Wednesday, March 6, 2013

When Ian Fleming Picked My Grandfather To Steal Nazi Secrets

Justin Rowlatt at the BBC News offers a piece on his grandfather Royal Navy Lt Ionides (seen in the above photo with his daughters), who was selected to serve in the 30 Assault Unit founded by Royal Navy Commander Ian Fleming, the creator of James Bond, during World War II.

When naval intelligence officer Ian Fleming set up a secret commando unit during World War II, among those handpicked for duty was Theo Ionides - my grandfather. His band of real-life James Bonds helped change the course of the war.

... Then, Room 39 was packed with men, all smoking like chimneys. These were the cream of naval intelligence, tasked with using their guile and imagination to come up with novel ways of confounding the Germans.

Overseeing them from the adjoining office was the formidable Admiral John Godfrey, their boss and the inspiration for M in the James Bond novels.

And back at the start of the war, the main preoccupation of his team was how to address a key British weakness - the fact that the Germans led the Allies in all sorts of technologies - encryption, rockets, submarines, torpedoes, mines and much more.

In 1942, Fleming proposed a simple solution - steal it.

His plan is outlined in a succinct single-page memo, hammered out on a typewriter in Room 39. It is headed Proposal for Naval Intelligence Commando Unit and right from the first paragraph it is clear that - in the spirit of 30AU - the idea itself is stolen.

You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:

Above is a photo of Justin Rowlatt performing an interview for the program.

You can also read a piece in the Littlehampton Gazette about the BBC program via the below link:

Below is a photo of Commander Ian Fleming in Room 39 during World War II:

You can also read my Counterterrorism magazine piece on Ian Fleming and the 30 Assault Unit via the below link:

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