Ian Lancaster Fleming, 1908 - 1964

portrait of Ian Fleming
"For Your Eyes Only", oil by Constance Vlahoulis
Ian Fleming signature
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Born: 28 May 1908, Mayfair, London, England, UK
Died: 12 August 1964, Canterbury, Kent, England, UK

Fleming's grandfather was an associate of J.P. Morgan, his father was a Tory politician who was elected to Parliament in 1910 but died in the first world war. His older brother was the travel writer Peter Fleming who occasionally wrote some science fiction. Fleming was educated at Eton, although he was expelled following "some alleged trouble with one of the boys' maids". He went on to Sandhurst Military Academy but resigned without gaining a commission, then studied languages at Munich (German) and Geneva (French) universities. He was a journalist with Reuters, including some time at Moscow, before returning to London and the financial sector where he was not particularly successful as a stock broker. As the war approached he joined the Navy and became assistant to Admiral John H. Godfrey, the Director of Naval Intelligence, who became the model for "M". Although he did receive field training, including attaching a mine to the hull of a ship from underwater, his actual work was in planning and administration. He bought an estate in Jamaica, which he called Goldeneye, was foreign manager for Kemsley Newspapers, and in 1952 he married Ann Rothermere whose father owned the Daily Mail. His first James Bond novel was Casino Royale in 1953, he wrote thirteen more before being struck down by a heart attack on a golf course in Kent.

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