Where did 007’s name come from? According to C.H. Forster of the Ministry of Aircraft Production, on hearing from Ian Fleming toward the end of World War II that he was writing a book, he asked how he would choose the characters names. Fleming, he says, told him that was easy. He would merely use ‘…the first couple of names in my house at school and change their Christian names.’ Forster apparently told him in his case ‘the first names were James Aitken and Harry Bond…’ thus he gave him the name James Bond.
To help amuse some guests at his bungalow, Goldeneye on Jamaica, Ian bought the 1947 Macmillan edition of the Field Guide to Birds of the West Indies by the little known academic James Bond. The book is still widely available today there is even a first edition on www.abebooks.co.uk for near £500. The same book was on Ian’s bookshelf above his desk when he started writing Casino Royale in 1952 with the name James Bond on the spine.
Now it seems anybody from the past bearing the same name can claim to be the inspiration for the name of 007. On a recent visit to Dawlish on the South Devon coast, perhaps best known these days for having its coastal railway line washed away in storms, I came across a grave stone in the cemetery of St. Gregory’s Church of a James Bond of course, no doubt tongue in cheek the locals claim the tomb stone gave Ian Fleming the name. The only trouble is there is no evidence he ever visited Dawlish
There must be other claimants to the name of the world’s most famous Secret Agent. Fleming himself wanted a plain name as he told his friend Ivar Bryce, even showing him the Field Guide to Birds of the West Indies with the author’s name.
I wonder how common the name Ian Fleming is? One thing is sure; the famous author is buried in the cemetery of the Parish Church of St. James, Sevenhampton near Highworth in Wiltshire. I drove there in an Alfa Romeo where does this make of car appear in the Bond Books?