Margaret Helen Bayly

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Margaret Helen Bayly (nee Grant) was born in Hamiota, Manitoba, Canada, on November 16, 1908 to Frederick Connon Grant (1878-1966) and Alice Elizabeth Grant (nee Clarke) (1885-1971).[no citations needed here]


Margaret Helen Grant lived as a newborn infant in Hamiota, Manitoba before her father’s work in a bank took them to Winnipeg, Manitoba prior to the birth there on May 27, 1910 of her sister, Dorothy Elizabeth.[no citations needed here]

Margaret received her nickname, Bun, as a small child due to her habit of wiggling her nose in a rabbit-like fashion. [1] The Grants lived in Melfort, Saskatchewan in 1911.[no citations needed here] In 1921 the family had grown to include seven children and was living at 1148 Clifton Avenue, Ward 3, Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan.[no citations needed here] At that same time, Pat Bayly lived with his parents in Moose Jaw at 1135 2nd Ave NW, about five blocks from Bun.[no citations needed here]

Margaret, known usually as ‘Bun’, while in her teens advised her then friend, Benjamin deForest Bayly, (Pat or Benj) OBE to leave the practice of law and pursue his interest in electrical engineering.[2]

Due to his having taken her advice, in 1941, Pat Bayly's specialized skills in radio and communication were used during the Allied war effort when he was asked by Thomas Drew-Brook, on behalf of William Stephenson (Intrepid), head of British Security Co-ordination in North America, to assist with the development of communications to aid the allied war effort.[3] With the British army rank of Lieutenant Colonel [4], Pat Bayly was second in command to William Stephenson at British Security Co-ordination (BSC) with an office on the 36th Floor at Rockefeller Center in New York City during World War II.[5][6] His work in communications included, in part, the development of the Rockex coding machine, Hydra, Aspidistra, and leadership at Camp X near Ajax, Ontario, a facility for training secret-agents from the U.S. and Canada.

In 1942, Bayly's husband credited her for providing the code name 'Aspidistra' for the powerful radio transmission system that he had acquired in the U.S.A. for use in southern England during the war years for communications and propaganda broadcasts into Occupied Europe.[5][7]

Bun was trained to operate the Rockex teleprinter, the machine that was instrumental in providing secure communication between Canada, the U.S.A. and England during much of World War II.[8] She also acted as hostess to many of her husband’s associates who stayed at their apartment in Manhattan, including William Stephenson, Alan Turing and Gordon Welchman.[9]

Pat’s work at BSC required him to travel to Washington, Camp X, Ontario and overseas to Bletchley Park, England. Bun’s role, in part, was as homemaker and hostess.

Her war-time work may also have included duties at BSC headquarters, as she was able to operate the teletype machines and had done so on one occasion there to correspond with Pat who was in Bletchly Park at the same time operating a teletype machine.[8]

Bun died in California on August 16, 1986, and her husband in March 1994.[no citations needed here]


  1. Macdonald 1998, p. 309.
  2. Macdonald, Bill (William James, born 1956). (1998). The True Intrepid – Sir William Stephenson. Surrey, BC: Timberholme Books Ltd. ISBN 978-1551924182 p. 309.
  3. Macdonald 1998 p. 310.
  4. Parish, William A. 2010. The Unknown Canadian: The Life and Times of Benjamin de Forest (Pat) Bayly. Town of Ajax, Ontario, Canada. p. 5
  5. 5.0 5.1 Macdonald 1998, p. 330.
  6. Stafford, David. (1986). Camp X: Canada’s School for Secret Agents 1941-45. Toronto: Lester & Orpen Dennys Ltd. p. 161.
  7. Stafford 1986, p. 167.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Stafford 1986, p. 164.
  9. Macdonald 1998, p. 336.

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