Father and son: the wartime service of Valentine and Ian Fleming

For Your Eyes Only - new exhibition opens at Imperial War Museum London, opens 17 AprilTo celebrate the centenary of Ian Fleming’s birth, on 17 April 2008, Imperial War Museum London launches the first major exhibition devoted to the life and work of the man who created the world’s most famous secret agent, James Bond. The exhibition will examine the extent to which the books and films reflect the reality of the Cold War and how far they were a product of Fleming’s prodigious imagination.The exhibition features fascinating material, much on display for the first time, including a selection of annotated Bond manuscripts and Fleming’s Colt Python .357 Magnum revolver. Material from the films will include the ‘blood-splattered’ shirt worn by Daniel Craig in Casino Royale, along with prototypes of Rosa Klebb’s flick knife shoes in From Russia with Love and Halle Berry’s bikini from Die Another Day.

We have come across another member of the Fleming family whilst doing research of our own at the UKNIWM; found on the First World War memorial in Glenelg Village, in the highlands of Scotland. Among the inscribed names it lists Major Valentine Fleming, DSO MP; and Father to Ian Fleming.

Valentine Fleming joined the Oxfordshire Yeomanry in August 1914, and was soon promoted to the rank of Major. He was posthumously awarded the DSO after he was killed in action on 20th May 1917, eight days before his son Ian’s ninth birthday.  Winston Churchill wrote a lengthy obituary for his long time friend for the Times newspaper. It is said that Ian Fleming kept this touching obituary to his father framed and close at hand for the rest of his life.

Are you aware of any other famous names or relatives on war memorials in the UK? If you are then we would like to hear about them.


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