THE REAL STORY OF JAMES BOND
The unknown South African Connection
With the recent passing of Sean Connery, it might be a good time to look at the name “James Bond,” the role which made the Scottish actor famous. Legend has it that the James Bond creator, Ian Fleming, wanted the most boring name possible and decided on “James Bond.” The “Bond” refers to an American ornithologist with the same name, Fleming being a bird watcher and lover of note. But is this story true?
Well, it might be depending on how much Fleming knew about Danie Theron, a South African scout/spy that came to fame during the 1899-1902 Anglo Boer War. Among Afrikaners, my tribe, Danie Theron is a legend. He died young, 28 years old, on 5 September 1900. He encountered seven members of Marshall's Horse whilst on a mission and tried to shoot his way out, succeeding in killing three and wounding the remaining four. But he was known to be trapped somewhere on a small kopje (hill). The Brits shelled the area until he died, not daring to approach too closely. His great-great-niece, Charlize Theron became a famous Hollywood actress. Danie Theron also used the name “James Bond” whilst working behind enemy lines... the first use of that particular name in espionage as far as is known.
* Marshall's Horse was a South African cavalry unit formed in 1899 to fight on the side of the English. They lost 60 men during the war. On 30 October 1902, some months after the war ended, the Unit was absorbed into the Cape Police. For the Afrikaner, they were and stay traitors.
The first black South African President Nelson Mandela was as great as the legends made him. He paid the price for reaching out to the Afrikaner. After he left office, he was invited to the unveiling of a statue of Danie Theron and accepted. As always, he was received warmly. The former president said, “My own shaping as a freedom fighter has been deeply influenced by the work and lives of Afrikaner freedom fighters. I'm proud to pay homage to the memory of another brave Boer fighter in the person of Commandant Danie Theron.” All hell broke loose from the haters on all sides. He shrugged them off as ignoramuses of history which they are.
Danie Theron was widely respected in life. Lord Roberts, who lost a son during that war, called the Boer spy: “the hardest thorn in the flesh of the British advance.” There cannot be any doubt that Theron caused the British Commander in Chief enormous headaches by reporting his movements and intentions with uncanny accuracy. The English had a very substantial reward placed on Theron’s head, dead or alive, of £1,000. How legal this was is open for debate since the combatants were all subjected to the Geneva Conventions. But then again, it was this war where the British Army, under Lord Kitchener, the suspected gay fellow, may he rot in hell, introduced the concentration camp principle together with scorched earth policies. This ensured Apartheid, as described in many of my books, and also murdered one out of every three Afrikaner women and children inside the concentration camps. Yes, scenes that shocked the world in 1945 at places called Buchenwald and Auschwitz were commonplace in South Africa between 1901 and 1902. I say again, the concentration camp principles were started not by Adolf Hitler but the British Army who never apologised for the genocide. Let us never forget that what is brushed over in history today. And it took 4,000 British soldiers to find and eliminate Danie Theron.
How good was Ian Fleming as a spy? Useless. He came from a wealthy family. He arranged, some might call this corruption, to serve at Naval Intelligence. His wartime role was administrative, commanding units gathering intelligence. He was never, not once, in the field himself and faced no danger. Most of his wartime ideas were ridiculous and never got far although he was creative in thinking. But he overheard a lot of pub stories and hence his books come over as authentic, much more so than the movies which became over-the-top in the extreme. There is one entertaining story about him that might be true. He decided to out gamble a German spymaster in Lisbon, Portugal, at a fancy casino. Much to his surprise, he lost all his money in record time to the German opponent who was a wily bastard himself. Fleming, being from a certain class of Englishmen, to be avoided at all costs but reasonable men, responded by ambushing the fellow with the help of a few mates when he was on his way to his car. Thus, stealing his own and the German’s money for the war effort. It is said that the first James Bond book, Casino Royale, is loosely based on this episode. Such underhand thinking will always be admired by me.
To this day Daniël Johannes Stephanus “Danie” Theron, (9 May 1872 – 5 September 1900) is honoured in South Africa. There are monuments, street names, and schools named after him. We will not forget Danie Theron, the first and real James Bond.
Think your friends would be interested? Share this blog!
* All 51 GMJ books deal with modern military subjects like espionage, counterterrorism, military strategy, military history, and exposing mainstream media lies/propaganda. The GMJ books are a delight for lovers of military history with content to be found outside the schoolbook approved histories. What is revealed in the GMJ books are shocking to the uninitiated. Prepare to find out the true state of affairs that no mainstream outlet will publish. If you wish to read about Covert and Special Forces Operations in sub-Saharan Africa, the new battleground where the radicals are to be found, the GMJ Books are the place to start. You will learn about covert operations, Special Forces techniques, and military history not known outside the select few.