After an unimpressive financial career in the City Fleming became personal assistant to the director of naval intelligence. He gained quick promotions. In 1941-2 he oversaw operation Goldeneye, a plan to maintain vital intelligence if the Germans took over Spain. When asked what his post-war plans were he would say: “I am going to write the spy story to end all spy stories.”
James Bond First Class stamp.
After being demobbed in 1945 Fleming became a journalist with the Sunday Times. He negotiated a contract that allowed him to spend three months in Jamaica every winter. He used his Caribbean holidays to write a Bond novel every year until he died in 1964 – the only exception was in 1958 when Fleming was criticised by a journalist for his “Sex, Snobbery and Sadism”. However, Fleming did also write the classic children’s story Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, which was published in 1964.
Ian Fleming's Kent connections
Moonraker was written at Mermaid Cottage, at the foot of the White Cliffs of Dover.
Several Bond books were written at White Cliffs house, White Cliffs from 1951-1957
St Margaret’s Bay – Fleming’s weekend and holiday home was here for over a decade during the 1950s and 60s.
In the 1930’s one of Fleming’s favourite weekend retreats was Guildford Hotel, Sandwich Bay.
Fleming loved to play golf at the Royal St George’s Course, Sandwich Bay. Fleming was about to become captain of this golf club before he died of a heart attack in 1964 at the golfcourse.
James Bond and Goldfinger also played a match at Royal St George’s Golf Course.
Fleming moved in 1957 to Bekesbourne, near Canterbury
Two famous Bond car journeys were from London to East Kent: Moonraker – one in the 4.5 litre supercharged Bentley to encounter the evil Sir Hugo Drax; Goldfinger – Aston Martin DB III The books made several references to places in East Kent.
In the 1955 novel Moonraker, the Secret Intelligence Service agent stops to gaze at the cliffs of Margate and the Isle of Thanet. And the golf club where he pitches and putts with Goldfinger, in the 1959 novel of the same name, is based on a club in the Kent town of Sandwich of which Fleming was a member. Asked how he created his characters, Fleming once remarked that “I go out into Romney Marsh and hope to find one there”. Reflecting on this comment years later, the Bond historian Graham Rye, editor of 007magazine.co.uk, studied an Ordnance
Survey map of Kent and made some startling discoveries. In Romney Marsh was a place called Moneypenny Farm, which had surely given Fleming the name for 007’s boss’s secretary. Not far away was Honeychild Manor Farm, a likely source for Honeychile Rider, Ursula Andress’s Bond girl in Dr No. And there are many other curious connections between 007’s adventures and Fleming’s best-loved county. In the 1969 film
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Diana Rigg’s character tells Bond that she looks forward to “living as Mr and Mrs James Bond of Acacia Avenue, Tunbridge Wells”. In 1997 a book of stories was published called Your Deal, Mr Bond, in which the secret agent plays bridge – and Deal and Bridge are both Kent towns. We find Sandwich mentioned discreetly in the novel Live and Let Die, when Bond eats a “western” sandwich. Rye points out that the National Express coach service from London Victoria to Deal is numbered SH-007. And The Sunday Times can now reveal that, down a lane in the Kent town of Bexleyheath, there is a business called Roger Moore Motor Repairs.