James Charles Bond’s family now believes that Fleming actually named his superspy after him
"My name is Bond, James Bond," – you must have heard this iconic dialogue at least once in your life. And surely you are familiar with the iconic code number '007'.
James Bond, as we all know, is a fictional character, the eponymous protagonist of a series of novels, films, comics and video games. The superspy, secret service agent is believed to be a composite character written by British journalist and novelist Ian Fleming.
Ian Fleming has admitted quite a few times that he was inspired by many people he came across during his time as the personal assistant to the director of the Naval Intelligence Division, Admiral John Godfrey during the Second World War.
It may come as a great surprise to many people that there was actually a real life James Bond working as a secret service spy during the Second World War. Yes, you read it right!
His name is James Charles Bond. He was born in Pontypridd, Wales in 1906. According to BBC, Mr Bond was a member of the elite Special Operations Executive (SOE) working on missions under Fleming.
He died in 1995 aged 89. He never really revealed his identity or his spy past to anyone, even his family members, for some unknown reasons.
But James Charles Bond's family now believes that Fleming actually named his superspy after him. His family unearthed Bond's 'On Her Majesty's secret service' past after going through the World War Two documents previously guarded under the Official Secrets Act.
Stephen Phillips, the grandchild of James Charles Bond, told BBC that the family always suspected Bond was hiding a secret from his army career.
"As grandchildren we were always told never to ask about the army and what granddad did in the war or where he served. We never really knew why," said Stephen.
The war-time documents that Bond's family discovered reveal that he was an intelligence officer in the elite and secretive SOE. The force that led a guerrilla war against Hitler.
It has only been since 2014 that the Official Secrets Acts information has been relaxed. Official Secrets Acts signed by James Bond himself on 3 June, 1944, three days before the D-Day landings was discovered among the documents.
According to The Express, Ian Fleming put an elite team of SOEs together for a mission in 1942. It is assumed that Bond worked from behind enemy lines during that time.
There were a hundred million soldiers from 30 countries and 13,000 SOEs. Only one SOE was called James Bond.
Stephen Phillips is very much sure about this Bond being his granddad.
Ian Fleming though, claimed before his death that James Bond was named after a US ornithologist.
He took the name because he wanted a 'plain, simple name' for his superspy. This James Bond that Fleming mentioned was a Caribbean bird expert and author of the definitive field guide 'Birds of the West Indies'.
Mr Philips thinks it was Fleming's classic "red herring" to protect Bond's true identity under the Official Secrets Act. The Official Secrets Act is believed to be signed for national security, protection for the families and the need for buttoned lips when the spies left the army.
It is understood that some details of Bond's past are still covered by the Act.
Philips told BBC, "Grandfather took my cousin Jenny when she was a teenager by the hand one day and said 'believe me when I tell you, I am the real James Bond.' Nothing more was said and no questions were asked."
Philips also found some old photos of Bond where Philips believes he looked like he could easily play the role of James Bond. The photograph was taken in 1937. "He could have played Bond but did not have to. He was the James Bond," Philips told BBC.
Bond worked in the army for about 11 years but finished his career at a steelworker. After retirement, he took a part-time job as a lollipop man at Loughor, Swansea.
After finding out his superspy days, Bond's family added '007' to his gravestone. His family believes it is only fitting that his military past is listed on his headstone.
"Seeing the headstone standing proud recognising grandad's '007' status and proper birth name has been so important to our family," Philips told BBC.
The headstone now reads "James Charles Bond, S.O.E 007 (1906-1995), loving husband, father and grandfather".
Surely, the author Ian Fleming had some inspirations for his superspy fictional character- Dusko Popov, Forest Yeo-Thomas, Peter Smithers and Peter Flaming to name a few. But there was only one Bond, James Charles Bond.