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James Bond is "emotionally a Scot"

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#1 quantumofsolace


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Posted 06 October 2013 - 09:05 PM

dailyrecord 6 10 2013 http://www.dailyreco...t-wants-2344214

James Bond is "emotionally a Scot" and wants his ashes scattered in Glencoe according to biography by John Pearson

IN his 1973 novel, purporting to be an "authorised biography" of 007, John Pearson writes about meeting the real-life spy James Bond who was turned into a fictional hero by Ian Fleming to hoodwink Britain's enemies.

ALL that Ian Fleming had disclosed were the bare facts of his hero’s parentage. The father, Andrew Bond, had come from Glencoe in Argyll, whilst the mother, Monique, was a Delacroix from the Swiss canton of Vaud.

I was surprised to see that James Bond was evidently proud of his Scottishness, talking nostalgically about the family’s stone house in the Highlands.

He said the only roots he felt were there.

“I always felt myself emotionally a Scot. I don’t feel comfortable in England.

“When I die, I want my ashes scattered in Glencoe.”

He talked a lot about the early Bonds, tough warlike people who followed the MacDonalds and had lived in Glencoe for generations.

Three Bonds, all brothers, were slaughtered in the Glencoe massacre of 1692.

Later Bonds preserved their sturdy independence; during the 18th century they prospered, and by the 19th they had produced a missionary, several distinguished doctors, and an advocate.

But, as with many Highland families, the Bonds clung to their identity as Scots. They had avoided being softened like Lowlanders. They still regarded Glencoe as their home and remained big boned and wild.

James Bond’s great-grandfather – and his namesake – won a VC with the Highland Infantry before Sebastopol. His sword still hangs in the house in Glencoe.

Other male Bonds were less impressive. One of them, a great-uncle Hugh, drank himself to death in his mid-30s.

Great-uncle Ian was sent down from university for shooting his law books with a .45 revolver.

And the present head of the family, Bond’s uncle Gregor, is a dour, drunken old gent of 82. According to James Bond, the men in his family all tend to be melancholics. Through this side of the family he evidently inherited his shut-in, brooding quality.

There is a lot of granite in James Bond. He also mixes the family determination with a solid dose of Calvinism.

The Bonds, as true Scots, believed in guilt, care with money and the need for every man to prove himself.

Bond’s father Andrew was typical. Extremely gifted, he appears as something of a paragon during his boyhood – prize scholar and captain of games at Fettes, he went on to Aberdeen to study engineering with considerable success.

In his early 20s when the First World War began, he joined the Royal Engineers, survived the Somme, and was seconded to Ian Hay’s staff at Gallipoli.

He lost an arm but gained a DSO – and a lifelong admiration for the Turks.

When the war ended, he was an acting brigadier and joined the Allied Military Government to supervise the dismantling of the Ruhr, a task which must have suited this puritanical young engineer.

But the real passion in his life was mountains. Climbing suited his strenuous nature, and late in 1918 he spent
his first peacetime leave climbing the peaks he had dreamed of – in the Swiss Alps.

He was trying to forget the horror of war, but he did more than that – he found a wife.

Whatever else they were, the Bonds were great romantics and Andrew’s marriage was in character. Just as Garibaldi saw the woman he married for the first time through a telescope, so Andrew caught his first glimpse of his future wife halfway up a mountain.

She was suspended at the tail-end of a rope of mountaineers ascending the spectacular Aiguilles Rouges, above Geneva.

Climbing conditions were appalling. From below, Andrew admired the tenacity of the climbers. When later, he went to congratulate them, only to find that the final climber was young, female and extremely pretty, his fate was sealed. So was hers.

Nothing deterred him – neither the fact that she was barely 19, nor that her family opposed the match, nor that she was already officially engaged to a Zurich banker.

The same spirit that had inspired old James Bond against the Russians at Sebastopol urged on his grandson for the girl he loved. The Delacroixs were rich, obstinate and somewhat staid. Their reaction to their daughter’s suitor was predictable.

Had Andrew Bond possessed a modicum of tact, he might still have won them round. Tact was, alas, one of his deficiencies.

After a stormy interview with the man he wished to make his father-in-law, he delivered a brief ultimatum, had it rejected and stormed out of the big, white house. Two days later, he and Monique eloped.

This was to cause years of bitterness which helped sour much of James Bond’s childhood. Monique was instantly disowned and cut off without the proverbial Swiss franc.

Andrew, in return, would never let the name Delacroix be spoken in his presence.

The prompt birth of a son and heir, James’ elder brother Henry, nine months to the day after the wedding made little difference.

The Bonds and the Delacroixs were not on speaking terms. To keep his young wife happy Andrew Bond accepted his secondment to the Allied High Command in Germany.

James Bond was born the autumn after they arrived.

#2 glidrose


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Posted 07 October 2013 - 06:01 PM

Glad to see Pearson's fine novel getting some love - and media recognition!