De Chastelain | Krafchenko
Marion De Chastelain
Marion de Chastelain was the American mother of General John de Chastelain. During the Second World War she had worked for Sir William Stephenson;
One day the telephone rang, and a voice asked if she would care to do something for King and Country. "Why not?" she replied.
..."Although for a long time she declined to say much about her wartime work to her family, she agreed in 1980 to some discreet questioning about Stephenson on the Toronto television programme Front Page Challenge. This was on the occasion of the Tory Government awarding Stephenson the Order of Canada. ...
Increasingly angry at the way historians were emphasising the slenderness of the evidence about Stephenson, Marion de Chastelain amazed her son by giving a frank interview to a Winnipeg journalist, Bill Macdonald, in exchange for information about Stephenson's obscure origins in the prairie city."
But she never exaggerated what she had done during the war.
"It was just a job," she said.
John Larry Krafchenko was born in 1881 in Romania to Ukrainian parents. In 1888 the Krafchenko's immigrated to Canada and settled in Plum Coulee, Manitoba, a small town south-west of Winnipeg near the American border. Although he spent little time in school, Krafchenko was apparently quite bright. He could speak several different languages including Russian, German, Italian, Bulgarian and English. From all accounts he was fluent in these languages and his ability to converse in them was to benefit him greatly in the years to come.
From his earliest youth Krafchenko exhibited a violently aggressive streak towards authority figures and by the time he was fifteen he had been arrested for theft and sentenced to jail. Shortly after getting out of jail Krafchenko traveled to Australia where he trained to become a professional wrestler.
Krafchenko's life of crime began to unfold after his return to Manitoba.
By the time Jack Krafchenko was 33 years old he was a living legend. Before he turned 34 he was dead.
Although it would appear that Benjamin Rolph led the police to Krafchenko - and eventually his execution, in his book "The True Intrepid", Bill Macdonald (sic - Bina Ingimundson Stephenson's cousin) suggests that it was a young William Stephenson that spotted Krafchenko while he was making deliveries for the Great North West Telegraph company.
The court was told that when Krafchenko was captured, amoungst his possessions was a fountain pen that was possibly filled with explosive nitroglycerin. When this was announced, "it caused every man in the audience to sit bold upright with ears strained forword to catch the latest and remarkable phase of Krafchenko's craftiness."
Chapter 1, 'The True Intrepid'