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Official secrets reveal Bond in the making

19-Apr-2008 • Literary

Brave, reckless and a maverick known for his disregard for authority, Patrick Dalzel-Job has long been touted as the real life model for James Bond, not least because he served under Ian Fleming during the Second World War - reports The Guardian.

Now the release of Dalzel-Job's war records, protected by the Official Secrets Act for more than half a century, appears to strengthen his position as the 'true' 007.

Dalzel-Job was a secret agent working for British Naval Intelligence and was recruited by Fleming, who had set up the undercover 30 Assault Unit, a special force which would race ahead of Allied front-line troops to seize secret German equipment and documents before they could be destroyed. Like Bond, he piloted miniature submarines and could ski backwards. Just as Bond's independent attitude frustrates 'M', so the lone wolf Dalzel-Job had no qualms about disobeying orders.

Confidential reports by his senior officers show parallels with Bond. 'He keeps himself in an exceptionally high state of physical fitness, he can withstand an unusual amount of hardship and exposure,' said one Captain Banks. Another report stated: 'An unusual officer who possesses no fear of danger and has been used to living on his own. When the work appeals to him he is a first class officer.' A Vice-Admiral Wells noted: 'Toleration is not his strong point but he is very loyal and hardworking.'

The documents were obtained by the makers of James Bond - The True Story, a documentary to be broadcast on Channel Five at 9pm on Wednesday, marking the centenary of Fleming's birth next month.

Dalzel-Job's son, Iain, a Falklands War veteran, who still has shrapnel lodged in his head, said: 'He was a good soldier but if he didn't believe in an order, he wouldn't do it.' Iain, 61, whose own son served in Afghanistan, added: 'My father denied the link. He said, "It's not me." '

In May 1940, Dalzel-Job realised that Narvik in Norway would be bombed by the Germans and many of the 10,000 inhabitants would be killed. He was ordered not to become involved by the Navy, but removed 4,500 people in a hastily assembled group of fishing boats over a period of 48 hours. He died in 2003 aged 90.

The debate over Bond's prototype is one of the subjects examined in For Your Eyes Only, an exhibition at the Imperial War Museum in London.

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