1. ITV Report

Swansea's 'real life' James Bond given 007 gravestone

Credit: ITV News

A former spy called James Bond has been given a special 007 gravestone after his family discovered he had served under author Ian Fleming - a Naval Commander at the time.

Undercover army veteran James Charles Bond died in 1995, taking his secret past behind him, but thanks to his grandson it is now being uncovered.

Stephen Perry, 52, who lives in Llanelli, trawled through World War Two documents which had previously been guarded under the Official Secrets Act to uncover the truth about his grandad's secret past.

Papers that were until recently secret showed the link between Swansea's James Bond and the author Ian Fleming. Credit: ITV News

The papers showed former metal worker Mr Bond, from Swansea, was a member of the elite Special Operations Executive (SOE) where he worked on missions under Ian Fleming before he became an author.

He believes his grandfather must have been the inspiration behind the classic spy character.

The 'real' James Bond, of Swansea. Credit: ITV News

It's almost too coincidental that he was an SOE, he was James Bond, we know he served under Ian Fleming, Ian Fleming put the lead teams together and deployed them behind enemy lines.

There were 100-million soldiers from 30 countries and only 13,000 SOEs. Only one SOE was called James Bond.

– Stephen Perry, grandson of 'real life' spy, James Bond.
The 'real' James Bond's grandson, Stephen Perry. Credit: ITV News

Greengrocer Stephen, 52, decided to mark the discovery by sprucing up his grandfather's grave - and replacing the headstone with the recognition for Her Majesty's Secret Service.

Seeing the headstone standing proud recognising granddad’s ‘007’ status and proper birth name has been so important to our family.

Granddad lived his lived his life shackled by the Official Secrets Act. He is released from that now more than 24 years after his death as elements of his covert life as a spy feed through from our researches.

My grandfather took his secret past to his grave but it is now allowed to be public knowledge.

It is only right that his military past is listed on his headstone.

– Stephen Perry

The headstone now reads James Charles Bond, S.O.E 007, 1906-1995, loving Husband, Father, and Grandfather.

Stephen said his superfit grandad was trained in explosives and firearms as part of his special operations missions.

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Grandad was protected by Ian Fleming himself I believe.

Grandfather took my cousin Jenny when she was a teenager by the hand one day saying: ’Believe me when I tell you, I am the real James Bond.’ Nothing more was said and no questions were asked.

But we found out that Grandad was a spy working behind enemy lines and in 1942 that Ian Fleming put an elite team of SOEs together for a mission details of which have not been disclosed.

My granddad was one of that team of six. It makes my chest pump with pride. Those guys were heroes.

– Stephen Perry

Fleming, who died in 1964, had claimed James Bond was named after an American ornithologist - saying he wanted a "plain, simple name" for his superspy.

But Stephen suspects it was a "classic red herring" by Fleming to protect his grandad's true identity under the Official Secrets Act.