As we look forward to the latest James Bond film, “No time to Die ” releasing this April, I wanted to share with you some amazing Dorset connections to the iconic fictitious British spy.
Ian Fleming, the author and creator of the James Bond stories attended Durnford Preparatory school where he boarded from the age of seven. The school was based in the Purbecks in the tiny village of Langton Matravers. The school was close to the coast and the boys would regularly swim at nearby “Dancing Ledge” and every time the boys would walk to the coast to swim they would pass an ancient smugglers barn known as “Spyway Barn” which perhaps was the early inspiration for Fleming’s lifetime association with spies.
Whilst Fleming was at school he inevitably mixed with the local Dorset gentry at Dunford , including the Bond family who lived nearby at Holme Priory. An ancient relative of the Bond’s was Sir John Bond – an Elizabethan spy for Queen Elizabeth and in the course of his work he decided to adopt a family motto that was used by the King of Spain – “Non Sufficit Orbis” – the World in not enough, which off course subsequently was used as a film title for one of Bond’s films.
Fleming also used the names of the local gentry in other titles. For example, Admiral Sir Reginald Drax who grandson is the sitting MP for Dorset South. The name Drax was used for the villain in Moonraker. Another name used was that of Strangways who appeared in Dr No as am MI6 operative in the Caribbean.
Many say that Fleming’s inspiration for Bond was Gus March- Philips a leading member of the Special Operations Executive who caused mayhem with the Germans along the French Coast and the Channel Islands. Gus and his team were based at Anderson Manor about 7 miles from Wareham. Interestingly, at the time Gus reported to the commander of the SOE, Brigadier Colin McVean Gubbins known by all as “M”.
In the end Bond may a truly global tale but there is no arguing that its roots were established in Dorset.
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