MI6 previews the new book from Nicholas Rankin that explores the history of James Bond creator Ian Fleming's 30AU...

Ian Fleming's Commandos: The Story of 30 Assault Unit in WWII

29th August 2011

Ian Fleming's Commandos: The Story of 30 Assault Unit in WWII - Nicholas Rankin

The true story of Ian Fleming’s Second World War unit, the real-life inspiration for James Bond.

In 1942, Lieutenant-Commander Ian Fleming RNVR was personal assistant to the Director of Naval Intelligence - the dynamic figure behind James Bond’s fictional chief, ‘M’. In the Admiralty, Fleming had a brilliant idea: why not set up a unit of authorised looters, men who would go in with front-line troops to steal enemy intelligence?

Known as ‘30 Assault Unit’, they took part in the landings in North Africa, Sicily and Normandy and helped liberate Paris. But 30AU really came into their own in Germany in 1945 and their final amazing coup was to seize the entire archives of the German Navy - over 300 tons of documents. Ian Fleming flew out in person to bring the loot back to Britain, where it was combed for evidence to use in the Nuremberg trials.

In this gripping and highly enjoyable book, Nicholas Rankin, author of the bestselling Churchill’s Wizards, puts 30 Assault Unit’s fascinating story in a strategic and intelligence context. He also argues that Ian Fleming’s Second World War service was one of the most significant periods of his life - without this, the most popular spy fiction of the twentieth century would not have been written.


About The Author
Nicholas Rankin spent twenty years broadcasting for BBC World Service where he was Chief Producer, Arts and won two UN awards. He has written three previous, highly praised books for Faber: Dead Man’s Chest, following in Robert Louis Stevenson’s footsteps from Scotland to Samoa; Telegram from Guernica, a biography of the ground-breaking war reporter G. L. Steer; and Churchill’s Wizards, a study of British camouflage and deception in the two world wars. Nicholas Rankin was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2009. He is married to the novelist Maggie Gee and lives in London.

Publisher: Faber & Faber (UK)
Format: Hardback
Pages: 416
RRP: £20.00
ISBN: 9780571250622
Released: 6th October 2011 (UK)
Order Amazon UK

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