Ian Fleming Biography & Facts
Ian Lancaster Fleming (28 May 1908 – 12 August 1964) was a British writer, journalist and naval intelligence officer who is best known for his James Bond series of spy novels. Fleming came from a wealthy family connected to the merchant bank Robert Fleming & Co., and his father was the Member of Parliament (MP) for Henley from 1910 until his death on the Western Front in 1917. Educated at Eton, Sandhurst, and, briefly, the universities of Munich and Geneva, Fleming moved through several jobs before he started writing.
While working for Britain's Naval Intelligence Division during the Second World War, Fleming was involved in planning Operation Goldeneye and in the planning and oversight of two intelligence units, 30 Assault Unit and T-Force. His wartime service and his career as a journalist provided much of the background, detail and depth of the James Bond novels.
Fleming wrote his first Bond novel, Casino Royale, in 1952. It was a success, with three print runs being commissioned to cope with the demand. Eleven Bond novels and two collections of short stories followed between 1953 and 1966. The novels revolve around James Bond, an officer in the Secret Intelligence Service, commonly known as MI6. Bond is also known by his code number, 007, and was a commander in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve. The Bond stories rank among the best-selling series of fictional books of all time, having sold over 100 million copies worldwide. Fleming also wrote the children's story Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang and two works of non-fiction. In 2008, The Times ranked Fleming 14th on its list of "The 50 greatest British writers since 1945".
Fleming was married to Ann Charteris, who was divorced from the second Viscount Rothermere because of her affair with the author. Fleming and Charteris had a son, Caspar. Fleming was a heavy smoker and drinker for most of his life and succumbed to heart disease in 1964 at the age of 56. Two of his James Bond books were published posthumously; other writers have since produced Bond novels. Fleming's creation has appeared in film twenty-seven times, portrayed by seven actors.
Birth and family
Ian Lancaster Fleming was born on 28 May 1908, at 27 Green Street in the wealthy London district of Mayfair. His mother was Evelyn "Eve" Fleming, née Rose, and his father was Valentine Fleming, the Member of Parliament for Henley from 1910 to 1917. As an infant he briefly lived with his family at Braziers Park in Oxfordshire. Fleming was a grandson of the Scottish financier Robert Fleming, who co-founded the Scottish American Investment Company and the merchant bank Robert Fleming & Co.In 1914, with the start of the First World War, Valentine Fleming joined "C" Squadron, Queen's Own Oxfordshire Hussars, and rose to the rank of major. He was killed by German shelling on the Western Front on 20 May 1917; Winston Churchill wrote an obituary that appeared in The Times. Because Valentine had owned an estate at Arnisdale, his death was commemorated on the Glenelg War Memorial.Fleming's elder brother Peter (1907–1971) became a travel writer and married actress Celia Johnson. Peter served with the Grenadier Guards during the Second World War, was later commissioned under Colin Gubbins to help establish the Auxiliary Units, and became involved in behind-the-lines operations in Norway and Greece during the war.Fleming also had two younger brothers, Michael (1913–1940) and Richard (1911–1977). Michael died of wounds in October 1940 after being captured at Normandy while serving with the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry. Fleming also had a younger maternal half-sister born out of wedlock, the cellist Amaryllis Fleming (1925–1999), whose father was the artist Augustus John. Amaryllis was conceived during a long-term affair between John and Evelyn which had started in 1923, six years after the death of Valentine.
Education and early life
In 1914 Fleming attended Durnford School, a preparatory school on the Isle of Purbeck in Dorset. He did not enjoy his time at Durnford; he suffered unpalatable food, physical hardship and bullying.
In 1921 Fleming enrolled at Eton College. Not a high achiever academically, he excelled at athletics and held the title of Victor Ludorum ("Winner of the Games") for two years between 1925 and 1927. He also edited a school magazine, The Wyvern. His lifestyle at Eton brought him into conflict with his housemaster, E. V. Slater, who disapproved of Fleming's attitude, his hair oil, his ownership of a car and his relations with women. Slater persuaded Fleming's mother to remove him from Eton a term early for a crammer course to gain entry to the Royal Military College, Sandhurst. He spent less than a year there, leaving in 1927 without gaining a commission, after contracting gonorrhea.In 1927, to prepare Fleming for possible entry into the Foreign Office, his mother sent him to the Tennerhof in Kitzbühel, Austria, a small private school run by the Adlerian disciple and former British spy Ernan Forbes Dennis and his novelist wife, Phyllis Bottome. After improving his language skills there, he studied briefly at Munich University and the University of Geneva. While in Geneva, Fleming began a romance with Monique Panchaud de Bottens and the couple became engaged just before he returned to London in September 1931 to take the Foreign Office exam. He scored an adequate pass standard, but failed to get a job offer. His mother intervened in his affairs, lobbying Sir Roderick Jones, head of Reuters News Agency, and in October 1931 he was given a position as a sub-editor and journalist for the company. In April 1933 Fleming spent time in Moscow, where he covered the Stalinist show trial of six engineers from the British company Metropolitan-Vickers. While there he applied for an interview with Soviet premier Joseph Stalin, and was amazed to receive a personally signed note apologising for not being able to attend. Upon returning from Moscow he ended the engagement to Monique after his mother threatened to cut off his trust fund allowance.Fleming bowed to family pressure again in October 1933, and went into banking with a position at the financiers Cull & Co. In 1935 he moved to Rowe and Pitman on Bishopsgate as a stockbroker. Fleming was unsuccessful in both roles. Early in 1939 Fleming began an affair with Ann O'Neill, née Charteris, who was married to the 3rd Baron O'Neill; she was also having an affair with Esmond Harmsworth, the heir to Lord Rothermere, owner of the Daily Mail.
Second World War
In May 1939 Fleming was recruited by Rear Admiral John Godfrey, Director of Naval Intelligence of the Royal Navy, to become his personal assistant. He joined the organisation full-time in August 1939, with the codename "17F", and worked out of Room 39 at the Admiralty, now known as the Ripley Building. Fleming's biographer, Andrew Lycett, notes that Fleming had "no obvious qualifications" for the role. As part.... Discover the Ian Fleming popular books. Find the top 100 most popular Ian Fleming books.