Werner von Janowski

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Werner Alfred Waldemar von Janowski
Black and white mug shot of Werner von Janowski.
Royal Canadian Mounted Police mug shot of a 38-year-old Janowski.
Bornca 1903/1904
Allenstein, East Prussia
Died22 February 1978
Benisa Alicante, Spain
Spying career

Werner Alfred Waldemar von Janowski, (Abwehr-codenamed "Bobbi"; Allied-codenamed WATCHDOG), was a captured German Second World War Nazi spy and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police's first double agent.[1][2][3] He is believed to have been a triple agent by some, underscoring the RCMP's inexperience in espionage.[1]:135, 189[4] Due to power struggles between the Canadian and British intelligence agencies during the Second World War and the RCMP's inexperience, Operation Watchdog was a failure.[5] Janowski provided little significant intelligence to the Allies: no Abwehr agents were arrested and no U-boats were captured, despite his apparent cooperation.[2] Within a year the operation was shut down and Janowski was sent to a prison in Britain.[2]

Janowski disembarked from the German submarine U-518 submarine at Chaleur Bay, four miles west of New Carlisle, Quebec, around 5 a.m., on November 9, 1942. His destination was Montreal, having first to stop in New Carlisle so he could take the first train out.[3][6] At 6:30 a.m., under the alias of William Brenton, Janowski checked in at Hotel New Carlisle. The son of the hotel owner grew suspicious of him, due to inconsistencies with the German spy's story. He used an out-of-circulation Canadian note when paying his bill to the owner's son and when he left to wait at the train station the suspicious son of the hotelier followed him.[3][5][6]

Constable Alfonse Duchesneau of the Quebec Provincial Police was alerted to the situation, and he boarded the train car just as it was leaving the station. Duchesneau intercepted Janowski, who maintained he was William Brenton, a radio salesman from Toronto. When his baggage was searched, Janowski immediately said to Duchesneau, "Searching my luggage won't be necessary. I am a German officer who serves his country as you serve yours."[6]

After his capture and interrogation, the Canadian military attempted to locate the German submarine in which Janowski had arrived. Despite an extensive search of Chaleur Bay, both the warship HMCS Burlington and assisting Royal Canadian Air Force aircraft were unable to locate U-518.[3]

In late August 1943, Janowski was sent to England, where he was incarcerated at Camp 020. He remained there for the duration of the war. He was repatriated to an internment camp in the British Zone of Germany in July 1945. Released in 1947, Janowski had no home to return to, as Allenstein and most of East Prussia had been annexed by Poland and its population expelled. He eventually found work as a translator, and in the 1960s worked for the German Navy. Janowski died in Spain in 1978 while on a holiday.[1]:190–1


  1. ^ a b c Beeby, Dean (1995). Cargo of lies : the true story of a Nazi double-agent in Canada. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. ISBN 0-8020-0731-7.
  2. ^ a b c Wark, Wesley (16 March 1996). "Canada's (misad)venture into double-agentry CARGO OF LIES: The True Story of a Nazi Double Agent in Canada" (PDF). The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 12 May 2014.
  3. ^ a b c d "The Second World War". Celebrating Gaspesia's Proud Military Tradition. Canadian Heritage Information Network. Retrieved 9 March 2014.
  4. ^ Ratcliff, R. A. "Review of Beeby, Dean, Cargo of Lies: The True Story of a Nazi Double Agent in Canada". H-Net. Retrieved 21 February 2015.
  5. ^ a b Mount, Graeme S. (1993). Canada's enemies : spies and spying in the peaceable kingdom. Toronto: Dundurn Press. p. 66. ISBN 9781550021905.
  6. ^ a b c Turbide, Sophie. "Werner Alfred Waldemar von Janowski: New Carlisle's Spy". Gaspesian Heritage WebMagazine. Retrieved 9 March 2014.