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Ian Fleming and James Bond in East Kent
Ian Fleming, author of the James Bond "007" novels, was no stranger to east Kent with the area providing thinly disguised settings for several episodes in his spy's adventures.

Fleming was born on 28 May 1908 at Pett's Bottom, near Canterbury. The family was well off with his father the Member of Parliament for Henley from 1910 until his death serving in WW1 in 1917. After education at Eton, Sandhurst and the universities of Munich and Geneva, Fleming had several jobs eventually working for Britain's Naval Intelligence Division during the Second World War. That experience almost certainly helped in creating his first - and instantly successful - Bond novel "Casino Royale" in 1952.

He married divorcee Anne Charteris and they had a son, Caspar. In 1951 they purchased a house from Noël Coward on the north end of the beach at St. Margaret’s Bay. The property, White Cliffs Cottage, almost certainly provided an excellent place to create further 007 novels and convenient access to Fleming's favourite golf course, the Royal St George's at Sandwich. Fleming was a heavy smoker and drinker who suffered from heart disease; he died in August 1964, aged 56, from a heart attack. His widow Anne died in July 1981.

Two of the James Bond novels have strong east Kent links.

In "Moonraker" (1955) part of the story takes place in and around St. Margaret’s Bay. The villain Sir Hugo Drax convinces the government that his plan for a nuclear rocket is for the defence of the realm; but actually it is for its destruction with London the target. Drax's rocket installation is in the cliffs at Kingsdown, where Bond and undercover policewoman Gala Brand set out to put a stop to the scheme. (The 1979 Bond movie is very different from the novel - with no mention of Kent and the action set in the USA, Italy and the Amazon rainforest.)

In "Goldfinger", the Royal St George's at Sandwich - thinly disguised as the Royal St Mark’s - is used as the setting for a crucial golf match between Bond and Goldfinger. Again, the novel and subsequent film are very different.

Although some dispute it, there is a popular suggestion that "007" derived from the number of the London to Dover and Deal coach service, currently operated by National Express.
For more on Ian Fleming and James Bond's connections with Kent, see:

BBC Radio Kent presenter Jonathan Witchell "in the footsteps of Ian Fleming" in 2005: www.bbc.co.uk/kent/content/articles/2005/10/19/ian_fleming_by_jonathan_witchell_feature.shtml

From Kent With Love - Fleming and Bond's connections:
www.007magazine.co.uk/fleming/kentish01.htm and www.007magazine.co.uk/fleming/kentish02.htm

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