With Quantum of Solace just days away from its Irish release, we go back to the beginning and take a look behind the man behind it all With just two days now until the release of the 22nd Bond movie, Movies.ie goes back to the beginning, unveiling the man who forged a modern phenomenon. But how similar is Ian Flemming to 007? Read on to find out… (1)Withdrawn from Eton at 17, he went to the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst, where his tutor declared that he would make a good soldier “provided always that the ladies don’t ruin him”. (2) At Sandhurst, Fleming was indeed ensnared by the ladies – he caught an STI from a prostitute and was withdrawn from the college and sent to a finishing school in Austria. (3)In 1939 he was recruited as personal assistant to the Director of Naval Intelligence. It was in “Room 39”, the intelligence office at the Admiralty, he honed skills as an espionage planner. (4) One of his more imaginative plans (unused) was “Operation Ruthless”, a bid to retrieve a German naval codebook by crashing a captured German bomber into the English Channel. (5) Fleming was involved in formulating a plan codenamed Operation Goldeneye – a plan to defend Gibraltar against the Nazis should Spain decide to join the Axis powers and invade. (6) Fleming reached the rank of Commander in the Naval Intelligence Service, and had the codename was 17F. James Bond held the same rank. (7) After WWII, Fleming returned to journalism, he also acquired a plot of land in Jamaica on which he built Goldeneye, the hideway where he wrote the Bond novels. He named the house after both a wartime operation (see fact 5) and Carson McCullers’ novel Reflections in a Golden Eye. (8) Peter Fleming, his older brother may have been part inspiration for the character of Bond. He was a popular travel writer, and also had an eventful wartime career, narrowly escaping death in Greece, where his life was saved by an officer called Rodney Bond. Another suggested model was the Scottish soldier, author and diplomat Sir Fitzroy Maclean. (9) The codename 007 also stemmed from his Admiralty days, whenall top secret communications carried a double-zero prefix. (10) Fleming published his first Bond novel, Casino Royale, in 1953. It was a modest hit, although it remained largely unknown in the US until later. Fleming was said to have taken the name of his titular spy from the book ‘Birds of the West Indies’ by noted ornithologist James Bond. Quantum of Solace hits Irish cinemas this Friday, October 31st.