London: Bill Day, one of the last survivors of a British World War II military assault unit that inspired Ian Fleming to create the character of James Bond, has died, the Daily Telegraph reported. He was 95.
Day belonged to the 30 Assault Unit, or 30AU, which played an important role in the Allied invasion of Europe in 1944.
"Ian Fleming had worked for the Director of Naval Intelligence, and in the months after the war wrote a history of 30AU which is now in the National Archives. The manuscript was typed up by Margaret Priestley, whom Fleming took as his model for Miss Petty Pettaval (better known as Miss Moneypenny); some of the exploits of Day and his companions were to be the basis for some of Bond`s adventures," the newspaper said Monday.
The unit, which included Royal Navy and Royal Marines officers and men, was created by naval intelligence chief Rear Adm. John Godfrey, who was Fleming`s superior.
William Bernard Day, who enlisted in the Royal Marines at the age of 17, never even came close to being as famous as Agent 007.
Day, who served as a bodyguard for prime minister Winston Churchill in 1943, held numerous sales and management positions with candy company Rowntree`s of York, England.
He is survived by Marie, his wife of 67 years, and two children.