Ian Fleming's Inspiration: The Truth Behind the Books (2020)

Ian Fleming planned an elaborate scheme called Operation Tracer during World War II. The plan was to bury six British soldiers in the Rock of Gibraltar, where they could spy on the Germans should the Rock fall to the enemy. The men would be concealed in a small chamber, have supplies to survive for over a year and report back to Britain via radio. It inspired the short story, ‘From a View to a Kill’ — said by critics to be too far fetched, even for Bond — which had a remarkably similar plot.

While working for Naval Intelligence, Fleming flew to America where he met William Donovan, the man who President Roosevelt had recently instructed to create America's first intelligence service. Fleming befriended Donovan and was taken into his confidence, to the extent that the Bond author was asked to write the blueprint for the new organisation. This paper would end up being used as the design for what would become the world's largest intelligence service, the CIA.

Fleming's invention of an intelligence gathering commando unit, known as 30 Assault Unit, took part in Operation Overlord, the D-Day landings. They were able to reach the site of the new technology required to launch the deadly V-2 flying rockets in Germany before the Russians. Not only did this become the basis for the plot of Moonraker, the designs of these rockets were used by the Americans to create the Saturn V — also known as the Apollo Rocket — which would eventually put the first human on the moon.

After the war, Fleming would stay for three months each year in Jamaica until his death, during which time he would write the Bond novels. He would also play host to other islanders both famous and influential, including his great friend Noel Coward. He had British prime Minister, Anthony Eden, to stay while he recovered from exhaustion following the Suez Crisis. On his return from Fleming's holiday house, Eden was welcomed back to Britain by a vote of no confidence from his Cabinet and his removal from office.


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Publication History


James Bond Novels — Sources and Background Material 1 item