‘Name: Bond, James. Height: 183cm, weight: 76 kilograms; slim build; eyes: blue; hair: black; scar down right cheek and on left shoulder; signs of plastic surgery on back of right hand; all-round athlete; expert pistol shot, boxer, knife-thrower; does not use disguises. Languages: French and German. Smokes heavily (NB: special cigarettes with three gold bands); vices: drink, but not to excess, and women. Not thought to accept bribes.’
Ian Fleming, From Russia With Love
Ian Fleming’s James Bond was born in Zurich in the early 1920s to Andrew Bond of Glencoe and Monique Delacroix, from the Canton de Vaud in Switzerland. The family divided their time between a flat in Chelsea and a large house just outside Basel which enabled James’ fluency in French and German, as well as English. Tragically, both James’ mother and father died in a climbing accident whilst on holiday in France when he was only eleven.
After the death of his parents, Bond was placed under the guardianship of his aunt Charmian and went to live with her in Kent. James later passed the Common Entrance Exam for Eton College and entered the school. After two halves at the school, James Bond was removed from Eton due to an alleged incident with one of the Boys’ Maids, and his aunt Charmian transferred James to his father’s old school, Fettes College.
To learn more about James’ adventures as a teenager, read Charlie Higson’s bestselling and critically acclaimed Young Bond series.
At age fifteen, Bond became an avid golfer, a hobby he shares with his creator Ian Fleming. From this point on, Bond was often to be found playing golf at the Royal St Marks Golf Course, as well as spending more time in Austria and Switzerland. When Bond was seventeen, an old friend of his father’s sent a letter of introduction for James to the Admiralty, where Bond began work shortly before the outbreak of the Second World War.
During the War, Bond was enrolled in the secret service joining the newly created Special Operations Executive, later to become Special Operations (SO). Bond undertook missions abroad for several years before being reassigned to London in 1949. Shortly after his return to London, Bond was awarded a license to kill, and from that moment on became known as agent 007.
‘The double-o prefix, was a great honour. It had been earned hardly. It brought Bond the only assignments he enjoyed, the dangerous ones.’
Ian Fleming, Dr No
For more detail on the fictional life of James Bond, please see James Bond: The Authorised Biography.