Most impressive military/inteligence background of the Bond filmmakers?

Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 19,966MI6 Agent
edited July 28 in The James Bond Films

Many of those involved in making the Bond movies had military backgrounds, especially the early ones. A few had espionage experience too. I think we should include people working both behind and in front of the camera.

A note on Christoffer Lee: He claimed to or at least hinted at having experienced dramatic things behind the lines with SF units during WWII. Lee flew fighter planes, but had to transfer to RAF intelligence because of health issues. That's impressive in itself. But Lee left the impression he served behind enemy lines with elite units such as the SAS and SOE. I don't know about any independent sources (written reccords, people who served with him) who can confirm any of it, and some question if it really happened. It's up to you how much you chose to belive.


  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 19,966MI6 Agent

    My suggestion are Ian Fleming himself in espionage. He worked very closely with the head of navy intelligence, suggested and planned daring missions and had a security clearence high enough to know about Bletchly Park and Enigma. Fleming even formed his own inteligence- gathering commando unit!

    In the strictly military field I suggest Ken Adam. He was a German-born Jew who bacame a RAF fighter ace.

    What's your opinion?

  • The Domino EffectThe Domino Effect Posts: 3,544MI6 Agent

    Christopher Lee did indeed claim he'd been in the SAS during WW2 but he "...couldn't talk about it." It was confirmed by those who know, that while he may have had some interactions with the SAS, he had never been badged nor was he ever in the Regiment and his claims were patently untrue.

  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 19,966MI6 Agent
    edited July 28

    Lee also claimed to have been working with the LRDG and Popski's Private Army. He also claimed he was hunting nazi criminals after the war, but the organisations he claimed to have been in had no reccord of him and only worked from offices in London anyway.

  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 19,966MI6 Agent

    Terance Young was tank commander in the Irish Guards, was involved in Operation Market Garden among other things.

  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 19,966MI6 Agent

    Guy Hamilton is a good candidate. He served om a motor torpedo boat in that transported secret agents to France and brought downed pilots back. He ended up in Brittany in occupied France himself once, and spent a month in hiding before he managed to get back home.

  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 19,966MI6 Agent
    edited July 28

    Cinematgrapher Ted Moore flew with the Pinewood Military Film Unit (I'm serious!) filming bombing raids.

  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 19,966MI6 Agent
    edited July 28

    Paul Dehn, one of the screenwriters of GF, had in impressive war reccord. He was at Camp X in Canada were secret agents were trained and Ian Fleming visited at least once. He was on missions for the Special Operations Executive in occupied Norway and France.

  • SpectreOfDefeatSpectreOfDefeat Posts: 385MI6 Agent

    Desmond Llewelyn springs to mind. He served in the Royal Fusiliers in 1940 and ended up imprisoned for a time in Colditz castle for the rest of the war:

    Desmond Llewelyn - Wikipedia

    "The spectre of defeat..."

  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 19,966MI6 Agent

    Roald Dahl, who wrote on the screeplay of YOLT, was first a fighter squadron leaders then as a MI6 agent in Washington. Among other things he claimed FDR had an affair with the Norwegian crown princess. He may have been right.

  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 19,966MI6 Agent

    George MacDonald Fraser is best known for the Flashman novels, but he also was one of the writers behind OP. He fought in the Burma campaign and served in the Middle East after the war.

  • The Domino EffectThe Domino Effect Posts: 3,544MI6 Agent

    Alas, Llewelyn wasn't in Oflag IVc. It's one of those myths that keeps cropping up and no one has corrected in Wikipedia. He certainly was a POW and may well have been in Oflag VIIc Laufen as Wiki states (I don't have any records for Laufen so can't check it but would expect/hope that that's correct), but not Colditz.

  • HowardBHowardB USAPosts: 2,679MI6 Agent
    edited August 1

    I got this from a site called "Military Wiki" regarding the military service of longtime Bond Production Designer Ken Adam. Adam's family, who were Jewish, fled Nazi Germany in the 1930's and settled in England and were designated as "Friendly Aliens" by the British Government.

    Interestingly, Adam's father had been a Prussian Calvary Officer and was awarded two Iron Crosses in WWI.

    "Flight Lieutenant Adam joined No. 609 Squadron at RAF Lympne on 1 October 1943.[12][13] He was nicknamed "Heinie the tank-buster" by his comrades for his daring exploits.[14] The squadron flew the Hawker Typhoon, initially in support of USAAF long-range bombing missions over Europe.[13] Later they were employed in support of ground troops, including at the battle of the Falaise Gap, in Normandy after D-Day. In 1944, his brother Denis joined No. 183 Squadron, joining Adam in No. 123 Wing. There were four squadrons in the wing, 164, 183 198 and 609.[15]

    Together with his brother Denis, Adam was one of three German-born pilots to serve in the British Royal Air Force during the Second World War,[14] the third being Peter Stevens (RAF officer) (born Georg Franz Hein).[16] As such, if they had been captured by the Germans, they were liable to execution as a traitor, rather than being treated as a prisoner of war.[17]

    Following the end of the war Adam was the Allied officer in charge of German labour rebuilding Wunsthorf airfield.[1] Adam left the RAF upon his demobilization in 1947."

    I think Adam's story would make a pretty good movie or mini series. EON could produce it for Amazon in between Bond films (they seem to have plenty of time these days).

  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 19,966MI6 Agent

    I've never read this much detail about Ken Adam's military service before. Thanks. He does talk about it in his episode of BBC's Deserter Island Discs - very much worth a listen.

  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 19,966MI6 Agent

    I'm thinking of GF. The sources novel was written by a senior inteligence officer (Fleming). One of the scriptwriters was a former SOE agent (Paul Dehn). The director worked on motor torpedo boat transporting agents to occupied France (Hamilton). Still they made an escapist movie, a fantacy spy world. Bless them for it, but I wish they made a realistic movie about espionage too.

  • BarbelBarbel ScotlandPosts: 33,421Chief of Staff

    It's actually "Desert Island Discs" N24. Deserter has implications which I'm sure Sir Ken would not have been happy with.

  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 19,966MI6 Agent
    edited August 1

    Oops! How did that happen? I know the difference. Ah .... "deserter" means "desert" in Norwegian. It was the closest word to "desert" Autocorrect could find. Fickle Autocorrect, how could you desert my original intention this way?

  • Golrush007Golrush007 South AfricaPosts: 3,253Quartermasters

    If you are interested in reading in detail about Ken Adam's RAF career, I highly recommend the book by James Holland called Normandy '44. Ken Adam is one of the characters that Holland tracks throughout the Normandy campaign.

  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 19,966MI6 Agent

    I haven't read that book from Holland. Thanks for the heads up!

  • heartbroken_mr_draxheartbroken_mr_drax New Zealand Posts: 2,050MI6 Agent
    edited August 5

    What about people who have played Bond?

    Moore: Second Lieutenant in the RASC

    Connery: Able Seaman in the Royal Navy on HMS Formidable

    Niven: Captain and commanded the British Commandos

    Dalton: Was in the Air Training Corps as a teenager

    Lazenby: "In the Australian Army" was all I could find...

    Generally most people of any calibre or of the right age were likely to have served in something in and around WW2.

    1. TWINE 2. FYEO 3. MR 4. TLD 5. TSWLM 6. OHMSS 7. DN 8. OP 9. AVTAK 10. TMWTGG 11. QoS 12. GE 13. CR 14. TB 15. FRWL 16. TND 17. LTK 18. GF 19. SF 20. LaLD 21. YOLT 22. NTTD 23. DAD 24. DAF. 25. SP

    "Better make that two."
  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 19,966MI6 Agent

    Niven didn't command the commandoes, but he was for a time an officer in the Army Commandoes. Later he became a squadron commander in the Phantom unit.

    I could be wrong, but I think Lazenby trained the Australian commandoes in martial arts for a few months. Perhaps som he could claim he did his national service?

  • RevelatorRevelator Posts: 409MI6 Agent
    edited August 6

    Niven unquestionably has the most impressive military record of any Bond actor. He graduated from Sandhurst with a commission as a second lieutenant in the British Army and served two years with the Highland Light Infantry. He was promoted to lieutenant in 1933.

    The day after Britain declared war on Germany in 1939, Niven gave up his Hollywood career and returned to Britain to rejoin the British Army, where he was recommissioned as a lieutenant in the Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort's Own) and assigned to a motor training battalion. Wanting something more exciting, he transferred to the Commandos and commanded the "A" Squadron GHQ Liaison Regiment, better known as "Phantom". This was a secret reconnaissance and signals unit, charged with reporting enemy positions and keeping commanders informed of changing battle lines. He was promoted to captain in 1941 and major (temporary lieutenant-colonel) in 1944, the year he participated in the Allied invasion of Normandy.

    Despite Niven's reputation as a raconteur, he spoke and wrote very little about his wartime experiences. This was his most well-known anecdote:

    I will, however, tell you just one thing about the war, my first story and my last. I was asked by some American friends to search out the grave of their son near Bastogne.

    I found it where they told me I would, but it was among 27,000 others, and I told myself that here, Niven, were 27,000 reasons why you should keep your mouth shut after the war.

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