The name’s Bond… RODNEY Bond! How 007 could have had a starkly different first name by author Ian Fleming who took inspiration from real life WW2 intelligence hero
- Ian Fleming wanted a name for his hero when his brother made a suggestion
James Bond could have instead been named ‘Rodney’ by the author whose protagonist was inspired by a real life hero in the Secret Intelligence Service.
Author Ian Fleming was looking for a name for his main character when his brother Peter – a Lieutenant Colonel in charge of ‘military deception’ in Southeast Asia during WWII – suggested the name ‘Bond’ as the hero for the first book, Casino Royale.
Bond was the surname of a hero in the Secret Intelligence Service – now called MI6 – called Rodney Clarence Mortimer Bond.
Peter had come across Rodney Bond when he was rescued from a Nazi bombing attack in northern Greece in 1941, with lieutenant colonel Bond then working for MI6 in Athens.
Author Nicholas Shakespeare – whose book ‘Ian Fleming: The Complete Man’ is out next month – was given unprecedented access to the Fleming family papers and revealed today how Peter suggested the name ‘Bond’ to Ian.
Ian Lancaster Fleming, British author and creator of the James Bond character asked his brother for help in choosing a name for his hero
Peter Fleming – a lieutenant colonel in charge of ‘military deception’ in Southeast Asia during WWII
Bond was inspired by Rodney Bond. Pictured is actor Daniel Craig as James Bond in Casino Royale
An extract from the book in the T2 supplement of The Times today states: ‘Peter was having breakfast in Oxfordshire while reading the newspapers when Ian came in and said ‘Peter, I’ve written a bloody good thriller, but I can’t get a name for my hero’.
‘Without lowering his newspaper, Peter replied ‘Try Bond’.’
The name Rodney is most commonly associated with dozy Rodney Trotter – nicknamed Rodders – in Only Fools and Horses, played by Nicholas Lyndhurst.
Lieutenant Colonel Rodney Clarence Mortimer Bond was born in 1897 and won a Military Cross during World War One, where he fought in France.
He then joined the Intelligence Corps and was given the codename ‘Hatzis’ and was posted to Turkey during World War Two.
Lt Col Bond – who married Mary in 1956 – helped save the future Greek prime minister Georgios Papandreou from a Nazi attack in 1944.
He was awarded the Military Cross in 1918 and was also made an MBE, and in 1952 was made an OBE.
According to the London Gazette in 1919, Bond was awarded the distinguished medal after ‘setting an example’ to all ranks for maintaining ‘perfect fire’ under ‘heavy shell fire’ in Mœuvres, northern France.
Ian Fleming with his mother Evelyn St. Croix Fleming, in November 1957
An action scene in the iconic Casino Royale, pictured is Bond actor Daniel Craig
The report states ‘2nd Lt. Rodney Clarence Mortimer Bond.
‘Near Mœuvres on the 27th September, 1918, the battery was under heavy shell fire.
‘He, by his courage and devotion to duty, maintained perfect fire discipline in his section.
‘He continually round his guns, encouraging his non-commissioned officers and men, and in consequence the barrage was fired without a hitch.
‘He set a very fine example to all ranks.’
He died at the age of 65 in 1962.