on the web simply titled "The Life and Times
of Benjamin de Forest (Pat) Bayly - 1903 - 1994)".
If you have questions or suggestions, please email Richard at his firstname.lastname@example.org email address.
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