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Thursday, 24 February, 2000, 15:54 GMT
Bond author's passport sells for premium
Ian Fleming
Ian Fleming worked for the secret service during World War II
A passport used by James Bond creator Ian Fleming for a real-life spying mission has sold for more than five times more than expected at 15,525.

The single-page, temporary diplomatic document was sold by auction at Sotheby's in London.

Commander Fleming was issued the document during World War II. His mission was to travel to Gibraltar to gather secrets on the military plans of Spain's fascist government.

The first date stamp on the passport was for 16 February 1941 and reads: "Valid for a journey to Gibraltar and return to Madrid."
Fleming pasport
The passport was snapped up for an unexpectedly high price
The second is dated 26 February of the same year "for a journey to London via Lisbon".

At the time Fleming, who wrote Casino Royale - the first book about his world famous super spy - in 1953, was working for the Naval Intelligence section of the British secret service.

The Gibraltar mission was codenamed Operation Goldeneye. Its aim was to monitor the movements of Spain amid fears that its fascist ruler General Franco could forge an alliance with Hitler.

The US secret service was also involved in the mission and Fleming's main job was to liaise with the local US officer from his bureau in Gibraltar.

But he was also involved in disussions to allow the Royal Navy to use US destroyers in return for the lease of British bases in the Atlantic.

After the war, Fleming bought a home in Jamaica - where he was to spend most of his later life - and called it Goldeneye. The 007 movie Goldeneye, starring Pierce Brosnan, came out in 1995.
Pierce Brosnan
Pierce Brosnan made his Bond debut in Goldeneye
Fleming, who died of a heart attack in 1964, took some time to to break in to the world of spies.

After being turned down by the Foreign Office, he became a journalist in the early 1930s. He worked for Reuters news agency in Moscow before returning to Britain to work for the family bank.

The arrival of World War II saw Fleming recruited as assistant to the director of naval intelligence. It introduced him to a world of subertuge that woud fuel his imagination so fruitfully later on.

James Bond was apparently conceived in Fleming's mind shortly after the 1944 D-Day landings. He told a friend he was going "to write the spy story to end all spy stories".

See also:

19 Nov 99 | Shaken Not Stirred
Four decades of Bondage
19 Nov 99 | Shaken Not Stirred
The man behind Bond
14 Sep 98 | Entertainment
Bond bids for auction success
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