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 James Bond- ON HIS MAJESTY'S SERVICE (1940)

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Hilly KCMG
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PostSubject: James Bond- ON HIS MAJESTY'S SERVICE (1940)   Tue Jun 12, 2018 9:13 am

Many moons ago, I unleashed upon the old site a slew of WWII Bond stories. Looking upon them of late I realised much of my details were a little off -that Bond would have been in his early twenties around the events of Dunkirk and be as much as twenty-five at the culmination (where I had him get caught up in the cataclysmic Battle of Berlin). However, reading the short stories and generally needing something to kick on 'real' stories, I looked at my first war story -On His Majesty's Service- and penned this little prologue. I was going, years ago as writing evolved, to rewrite all of the war stories but looking at it will simply tweak and edit as writing's devolved or feels it has. If anything, just a release valve.

Anyway. We'll see.

On His Majesty’s Service

revised edition

SIS Headquarters, London, Spring 1964


M flicked ash off the newspaper, it was the Times as was always the case and would always be the case. He once remarked to his secretary, that if he were ever stranded on a desert island he would expect a trained stork to bring the Times to him every day. A preposterous remark, one that tickled Miss Moneypenny at any rate. As if hearing her master’s thoughts, Miss Moneypenny’s voice filtered through the intercom on his desk.
“Yes, Miss Moneypenny?” M said gruffly. Through the open window of his eighth floor office, he dimly heard lawnmowers at work in nearby Regent’s Park. The fragrance of freshly cut grass intermingled with petrol fumes from passing cars.
“Sir, I have the, er, the Times on the blower.”
He smiled a little at her use of the colloquialism that he sometimes did, and others in the building from their service backgrounds, a smile that faded straightaway.
“Oh, the Times, what on Earth do they want, they’ve had their help from me already.”
“That’s just it, sir, they would like something else…”
“Come in here, woman,” he snapped irritably. The last thing he was looking for this morning was some kind of common chat through the intercom in endless riddles. As she passed through the double doors, M’s gaze went back to the open page of the Obituaries. It was yesterday’s paper, yet he had re-read it several times as if daring himself to change the words he alone had dictated to Moneypenny a few days ago. There was a somewhat vague picture of a young man in naval uniform and across the top of the article the simple words- CMDR JAMES BOND CMG RNVR. He had done his best to ignore his secretary’s sniffles the further he had dictated Bond’s obit’. For a moment his throat had tightened as he thought about the man he had sent out to Japan to convince their Secret Service to supply SIS with Soviet transmissions and codes they had captured. It seemed Bond had ended up being challenged by their man Tanaka to investigate the mysterious Doctor Shatterhand. Ultimately this had fantastically proven to be Ernst Stavro Blofeld, who had eight months ago killed Bond’s new bride Teresa. The details were yet to emerge but it seemed that in a fight to the death and the ensuring explosion of the castle, Bond was killed. Bond redeemed and killed…redeemed and killed.
“What is it, Miss Moneypenny you’re trying to tell me? I have a meeting with the PM in an hour.”
“Sir, the Times want some stories about Ja-about Commander Bond.”
“What kind?” he asked cautiously. M was no prude to know about Bond’s womanising, his taste for the good life and there was the whole BEDLAM business that had ended in so ghastly a manner.
“Wartime. They want to know what he did during the war and how…”
M leant back in his chair. Wartime stories. They were running their course by the early sixties. The war films had even changed in tone, he noticed, they were sceptical, critical and even desultory. The heroes were deeply flawed, sometimes outright cowardly –only that Alistair MacLean seemed to have the types of men in his stories that M could vaguely appraise and nod at. Bond’s wartime career was varied, imperilled at every step and made him the ‘00’ who had been M’s best man in the field. Much of it was secretive even now. Although, maybe the public could do with a decent war story. It would also serve to mark Bond in a way that he would long be remembered for perhaps.
“Inform the Times they shall get some help, most of the paperwork remains classified but we will do what we can,” M watched Moneypenny go and sighed. There was the chance that Bond was not dead of course and were that the case, M was sure he would be cursed soundly by the late 007.
He got up and closed his window sharply. For now he had a meeting with the Prime Minister to attend.


Last edited by Hilly KCMG on Tue Jun 19, 2018 10:21 pm; edited 2 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: James Bond- ON HIS MAJESTY'S SERVICE (1940)   Tue Jun 12, 2018 11:43 am

Bookmarked to read later! smile
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PostSubject: Re: James Bond- ON HIS MAJESTY'S SERVICE (1940)   Wed Jun 13, 2018 8:55 am

Bless you Fields, I might get tweaking on this story soon. So much needs reworking. I tended to write Bond in WWII as being just below agewise where he starts Casino Royale. Though the average age of Battle of Britain pilots was 19-21 and Guy Gibson was early twenties when he led the Dams Raid so an early twenties RN officer leading men behind the lines might just work.
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PostSubject: Re: James Bond- ON HIS MAJESTY'S SERVICE (1940)   Sun Jun 17, 2018 8:02 am

the tweaking was subtle, trying to find my feet on a story I wrote 10-12 years ago when I was a touch younger shall we say but ending up poring as I did, over Sebag-Montiefiore's Dunkirk book to make sure details were right.
So, here we are. Bond is a man in his early twenties, he's a lieutenant (something I'll have to tediously edit as I go through) and Admiral Hardy is the dynamo I remember him to become in the Bond-WWII series.

----

Chapter One
The Admiralty, London
24 May 1940


The naval officer hurrying out of Trafalgar Square Tube was hardly the first or the last to do so. The famous square though mainly empty had uniforms wherever the eye looked. Army, navy and some air force. He had a coat draped over one arm hiding the gold braids on that sleeve, his hair –hidden by his cap- was jet black and his eyes were a piercing blue. In his right hand he carried an attaché case. He passed the newspaper vendor shouting the headline plastered across his billboards.
EVACUATION OF TROOPS FROM DUNKIRK.
Admiralty Arch sat on the southeast corner of the square, in turn at the head of The Mall that led down to Buckingham Palace. The officer virtually ran under the archway then down some steps ignoring –or missing- the salutes of a junior officer. Ahead of him was a sandbagged entrance flanked by two soldiers. ‘Brownjobs’ the navy called the Army men. The sandbags not only went up the sides but over the protruding lip above the door. He went through just acknowledging the snapping of heels. Inside the grand foyer was a bustling hive of noise.
The country was suddenly in crisis, after six months of so-called ‘Bore War’ they had been stunned by German aggression. It had happened within weeks what with Denmark, then Norway where the Germans defeated a supposedly superior British force and then on May 10 the Blitzkrieg in the West.
The officer reached the desk where a pretty brown-haired Wren sat. She hung up her telephone and smiled sweetly.
“Can I help, lieutenant?”
It did not matter that the stripes were wavy thus denoting him as reserve, he was still an officer.
“I’m here to see Rear-Admiral Hardy, I’m late…blasted Tube.”
“Oh, dear. I know Hardy, he has moods that would rival Hitler’s!” the Wren plucked her receiver up and spoke into it after a second. “Hello, sir. This is front desk up top. A lieutenant…” she held a hand over the mouthpiece looking enquiringly up…
“Bond, James Bond.”
“…Commander James Bond, sir. To see…oh, right. Okay, sir.” She hung up. “If you wait a minute sir, someone will come to get you.” She had sounded sympathetic at the mention of Admiral Hardy whom Bond had heard of but knew little about. His mind went across the English Channel, to the unthinkable that was now unfolding, the evacuation of a whole army from the continent.
Bond stood back glancing at his watch. It was ten past nine and he been scheduled for nine. As he looked up a commander walked briskly towards him beaming. “Lieutenant Bond? Lieutenant-Commander Adams, Hardy’s number one…if you follow me.”
Adams was a young fellow –seemingly too young to hold the rank that he did. He had the air of someone above his station. He led Bond to a lift in the corridor next to the hall. The lift was incredibly small, both men were pressed shoulder-to-shoulder Bond’s case clasped to chest.
“Sorry, Bond. These things are positively Edwardian in nature. Small, uptight…”
“Indeed,” Bond was grateful that the journey into the bowels of the Admiralty was short. Already he had formed a less than favourable opinion of the slightly older officer.
It was down here that the navy was directed about the world. Though it was Dover –where Admiral Ramsay was based- that the evacuation in Dunkirk was being directed this was where the entire Royal Navy from Portsmouth to Malta, to Aden and Singapore, was controlled.  Following Adams, Bond noted the many cubicles, doors to offices and faint aroma of cigarettes until he reached the situation room that was by far one of the biggest rooms here. An office to one side, a huge wall map of the Atlantic, a plot table and other paraphernalia. There were dozens of men and women everywhere, most crawling around a chart showing Northern France from Normandy through to the Belgian frontier.
“Bond!” a booming voice almost stopped all conversation. Bond put down his case as Rear-Admiral Charles Hardy DSO RN approached. Slightly rotund, a thick beard and a reddish face came at Bond like a destroyer at full steam. “You’re fifteen minutes late.”
“Underground, sir.”
“Indeed,” Hardy gestured to the office and waited for Bond to go in ahead of him. The two took their seats with Adams hanging by the door. “Very good, Adams that’ll be all for now.”
“Yes, sir,” Adams swiftly departed closing the door behind him.
“Obsequious little blighter. Keen but very trying” Hardy nodded to Bond. “You may smoke if you wish. Welcome to the Naval Intelligence Division. We’re virtually part and parcel with the Operational Intelligence Centre which was on your calling card.”
Bond pulled his case from his tunic’s breast pocket eyeing the air vent in the top right corner of the office. On the wall behind Hardy was an obligatory portrait of His Majesty King George VI, a fresh one of Winston Churchill –new Prime Minister of but a few days- and one of Horatio Nelson. The two other walls showed various maps of various oceans. One showing Europe was not a favourable one what with red pins surrounding a small dot on the French Channel coast.
“Your record, however brief Bond, is quite impressive. Quick thinking, decisive and smart…I naturally like that in the men I command,” Hardy leant back in his chair. Bond exhaled waving a hand to expel the smoke. “Not too long out of King Alfred, the course sped up because of the war situation. Means the Andrew has a bunch of young types with dew on their chins and not much in between!”
Bond hid a smile, he liked Hardy immediately. The talk about his career so far was what it was. He had joined up the moment war was declared on September 3, 1939.
“Thank you, sir but may I ask why I am here?”
“Yes, you may and the answer is to do with what is happening in France right now. You see the Germans have now, indeed for a day or two, surrounded the BEF in Dunkirk. We’ve only just evacuated some from Calais and Boulogne with a fair few hundred if not thousand left behind. We have upwards of 350,000 left behind in that encirclement. We need to stall for time before Hitler sends his bloody tanks onto the beaches. This is where you come into the matter, Commander Bond. You’re to go into France and harass the enemy positions at the front sufficiently to hold them up. Nothing more than three days…that’s our calculations, three days is the best we can hope.”
Bond now leant back. The two men regarded each other as if from opposing ends of a field. Bond chose to lean forward stubbing his cigarette out on the desk wiping the ash onto the floor apologising briefly.
“Sir, this…”
“Is virtually impossible,” Hardy leant forward his chair creaking as he did so. “But you’re the best we can get.”
It made Bond hardly feel wanted but as far as he knew the country did not have any special forces to speak of. No one had expected the Hun to get this far in six weeks. Heck, in four years of the last war they barely got past Paris. As for him being the best, the self-deprecator in Bond wanted to say that the Royal Navy had indeed fallen on hard times!
“You’ll be leading a team…”
“Team, sir?”
“Yes…I’m sending you with a small group. Four men. One will be Adams.”
Bond barely knew the man but his throat tightened. He did not look forward to being in France with that man.
“Understood, sir.”
“Here are the brief details,” Hardy handed over a small folder. Thinly packed with foolscap sheets and some photos. “Your drop zone is a small town named Mint. Odd name if you ask me but I’m not French so don’t ask.”
Bond took the folder glancing at the front.
“Operation SCORPION…how apt.”
“Aptness does not come into Bond,” Hardy said dryly. He glanced away at the pictures on his wall and then said with a slight smile. “You could say you’re On His Majesty’s Service, his Secret Service at that. SCORPION is top secret and one of our hopes to ensure the success of DYNAMO. You’ll leave shortly for an airfield in Kent. Hopefully, you’ll be in France not long after that. The aerial situation is, I’m told, confused. We only have a few airfields within range of Dunkirk and the Luftwaffe have become quite the pest. Bond, you understand what is expected of you.”
It was not a question but Bond nodded. “I do, sir.”
“Good. Get going.”
Hardy watched Bond go, saluting as he went, and walked out into the situation room. He pushed the fist his right hand had become into the palm of his left hand. It was a great deal to expect of a young, inexperienced officer but from what Bond’s tutors had said, he would manage.
He just bloody well would have to!
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PostSubject: Re: James Bond- ON HIS MAJESTY'S SERVICE (1940)   Tue Jun 19, 2018 10:20 pm

Chapter Two

A RAF airfield in Kent
Afternoon of 24 May


Bond had been driven by one of Hardy’s drivers down to Kent at almost breakneck speed. Adams had been in the back trying to talk to Bond though Bond for his part opted to remain silent unless the driver spoke to him. He just could not bring himself to talk to the man properly. There was something off about Adams, first name Alex, that Bond found off putting.
The airfield was somewhere near Canterbury, salt-air was carried on the breeze from the channel. The area seemed quite tranquil, untouched by the chaos and horror unfolding just twenty miles away. Indeed, one was sure one could hear the faint rumbling of the German artillery as surely as thunder on the horizon. On the airfield sat three Avro Anson’s and an American C-47 Dakota. The Dakota was painted in the RAF mottled brown and green with no identifying letters or numbers.
Bond and Adams were met by a RAF man in battledress with short blond hair.
“Commander Bond? Flight Leader Woode, I’m the pilot taking you to France.”
Bond shook hands with him. “My team here?”
“If you mean the three waiting on the Dak’ then yes, sir. I guess they would be.”
“Right,” Bond nodded and walked off to the Dakota with the others following. Bond peered into the hatch at the aft of the plane seeing three men roughly in their mid-twenties and wearing dark clothing. “Harrison, Clint and Maxwell I presume?”
He waved them to remain seated as they had tried to clamber up. He pulled himself through the hatch with Adams following suit. “I’m Lieutenant Bond.”
Prompted by Bond, the tallest of the three held a hand up. “I’m Petty Officer Harrison sir, Mark Harrison. Explosives.”
“Hmm, and which ones Clint?” Bond asked.
The shortest of the trio sat in the middle with dark hair and a smooth face held a stubby hand up. “Walter Clint sir, Able Seaman. Everyman you might say.”
Bond chuckled. “And that leaves, Maxwell.”
“Sub-Lieutenant, sir,” the voice was clipped. His uniform had the wavy lines of the RNVR, like Bond, and he had a faint tone of defiance to his voice. “Wireless operative.”
“Gentlemen, I’m Bond as I say and this is Lieutenant-Commander Alex Adams. We’re dropping behind the frontline away from the salient that is forming around Dunkirk. We’ll do our bit to hold Jerry up. Woode, when we do we go?”
“Anytime you like, sir,” Woode smiled. “Though, my orders were just before sunset.”
Bond checked his watch. Sunset was about two hours from now. He was itching to go but Woode likely needed the darkness to help avoid the unwanted attention of the Luftwaffe. Good show. “Okay, we’ll wait.”
Bond leapt off the Dakota to head over to the control tower. Maxwell stroked his chin thoughtfully remarking aloud: “Bit young isn’t he?”
“Excellence knows no age, sir,” Harrison said in his heavy tone of voice.
“Quite,” said Adams archly before getting out of the Dak’ himself. Clint folded his arms. “Mr La-de-da is going to be trouble, bet my pension.”
“You’ll be lucky to see that,” joked Harrison.

**

An hour later the Dakota clawed into the air as the sun began to set heading due east. Bond sat in the co-pilot seat initially next to Woode.
“You opted to fly solo? Is that wise in this thing?”
“Oh, yes to both questions. The fewer the better. The Dak is a marvellous beast to fly, quite agile for something of its size. McDonnell really know how to build their crates.” Woode was looking to port out of his window then added: “Also, I was told that the fewer who knew about this the better. If one of us crashes this thing, that’s one person lost.”
“Quite,” Bond murmured. He glanced aft at the team. Three young men might be just that –young- but each had experience in their field. Harrison had fought for the Republican’s during the Spanish Civil War –not out of politics but for, as his file says, ‘common sense’ and was credited with blowing up four enemy held bridges in 1938. Harrison almost had not been allowed into the Army until someone high up pointed out that they needed someone who could blow bridges in the Army...and against the Germans. Harrison had been in Norway (and out) before the fiasco developed.
Then there was Clint. Explosives, guns...all weapons fell under his gaze. Like Harrison he had been in Norway but unlike Harrison he had been responsible for destroying a German unit near Narvik. Bond marvelled that one so short could do so much. And finally, Maxwell. Grammar school educated, joined the RNVR on outbreak of war last September, quitting his job as a barrister to do so. Could supposedly do the Times crossword in seconds flat. Bond shook his head. He did not read the Times.
“How long until we reach the DZ?”
“Half an hour at best, that’s unless we run into some German fighters.”
Bond nodded. The Germans were virtually everywhere now. Though Dunkirk held out, it held out as a thumb shaped perimeter. “Let’s hope we don’t then.”
The plan had them landing at Mint which was about thirty or so miles east of Dunkirk. Trouble is the Germans were barely ten but where they were landing was one of the few ‘tentacles’ of British held land.
Bond went aft and sat next to Harrison. The taller man was munching on a Hershey bar staring at Adams who was pale and looked as if he was about to bring his coffee up. Bond glanced at Harrison. “You seem to like this flying business.”
“No skin off my nose, commander.”
“Your file says you were in Spain...how did that come about?”
Harrison shrugged. “I was in a factory, my Dad’s...kept hearing about the Fascists kicking ten bells out of the Republican’s. I did some brief reading...the Republican’s were up against it. No one, and that went double for Britain, France and the rest, wanted to know so I went about volunteering. Many were Bolshies but I’m not one, sir...but they let me in after someone said they needed all the hands they could get and so I went. Hot and cold...both climates in Spain are killers.”
“You seem quite...”
“Cold, sir? Maybe but on my first day in the field I saw four lads blown to bits by a German bomber and all they had were spears...can you imagine...spears!” Harrison shook his head angrily. “A bomber against spears...”
Bond tapped Harrison on the arm. “It’s not fair, no but we’re going to...”
“Sir, no need to say anything more.”
“Right.”
After a while Woode’s voice carried into the hold.
“DZ in five!”
“Hook up!” shouted Bond. He stood attaching his clip to the railing lining the hold’s ceiling. He headed to the hatch opening it. The wind tore at him but desisted after a brief moment. A light flashed red by the door. It flashed green but they could not jump...on-off, on-off it flashed. Bond tasted bile in his throat, he was surprised to feel his heart beating so violently against his chest, could feel his left hand holding the hook go cold and clammy. He was about to jump into German occupied France –the phrase alone seemed unreal. Bond realised he was scared. All that bravado growing up came down to this moment.
Then it went solid green, Bond caught a glimpse of Woode jerking a thumb up in a good luck way. Bond tapped Harrison.
“Go!”
He repeated this three more times before jumping himself.
Soon all he heard was the air whistling past his ears and so James Bond went to war.

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