Was there a real ‘James Bond’?

Ian Fleming, the creator of Bond, worked in Naval Intelligence during the Second World War and met many men on whom he could have based his character.

However, there are two men who really inspired the great action hero: Patrick Dalzal-Job, a naval officer who led wartime missions in Norway before serving with Fleming in France and Germany as part of an undercover assault unit, which travelled ahead of the Allied advance and seized German equipment and documents before they could be destroyed. The second man was Fleming’s elder brother, Peter, who also served with distinction on missions in Norway, Greece and South-East Asia. Add Ian Fleming’s own experiences and a bit of imagination and then you have the recipe for James Bond.

The name James Bond was based on a real person, not a spy but an ornithologist. Fleming was a keen birdwatcher, and when he was looking for a name, he found a book by a distinguished American ornithologist called James Bond and decided to ‘borrow’ the name.