‘Real-life James Bond’ from Swansea given 007 gravestone

A 1937 photograph of James Charles Bond Image copyright Wales News Service
Image caption A 1937 photograph of secret service spy James Charles Bond

A wartime spy thought by his family to have inspired James Bond has been given a “007” gravestone after relatives found he had served under Bond author Ian Fleming.

James Charles Bond, from Swansea, “took his secret past to his grave” when he died in 1995.

His grandson Stephen Phillips found out he had served under Fleming in WW2 as a Special Operations Executive (SOE).

Mr Phillips said the headstone was “important” to the family.

Documents found by Mr Phillips showed that former metalworker Mr Bond, who was born in Pontypridd, was a member of the elite SOE working on missions under former Naval commander Fleming before he became an author.

Image copyright Wales news service
Image caption Stephen Phillips, Mr Bond’s grandson, said it was “right” his military past was put on the headstone

Mr Phillips, a greengrocer from Llanelli, Carmarthenshire, said he believed Fleming chose his grandfather’s name for his fictional spy.

“Grandfather took my cousin Jenny when she was a teenager by the hand one day saying, ‘Believe me when I tell you, I am the real James Bond’. Nothing more was said and no questions were asked,” he said.

“But we found out that grandad was a spy working behind enemy lines, and in 1942 that Ian Fleming put an elite team of SOEs together for a mission, details of which have not been disclosed.”

Mr Phillips added his grandfather had been “shackled by the Official Secrets Act”.

“It is only right that his military past is listed on his headstone,” he said.

“Seeing the headstone standing proud recognising grandad’s ‘007’ status and proper birth name has been so important to our family.”

Fleming, who died in 1964, has said that James Bond was named after a US ornithologist, saying he wanted a “plain, simple name” for his superspy.

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