Subject: [MediainMontreal] Help with Verdun mystery
Received: Tuesday, February 1, 2005, 8:33 PM
There's a good discussion forum about Verdun with a few neat stories
that I might use if I ever write another book about Montreal. Here's a
potboiler that maybe somebody knows the answer to ....
Most of us 55 and older will have various memories of the Cold War and
spies. But I suspect none of us knew just how close the spies were.
I recently bought a non-fiction paperback book in a second-hand book
store and while reading it, discovered the Verdun Cold War Connection.
The book is called "FOR SERVICES RENDERED" by John Sawatsky,
originally published by Doubleday & Company in 1952, and in 1953 a
paperback version was published by Penguin Books. It is about RCMP
spymaster Leslie James Bennett.
The Verdun Cold War Connection described in this book is all too brief
- no more than a couple of paragraphs - but left me fasinated and
wishing I could remember more about the location mentioned. In 1952,
a Soviet spy (code named "Gideon" ) set up operation in Verdun. Here
I will quote directly from the book (remember, this is non-fiction and
the year is 1952):
"Weeks later word arrived (from his controller) to start setting up
shop as a photographer. Gideon settled on a small shop on Bannantyne
Avenue ... in Verdun, a suburb near downtown Montreal. The store had
previously been a one-woman beauty salon that succumbed to competition
from two other beauty shops within a block. Low-income homes ...
mixed with the smattering of mom-and-pop outlets such as the Joe and
Alec Restaurant across the street dotted the neighbourhood... Before
he had finished purchasing photographic equipment he went out and
bought a short wave radio and propped it up in his living quarters..."
In 1953 Gideon contacted the RCMP and became a double-agent working
for the RCMP. Gideon continued to broadcast to Moscow from his
photography shop on Bannantyne (sending material provided to him by
the RCMP) until he was recalled to Moscow in 1956 for the usual
briefing. He never returned.
So, how are your memories? Where on Bannantyne was this Cold War spy
located? By the way, no other information is given in the book - and
I no idea.
The only clues (some are quoted above; others from the book) are:
1. In 1952 a photographers shop opened in a former beauty salon on
2. In 1952 there were two other beauty shops within a block.
3. The Joe and Alex Restaurant was across the street.
4. There was a short wave antenna situated at the back of the
5. In 1952 he was a short blond man in his late twenties, with an
6. While in Canada he used the name David Soboloff.
Can anyone help solve this Verdun Cold War Mystery?