What were Ian Flemings movements in France in June 1940

Discussion in '1940' started by Roy Martin, Dec 4, 2013.

  1. Roy Martin

    Roy Martin Senior Member

    Can anyone give me Ian Fleming's movements in France in June 1940. One source says that he went to Dieppe where he helped King Zog of Albania escape, before himself escaping over the Spanish border - a long, long, walk.

    A few facts:

    '13 June 1940, with Paris about to fall they were diverted to a deserted airfield at Châteaudun, between Orléans and Le Mans. When they landed they had to go to the air raid shelter, leaving their luggage on the aircraft. After the raid the senior British officers were then whisked away in a staff car; leaving Timbal, a Royal Navy Lieutenant and his orderly, and Major Ranson of the Belgian Air Force to fend for themselves.'

    'On foot again they saw a French military lorry driving down the left hand side of the road in the direction of Tours. The British Lieutenant stepped into the road and stopped the vehicle, which was driven by a French sailor with a Quartermaster. The Quartermaster made a place for him and his orderly to join him in the cab. However he said that there was no room for the other two. The Lieutenant insisted that they should be carried, so a tarpaulin at the back was lifted:

    "To our great amazement, we found inside the truck four French sailors, dead drunk, lying on hundreds of bottles of champagne. They opened a bottle now and then, took a sip and then threw the bottle in the corner of the truck where it empties itself. Most of the champagne was Pommery-Grenot, 1928. There was also an ice box in the truck. Major Ranson and I climbed in the truck amid the champagne bottles."

    This, they learnt later, was Admiral Darlan’s champagne.'

    The Embassy people had arrived (in Bordeaux) from Tours on the previous evening and were camped out in the building. Later the naval lieutenant who had flown back to France with Timbal came in, with him were several sailors carrying equipment to set up a temporary radio station. (most of above from Bruno Comer)

    King Zog left France on 23 June 1944, through St Jean de Luz (near Bayonne), on the British merchant troop ship Ettrick; on the same day a Lieutenant RNVR left on HMS Galatea. (From Operation Aerial diary)
  2. PsyWar.Org

    PsyWar.Org Archive monkey

    Very interesting Roy. If I get a chance tomorrow at the National Archives, I'll take a look at this file:

    FO 371/24868, King Zog of Albania: his evacuation with entourage to England. Code 90 file 6586, 1940

  3. Roy Martin

    Roy Martin Senior Member


    I shall be very interested to see what you find. As you will have guessed this is a new twist on the Suffolk Golding story.

  4. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Just a snippet found here (note they have spelt the name of the boat as Etric and not Ettrick)


    The British military attaché in Bordeaux directed them to Arcachon where, at a villa outside the town, they met a British naval lieutenant, Ian Fleming, who arranged for them to be taken aboard HMS Galatea (71) for the short sea voyage to St Jean de Luz near the Spanish frontier.[19] Here they were transhipped to a passenger vessel, the Etric [sic],[20] which already had on board a large number of British subjects (mainly well-to-do ladies and their staff) evacuated from their villas in France. Mary Spears and her party of 25 British nurses and MTC drivers docked in Plymouth on 26 June 1940 with nothing but their personal effects.[21]
  5. Roy Martin

    Roy Martin Senior Member

    Many thanks for that, seems to be our man, doesn't it? I see that Wikipedia has the Ettrick name right in the endnotes. It will be intersting to see what Lee finds out today, if he has time. Does anyone know where the passenger lists for RAF aircraft are - presumably in the Air Ministry AVIA pieces at TNA.
  6. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Nice thread Roy - I'll be following this with interest. Just shout if you think I can contribute, not sure I can at the moment.

  7. PsyWar.Org

    PsyWar.Org Archive monkey

    Roy, I ran out of time yesterday and didn't get a chance to pull the file. But it's on the list for next week.

    What was the Suffolk Golding story?

    Drew5233 likes this.
  8. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin


    It could be connected with the Heavy water recovered when France fell.

  9. Roy Martin

    Roy Martin Senior Member


    I started a thread on this forum, but I can't find it! Herewith a brief summary:

    At 9 am on Saturday the 22nd June 1940 a special train arrived at a secured platform at London’s Paddington Station, it had travelled overnight from Falmouth. Army sentries with fixed bayonets stood guard. When the hundred or so passengers did emerge their clothes were stained and most of the men had several days’ growth of beard, all were marked with coal dust. Yet their clothes were of good quality, one woman even carried a mink coat, wrapped in a towel. Among them were a number of young children, one with her arms wrapped in bandages. Many of the men were leading French scientists and technicians.

    The sentries were more concerned with the contents of the luggage van. With good reason, for they included two crates of diamonds, in sealed envelopes, then valued at between one and three million pounds sterling: and the allies total supply of ‘heavy water’; Deuterium Oxide, recently discovered as a moderator for nuclear reactions. The total value of the consignment would have been sufficient to build a warship, but all had been carried to safety by a tramp steamer, which had arrived in Falmouth on the previous day. Most of the cargo and many of the passengers were later moved to North America.

    The two men in charge were a British Major and a rather wild looking young man who walked with a stick: the dirty great coat that he wore was said to hide two pistols and many sailor’s tattoos. Major Ardale Vautier Golding was from Military Intelligence (MI1?); his companion was Charles ‘Wild Jack’ Howard BSc, the 20th Earl of Suffolk and 13th Earl of Berkshire. Both were accompanied by their lady secretaries, who had travelled across France with them.

    The men took a taxi to Whitehall where they were met by Harold Macmillan, who was standing in for Herbert Morrison. They told the Minister of their journey from France in the merchant ship, which had just discharged her coal cargo - hence the dust - and how they came to bring their companions out of France. The ship remained in Falmouth, on it there were 700 tons of machine tools and other equipment of immense value to the now isolated British. All were in the care of the ship’s elderly Norwegian born Master and his British and Arab crew.

    The two travel weary secretaries shepherded the passengers into the GWR hotel at Paddington, where breakfast was served. They were then booked into hotels, where they were able to bathe and enjoy another proper meal. Most had escaped through Paris just before it fell and had then journeyed across France. Suffolk and Golding told Macmillan that there were more scientists and officials to bring out of France, unfortunately the Admiralty acted too late to save them. Later when the House of Commons was in secret session the minister made a brief report that ended:
    A considerable service has been rendered to the Allied cause by the safe arrival of this shipload.

    Lord Suffolk, his secretary and his driver, then formed a bomb disposal team that they called ‘The Holy Trinity’. They lost their lives in 1941 when diffusing their thirty-fifth bomb. The Earl was awarded the George Cross, the other two were ‘Commended for bravery’. The Earl is commemorated by a stained glass window in the church at Charlton in Wiltshire, his ancestral home. The window shows two ships; the Broompark, which carried the Mission safely from Bordeaux and the windjammer Mount Stewart on which young Jack was apprenticed.

    The only time the epic was filmed was as part of a 1973 documentary series. Before then there were several written accounts, there are many factual errors in these and the documentary. I can provide the full story compiled from primary records at present that version runs to 42 pages.

    Some of the characters (in addition to those named above)

    Paul Timbal, Managing Director Antwerp Diamond Bank
    Ian Fleming, Author of the James Bond books. (Were Suffolk and Golding among the first Bonds?)
    Marguerite Nicolle and Eileen Beryl Morden, the secretaries
    Andrė Van Campenhout, the head of the Belgian Ministry’s legal department.
    Sir Ernest Oppenheimer, the Chairman of De Beers
    Lieutenant Allier, French Deuxième Bureau, who saved the Heavy Water from Norway.
    Jean Frédéric Joliot-Curie and his wife Irène (Marie Skłodowska Curie's daughter)
    Admiral Darlan, or at least his champagne.
    Paul Dautry, the French Armaments Minister (there were meetings with other senior politicians)
    Hans von Halban and Lew Kowarski, Polish born nuclear scientists, later Tube Alloys Ltd.
    Captain Olaf Paulsen, Master of the Broompark
    The staff of the British Embassy, who had been in Bordeaux.
    W. Somerset Maugham, who wrote about his evacuation from Cannes on another coal ship.
  10. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

  11. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Hi Roy - Posted the links above to your threads on the subject :)
  12. Roy Martin

    Roy Martin Senior Member

    Thanks Andy.

    As Tricky Dicky says Fleming left Bordeaux on HMS Galatea. At St Jean de Luz he helped King Zog escape on the Ettrick, before returning to UK on the Galatea. One of the Bond girls was Gala Brand, named after her father's ship HMS Galatea.
  13. PsyWar.Org

    PsyWar.Org Archive monkey

    Thanks all, very interesting indeed.

    Does this tie in with the Section D operation to retrieve industrial diamonds? A lot of that story was heavily redacted in the SOE archives I seem to remember.
  14. Roy Martin

    Roy Martin Senior Member

    No, these were gem stones which the diamond merchants had deposited with the Antwerp Diamond Bank as security for cash advances and for safekeeping. Many of the diamantaires were Jewish and wished to get out before the Germans arrived. The MD of the bank realised that he would have to get the stones away from the Germans as well, so he got them to Paris and then on to near Bordeaux. The RAF then flew him to the UK were he met Sir Ernest Oppenheimer, the chairman of De Beers. It was agreed that he would try to get the diamonds, and the diamond cutters, to Britain to keep the industry there for the duration of the war.

    It would seem that he flew back to France with Ian Fleming, and others. As it was, with the assistance of the British Embassy, Suffolk and Golding and Captain Paulsen of the Broompark, he got the diamonds back to the UK. Most of the cutters were marooned in Royan, many perished later in the war..

    Timbal later took much of the stock to New York.
  15. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    You mean the 'French' version of the film Operation Amsterdam (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Amsterdam - removal of diamonds from the dealers in Amsterdam before the Germans arrived) - I knew my misspent youth might come in handy one day :)
  16. Roy Martin

    Roy Martin Senior Member

    Mine is the real story, honest! Some of the files are at TNA and there are extensive primary sources elsewhere..

    A TV series called the Dragon's Opponent, made about the Earl Of Suffolk in 1973, claims that the Earl got the diamonds by holding up Parisian jewellers at gunpoint - also a story.
  17. PsyWar.Org

    PsyWar.Org Archive monkey

    Roy, I managed to copy the file yesterday and have just sent along the details to you.
    From a quick scan it looks to mostly concern what the Government intended do to with him and a report on his initial request for assistance to get to the UK.
    I couldn't see any details on the actual trip but as I say I didn't read through everything, just a quick browse.

    All the best,


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