London: English author Ian Fleming’s James Bond, who is a womaniser, an action man, a cool customer and a suave connoisseur, was created from four elite commandos, it has been revealed.
Captain Gus March-Phillipps, Anders Lassen, Geoffrey Appleyard and Graham Hayes came together in an audacious secret raid in 1942 that was dubbed ‘Operation Postmaster.’
The 4 commandos were among a group of people who were tasked with snatching an Italian liner and two German tugs, impounded by the neutral Spanish government on an island in the Gulf of Guinea, which British Intelligence feared could be used as supply vessels for U-boats hunting in the waters off West Africa.
The four were given a licence to kill by Special Operations Executive boss Major Sir Colin Gubbins, whose code name was M.
The operation had been shrouded in secrecy until barrister Brian Lett, whose father served with the SOE, looked at the recently released documents relating to the raid.
Lett found that that the Naval liaison officer on Operation Postmaster was Fleming, who went on to create 007.
Lett said that the elite team formed the basis for Bond.
“When I started my researches into Operation Postmaster, I had no idea that I would stumble across Ian Fleming, the real M and the inspiration for James Bond,” he said.
“Fleming thought it safe to borrow the structure and code names of the SOE even though they were covered by the Official Secrets Act.
“Before his death, Fleming said 90 per cent of the plots came from his personal experience,” he added.
Wine connoisseur March-Phillipps had an explosive temper but was calm when he was under pressure.
Cool customer Appleyard was killed in a plane crash while he was serving with the SAS.
Hayes was a canoe expert and a diver, who was eventually betrayed as one of the brains behind the West African raid and shot in prison in Paris.
Lassen, a Dane, who won the Victoria Cross with the SAS, was a tough womaniser, who sailed around the world before joining the SOE.