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A.S.M. van Schendel   Ton
Resistance telegraphy operator · Chief of BRD

Antonius Simeon Marie (Anton) van Schendel, (Rotterdam, 16 August 1894 - 's-Gravenhage, 9 August 1958), commonly known as Ton, was an employee of the Dutch Radio Monitoring Service (RCD) of the state-owned telecom monopolist PTT, a WWII resistance member and underground radio operator and morse instructor, and head of the Bijzondere Radio Dienst (BRD) of the PTT.

During WWII, whilst working for the Dutch Radio Monitoring Service (RCD), van Schendel became involved with the Ordedienst (OD), one of three major clandestine resistance organisations in the country, 1 where he was known as TON. Within the OD he was responsible for the morse training of telegraphists whom he largely recruited from trusted licenced amateur radio operators (HAMs).

On Saturday 4 September 1943 – whilst in hiding in Amsterdam – he was arrested by the German Sicherheitsdienst (SD) and imprisoned for the remainder of the war. Although the majority of clandestine radio operators did not survive, van Schendel miraculously escaped execution. At the end of the war he returned to The Netherlands and took up his old job with the RCD. He also wrote an extensive report about his work for the OD and his time in German captivity [1].

In 1952, van Schendel became head of the newly established Bijzondere Radiodienst (BRD). It was part of the Dutch state-owned telecom monopolist PTT, but also worked for the military and civil intelligence services MID and BVD (AIVD). It was the task of the BRD to monitor broadcasts from the Soviet Union (USSR) – e.g. Radio Moscow – and of the Warsaw Pact states, to spot any hidden messages. The BRD also searched the radio waves for signals from Eastern Bloc armies, and tried to determine their location by means of radio direction finding. Within the Netherlands, the BRD was responsible for finding and locating clandestine radio stations operated by adversary agents.

On 24 June 1954, Dutch Queen Juliana awarded him the Bronze Lion for his bravery during WWII. Van Schendel had a weak health, probably resulting from bad treatment and starvation during the war, whilst in German captivity. After a long illness, he died on 9 August 1958, just a week before his 64th birthday [2]. He was replaced at the BRD by Daan Neuteboom, who led the agency until it was (re)integrated with the RCD in 1976. After the merger, Neuteboom became head of the RCD.

Crypto Museum holds various items in its collection that once belonged to the Bijzondere Radio Dienst (BRD), or to Anton van Schendel personally. Many of these were obtained by van Schendel during or immediately after the war, probably aided by his good contacts with the OSS (CIA).

  1. The other two being Raad van Verzet (RVV) and Landelijke Knokploegen (LKP).

Related items
Homemade OD transmitters and receivers
GPO interference investigation receiver WT No. 11
GPO Receiver (UK)
Portable radio direction finder (US, 1942)
OSS (CIA) aperiodic receiver SSR-201
WWI portable direction finder in suitcase
  1. A.S.M. van Schendel, Mijn werkzaamheden als chef-marconist van de OD en mijn belevenissen in de gevangenis
    Organisation of the Internal Radio Service (BR) of the OD and the radio links with the UK.
    Post-war report, in Dutch language. Date unknown.

  2. Obituary, A.S.M. van Schendel overleden
    Haarlem's Dagblad, 11 August 1958.
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Crypto Museum. Created: Friday 25 December 2020. Last changed: Sunday, 14 November 2021 - 11:59 CET.
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