The man who didn’t exist

Posted on Nov 25, 2015

Name: Steven Mate, aka Stephen Maitland
Code Name: UNKNOWN

Born in Hungary in 1911, Steve Mate moved to Canada in 1935, and was sent to Camp Borden for basic training. A fluent speaker of both English and Hungarian, Mate’s name was passed along the chain to British Security Co-ordination (BSC), who after an interview transferred him to Camp X in 1943.

As policy dictated, the Canadian army discharged Mate and he was considered a civilian when he began training at Camp X — a point that would later pose an issue.

Considered a quiet, hard-working man, Mate trained rigorously for a period of 3 months, but as a security measure, was given no knowledge of what his mission would be. By the time Mate shipped out to England, he had been given a new identity by the SOE and was now known as Lt. Stephen Maitland.

Tragedy struck when Mate was killed in a plane crash en route Italy. He, along with two Colonels, were on their way to SOE headquarters in Bari. However, when his body was recovered from the wreckage, all of his papers indicated he was Stephen Maitland.

His parents were eventually informed of his untimely death. But because he had been discharged from the Canadian army, who then had no knowledge of his passing, and thus no death certificate, they were unable to claim the insurance policy Mate had put in place before shipping out.

After an extensive rigamarole between Canadian and British authorities, Mate’s death certificate finally found its way to his parents.

Canadian Media Fund