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"find immediately the twelve top german naval commanders and make each one write ten thousand words on why germany lost the war at sea"
Ian Fleming's last signal to his naval commando unit, known as 30AU, during WW2.

Life and Times

Evelyn St Croix Fleming gives birth to Ian Lancaster Fleming at 27 Green Street, Mayfair (May 28, 1908)
Mr and Mrs Valentine Fleming buy Pitt House, Hampstead Heath (1909)
Ian and older brother Peter enroll at Durnford Preparatory School, near Swanage, on the Isle of Purbeck (1915)
Father, Major Valentine Fleming, killed by German bombing in Gillemont Farm area, Picardy, France (May 20, 1917)
Fleming is enrolled at Eton (Autumn 1921)
Mrs Fleming buys Turner's House, Cheyne Walk, Chelsea (1923)
Older brother, Peter Fleming, leaves Eton and joins Christ Church, Oxford (1926); younger brothers, Richard and Michael, eventually follow to Eton aswell
Fleming awarded 'Victor Ludorum' (champion of athletics) (1925 and 1926)
Fleming placed in Army Class (instead of the year for University preparation) in the final year at Eton
Finishes a term early and sent to Newport Pagnell under Colonel Trevor to prepare for Sandhurst examination
 
 
Sent to KitzbŁhel, Austria, to study (Summer 1926)
Gentleman Cadet Ian Lancaster Fleming joins No.5 Company under Major the Lord Ailwyn, DSO, MC (passed 6th in the entrance exam out of the whole country - awarded a prize cadetship) (Autumn 1926)
Comes 2nd in the 120 yards hurdle representing Sandhurst in the Woolwich-Sandhurst-Cranwell athletics match at Queens Club (May 1927)
Quits Sandhurst. Mrs Fleming sends him back to Austria for a year to get the University education he missed out on
Sent to Munich to continue studies, becoming a student at Munich University
Sent to Geneva University to improve his French for the Foreign Office examination to become a diplomat (1929)
Takes a temporary job at the Bureau of Intellectual Co-operation of the League of Nations to gain experience as a civil servant
Fleming comes an unimpressive 25th out of 62 applicants (with only a couple of places available) and fails to get into the Foreign Office / Diplomatic Service (July 1931)
Sir Roderick Jones, head of 'Reuters', takes Fleming on - mainly sub-edits foreign stories aswell as occasional reporting jobs (1932)
Takes the Nord-Express from Berlin to Moscow, to cover the show trial of 6 British engineers of the 'Metropolitan-Vickers Electrical Company'. They were accused of aiding state employees in sabotaging 4 power stations. Fleming did well, gaining respect of other senior journalists there (April 1933)
Asked to report his findings of the trial and details on Moscow to the Foreign Office on his return
Grandfather, Robert Fleming, dies
 
 
Offered job in Shanghai as far-eastern correspondent at end of the year - before this, it was planned that he was to interview Adolf Hitler (September 1933)
Resigns from 'Reuters', instead joining 'Cull and Company', merchant bank (October 1933)
Joins 'Rowe and Pitman' stockbrokers as a junior partner
Fleming spends £250 on starting a collection of first editions, covering the 'milestones of human progress' (early 1935)
Moves into his first house, 22B Ebury Street, Belgravia (October 1936)
Sent to Moscow again, this time reporting for 'The Times' and also gathering intelligence for the Foreign Office
Admiral Godfrey, Director of Naval Intelligence (DNI), introduced to Fleming by Admiral Aubrey Hugh-Smith (brother of senior partner in stockbroking firm 'Rowe and Pitman', where Fleming was working at the time) at the Carlton Grill. Fleming earmarked as his personal assistant when war breaks out (May 1939)
Fleming begins working part time (afternoons, 3 / 4 times a week) within the Naval Intelligence Division at the Admiralty (July 1939)
He is appointed Lieutenant (Special branch) in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve (July 26, 1939)
 
 
Spends the war working in 'Room 39' at the Admiralty as assistant to the DNI. Has contact with the Special Operations Executive (set up for irregular operations during the war such as parachuting men and weapons into occupied Europe), also MI6 (Military Intelligence, Section 6) which works under supervision of the Foreign Office and also MI5, responsible for Counter-espionage under the Home Office
Flies to France to help try and persuade the French Navy to withdraw to the safety of England - Admiral Darlan refusing to withdraw (June 1940)
After a while, Fleming told to help the British evacuation from Bordeaux instead
Around this time Fleming quickly promoted - Lieutenant-Commander to Commander
Visits SOE's sabotage school at Ashton House, near Knebworth (agent / fighter training for men dropped into occupied Europe)
Evacuates Ebury Street in favour of the Carlton Hotel (1940)
Carlton Hotel bombed, moves into the Lansdowne Club, Berkeley Square (Autumn 1940) - also moves to St. James Club, Piccadilly and then to Athenaeum Hotel, Piccadilly by the end of 1941
Accompanies the DNI to the United States to establish closer relations with American Intelligence. Meets with J. Edgar Hoover of the FBI and also with Sir William Stephenson, who had been building up British Intelligence throughout North and South America (mid 1941)
Invited by Stephenson to see new training complex and take part in its course for American agents by Lake Ontario, near Toronto. Apparently Fleming becomes one of its best pupils
Forms his own group of 'Intelligence Commandos' - known as No.30 Assault Unit ('My Red Indians') (1942)
Rear-Admiral John Godfrey leaves the NID, succeeded by Commodore E.G.N. Rushbrooke (November 1942)
Goes to Washington to meet with the US Navy department's Office of Intelligence and then goes onto Jamaica, with his school friend Ivar Bryce, to represent the DNI at a U-boat conference. Bryce and Fleming go and see Bryce's Jamaican house. Fleming decides to live in Jamaica - land on the north shore at Oracabessa bought for £2000 (£2000 also quoted to build the house). Names considered for the estate - 'Shamelady' and 'Rum Cove'
Officially released from his Majesty's service (November 10, 1945)
 
 
Awarded the Commander's Cross of the Order of the Dannebrog from the Danish Government for services during the war
Moves into 5 Montagu Place, Marylebone; accepts offer from Lord Kemsley to organise a foreign news service for his newspaper empire - starts building up the 'Mercury Service'
Has clause added to his contract - guaranteed a minimum of 2 months paid holiday (so he can escape the winter to 'Goldeneye'). Becomes known as the 'Commander' out there; one of his neighbours being NoŽl Coward
Sees a New York heart specialist after complaining of pain and tightness in his chest (1946)
Completes an article for the magazine 'Horizon', an island guide to Jamaica (1947)
Moves into 21 Hays Mews, Mayfair (late 1947)
Helps Lord Kemsley with the 'Sunday Times' and its battle with the 'Observer' (late 1940s and 1950s)
Goes to see Sir John Parkinson, Harley Street heart specialist, after again complaining of chest pains (1948)
Moves into flat in Hay's Mews, Mayfair (mid 1948)
Mrs Fleming leaves the Grand Hotel, Cannes to move to 'Emerald Wave' on Cable Beach, Nassau, Bahamas, on her son's recommendation, for tax purposes (July 1950)
Fleming moves to 24 Carlyle Mansions, Cheyne Walk, Chelsea (August 1950)
Buys 'White Cliffs', NoŽl Coward's house at St. Margaret's Bay, near Dover (Christmas 1951)
 
 
First draft of 'Casino Royale' written (January-March 1952)
Marries Lady Rothermere (Anne Charteris) in the Magistrates Office of the Town Hall, Port Maria, Jamaica. NoŽl Coward and Cole Leslie (Coward's secretary) are witnesses (March 24, 1952)
Becomes European Vice-President of the North American Newspaper Alliance (NANA) with Lord Kemsley's permission (Ivar Bryce, Fleming's friend, had bought a controlling interest)
William Plomer reads draft of 'Casino Royale' who passes it onto Daniel George (at Jonathan Cape). Jonathan Cape himself then sees it. Fleming re-writes parts of the draft
Anne gives birth to Caspar Robert Fleming (August 1952)
Caspar Robert christened at Chelsea Old Church. NoŽl Coward and Anthony Eden's wife, Clarissa, among godparents (October 1952)
Buys Glidrose Productions to ease tax burden for forthcoming book(s) (October 1952)
Cape accepts 'Casino Royale' for publication (early 1953)
Moves out of Carlyle Mansions and buys 16 Victoria Square (March 1953)
UK publication day of 'Casino Royale' (Tuesday April 13, 1953)
Writes 3 articles for the 'Sunday Times' covering Jacques Cousteau's salvage of the wreck of a Graeco-Roman galley from around 250 B.C. off the French coast near Marseilles (1953)
Macmillan buys 'Casino Royale' for US publication (March 23, 1954)
CBS pays Fleming $1000 to adapt 'Casino Royale' into a one hour TV adventure as part of their 'Climax!' series. It stars Barry Nelson (Bond turned into an American for this TV version), Peter Lorre and Linda Christian - broadcast live (October 7, 1954)
Fleming nearly gives up Bond - "I have a fifth book more or less in mind, but after that the vacuum is complete". SMERSH was to kill Bond off at the end of 'From Russia, With Love'
 
 
Sells screen rights for 'Casino Royale' outright to Gregory Ratoff for $6000 (1955)
Raymond Chandler gives praise to 'Live And Let Die', helping book sales. Revives Fleming's confidence in James Bond (mid 1955)
Actor Ian Hunter shows interest in buying screen rights for 'Moonraker' - Fleming replies with a £10,000 price tag for full rights
Buys the journal 'Book Collector' from Lord Kemsley (Summer 1955)
Accompanies Sir Ronald Howe, Assistant Commisioner of Scotland Yard, head of CID, to the Interpol Conference, that year held in Istanbul. After the week is up, returns on the Simplon-Orient Express: Istanbul to Paris (September 1955)
Accepts proposition as one of the governors of the Royal College of Art (Autumn 1955)
'Casino Royale' is published for the first time in paperback by Pan Books (Autumn 1955)
Travels to Inagau, Bahamas, to accompany 'scientific visit' to the flamingo colony there (March 1956)
Visits the health clinic Enton Hall in Surrey but, after returning, is still complaining of palpitations and an increased heart beat (April 1956)
The Prime Minister, Anthony Eden, and wife Clarissa, spend 3 weeks at Goldeneye, after Eden's personal physician orders him to rest. Fleming gets a lot of publicity from this and becomes more of a public figure (November-December 1956)
'James Bond, the sardonic secret agent who stormed into popularity as THE post-war fiction hero, now begins a new career.' Fleming accepts offer from the Daily Express of turning the novels into comic strip form
Travels to Tangier to meet with John Collard, who had documented the success of Sir Percy Sillitoe's International Diamond Security Organisation, which had been set up to look into the disappearance of diamonds, thereby trying to protect the world diamond market (mid 1957)
 
 
Takes part in the Bowmaker professional-amateur golf tournament held at the Berkshire golf club (Summer 1957)
Fleming turns the source material he had got from Tangier into the serial 'The Diamond Smugglers' for the 'Sunday Times' (Autumn 1957)
Travels to the Seychelles to write for the 'Sunday Times' about supposed French hidden treasure (Spring 1958)
CBS offers Fleming the chance to put Bond onto television, Fleming to write 32 episodes for them over a 2 year period
His association with the film, 'The Boy and the Bridge' as unofficial adviser in the final stages of its production, is how Fleming meets Irish writer / producer Kevin McClory. Fleming's friend, Ivar Bryce, is backing the picture with McClory producing (Bryce was in the U.S. and had asked Fleming to go and see how the film was progressing aswell as giving any private advice on it in general)
In a private viewing theatre at 146 Piccadilly, Fleming views a rough version of 'The Boy and the Bridge'. He tells Bryce he is impressed by what he sees and thereafter spends more time with McClory - there is 'considerable respect' for McClory's abilities and energy he had put into the film. Before its completion, McClory suggests a James Bond picture with Bryce as backer (although he doesn't like any of Fleming's existing plots).
Ian Fleming, Ivar Bryce, Kevin McClory and Ernest Cuneo meet at Bryce's UK residence and a story outline based on their ideas is written up by Cuneo shorty afterwards (May 1959)
 
 
Fleming agrees to develop it into a rough script to form the basis of a film. He continues to work on a screenplay until July 1959. Jack Whittingham is brought in by McClory and a further script is written known as 'James Bond of the Secret Service'. But the group have problems finding backers - MCA (the company that Bryce had approached to fund the film) announces they want to make the film but not with McClory as producer.
Fleming and Bryce begin to cool on the project. McClory meets with Fleming at Goldeneye and learns of Fleming's doubts that he could and should produce a Bond film and that Fleming is writing a novel based on the screenplay (May 1960)
Life magazine publishes a list of favourite top 10 books of President Kennedy - including 'From Russia, With Love' at number 9. US interest in Fleming's books takes off; Kevin McClory applies for an injunction to stop publication of 'Thunderball' (March 1961)
Publication goes ahead; Fleming suffers a heart attack and is taken to the London Clinic. Starts to write 'Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang' (April 1961)
Arrives in Brighton to recover but travels to Dieppe, France as more beneficial (May 1961)
Moves out of Bekesbourne near Canterbury and into Sevenhampton House near Swindon
Harry Saltzman options film rights to the books from Ian Fleming (except 'Casino Royale', the contents of 'The Spy Who Loved Me' and also 'Thunderball', which was excluded pending the outcome of the litigation). He teams up with Albert R. Broccoli to form Eon Productions and in June 1961 the two agree a deal with United Artists for the first of a series of Bond films
Attends 'Dr. No' premiere and film party afterwards at the Milroy (October 5, 1962)
 
 
Visits Japan, gathers material for 'You Only Live Twice'
Attends 'From Russia With Love' premiere and hosts film party afterwards for friends at Victoria Square (October 10, 1963)
'Thunderball' trial commences. Kevin McClory sues for 'plagiarism and false attribution', claiming the novel was based on scripts that he himself and Whittingham had worked on (November 20, 1963)
Sees a heart specialist, instructed to lead a healthier life - to avoid smoking and rest more (December 1963)
Ivar Bryce, who was also being sued, opts for a settlement rather than continue. McClory, through a Deed of Assignment, is given the film rights while Fleming keeps the publishing rights although future editions to include the following notice - 'based on a screen treatment by Kevin McClory, Jack Whittingham and Ian Fleming' (December 31, 1963)
Sells 51% of Glidrose to relieve tax problems to golfing friend Sir Jock Campbell's company Booker Brothers
Catches a cold and then pleurisy from playing golf in the rain (late Easter 1964) - after King Edward VII's Hospital for Officers and a short time at Victoria Square, Fleming goes to the Dudley Hotel, Hove to recuperate
Mother, Evelyn Fleming, dies at a hotel in Brighton (July 24, 1964)
Attends her funeral at Nettlebed near Henley; returns to Victoria Square
Attends a committee meeting of the Royal St. Georges Golf Club at Sandwich Bay - he is to be the next captain of the club (August 1964)
After the meeting, Ian Lancaster Fleming taken to Canterbury Hospital and dies of heart failure (August 12, 1964)

All non-Bond Fleming novels first published in the UK by Jonathan Cape.

All non-Bond Fleming novels first published in the US by:

Macmillan:
- The Diamond Smugglers
 
New American Library:
- Thrilling Cities
 
Random House:
- Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
 
The Diamond Smugglers - 1957 (UK) / 1958 (US) Based on a series of articles by Ian Fleming that appeared in the 'Sunday Times' in September and October of 1957, a non-Bond story based on true events about diamond smuggling out of Africa worth £10 million a year.
 
Thrilling Cities - 1963 (UK) / 1964 (US) Based on two sets of articles published in the 'Sunday Times' in 1959 and 1960, Fleming takes the reader on a tour of thirteen of the world’s most exciting cities. Also includes the James Bond short story '007 in New York'.
 
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang - first published in 3 separate 'Adventures' 1964-1965 (UK) / 1964 (US) Childrens story about an inventor who rescues a former grand prix race car from the scrap heap and restores it. Fleming wrote the book for his son, Caspar, and was adapted into a musical film in 1968.

All Bond Fleming novels first published in the UK by Jonathan Cape.

All Bond Fleming novels first published in the US by:

Macmillan:
- Casino Royale
- Live And Let Die
- Moonraker
- Diamonds Are Forever
- From Russia, With Love
- Dr. No
- Goldfinger
 
Viking:
- For Your Eyes Only
- Thunderball
- The Spy Who Loved Me
 
New American Library:
- On Her Majesty's Secret Service
- You Only Live Twice
- The Man With The Golden Gun
- Octopussy and The Living Daylights
 
Casino Royale - 1953 (UK) / 1954 (US) Live And Let Die - 1954 (UK) / 1955 (US) Moonraker - 1955 Diamonds Are Forever - 1956 From Russia, With Love - 1957
 
Dr. No - 1958 Goldfinger - 1959 For Your Eyes Only - 1960 Thunderball - 1961 The Spy Who Loved Me - 1962
 
On Her Majesty's Secret Service - 1963 You Only Live Twice - 1964 The Man With The Golden Gun - 1965 Octopussy and The Living Daylights - 1966

Opening from 'THUNDERBALL' by Ian Fleming

"it was one of those days when it seemed to james bond that all life, as someone put it, was nothing but a heap of six to four against"