The world of spies, espionage and hidden wars has captivated people of all ages for decades, but there’s one name that stands out to everyone whether or not they seek out the stories…James Bond. But Bond wouldn’t exist without a typewriter and the mind of the author Ian Fleming. Fleming didn’t make James Bond out of thin air, he had the stories and experience to flesh out the now legend better than almost anyone else.
Ian Fleming was born into a parliament member family in 1908 and was well taken care of, but his nature didn’t match with the upper class lifestyle. While he enjoyed writing, reading, and playing games, his academics were left by the wayside while he endured bullying. It wasn’t until the start of the Second World War that Flemings started to excel.
As Personal Assistant to Rear Admiral John Godfrey, Fleming helped develop plans to misinform Nazis, strengthen information networks, and even steal the Enigma Machine from a Nazi base for Alan Turing. His ideas led him to create the 30 Assult Unit, a team of special intelligent troops whose whole goal was to gather documents and information near the front lines from Nazi bases and soldiers. He started the assault unit in 1942, after coming off of command of “Operation GoldenEye.”
After retiring from the Royal Navy, Fleming was set to marry his pregnant fiance, Ann Charteris, which caused him significant stress. He coped by returning to his passion for writing. Creating a character based on his experience as an intelligence officer, and naming him after an American Ornithologist whose books Flemings had spent plenty of time with, James Bond had his first mission in “Casino Royale.”
Fleming’s first book had a hard time getting published, but through some persuasion, a UK company caved in. After its release, Casino Royale needed three prints just to meet the demands.
Though loosely based on Fleming’s experience, James Bond quickly had an entire world of his own. Bond was a commander in the Royal Navy Reserve, before joining the British Secret Intelligence Service, commonly known as MI6. Bond is also commonly referred to by his code number, 007. As time progressed in the real world, so did the adventures of Agent 007, from Fleming’s experience in World War II to his knowledge and understanding of the Cold War.
Although James Bond may have worked alone, he wasn’t without help. Throughout the books M, the Head of the British Secret Intelligence Service, gives Bond his assignments and briefings before missions. Over time M’s identity and secret are revealed, bringing them a level of humanity.
The legacy lives on
For most, James Bond is synonymous with amazing spy gear, courtesy of Q. While known in the modern movies, Q was never really part of Ian Flemingâs work. Q and Q Branch wear mentioned, but only in passing. Nevertheless, the nameless entity has played a pivotal role.
Ian Fleming died August 12, 1964. He was 56 and suffered a fatal heart attack. However, his legacy through Bond lives on. Whether youâre new to spy and espionage thrillers, or have loved them for years, it’s thanks to Ian Fleming that James Bond lives today.