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Scots inspiration for the character of James Bond 007

04-May-2010 • Bond News

John Birkett writes a letter to the Telegraph:

SIR – It is fitting that Simon Heffer (Comment, April 25) considers the best James Bond films to be those starring Sir Sean Connery, as three related Scots are believed to have been Ian Fleming's inspiration for Bond: Sir Fitzroy Maclean, Sir David Stirling and Lord Lovat.

Maclean was parachuted into Yugoslavia with Churchill's instructions to "find out which group of partisans is killing the most Germans so that we can support them".

Stirling conceived, founded and led the Special Air Service, and was described by Montgomery as "quite, quite mad; but in war there is often a place for mad people".

Lovat led the Commandos in the Lofoten raid (where he sent insulting messages from the telephone exchange directly to Hitler's, Goebbels's and Goering's offices) and in the 1944 D-Day landings; the mayor of the first village he liberated in Normandy laid a plaque inscribed "A Notre Libérateur" at his funeral in Beauly in 1995.

Churchill introduced him to Stalin as "the mildest-mannered man that ever scuttled ship or cut a throat", and a senior Canadian officer said that, for his rank and role, Lovat probably had the best military brain on either side in the Second World War.

All three were in their late 20s or early 30s throughout the war. Stirling and Lovat were first cousins and Maclean's wife was Lovat's sister – a remarkable family.

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