From The Wall Street Journal:
In 1964, a British diplomat arrived in the capital [of Poland], then vanished, thwarting the minders ordered to shadow his every movement. He was next seen snooping around a military base along the border of the Soviet Union. Dark-haired and inconspicuous, the suspected agent had all the makings of a discreet operative except for one glaring giveaway.
His name was Bond. James Bond.
The file, since declassified and recently posted on social media, has prompted a debate among Polish historians and the general public over whether the now-deceased Mr. Bond—who was officially an embassy secretary—was a spy. If not, why would a secretary be sneaking up to military bases, before later disappearing from Polish soil? If so, what kind of spy keeps the name James Bond?
By 1964, the fictional James Bond had already been around for at least a decade. As such, some of the experts quoted in the article (which I somehow read, paywall-free, through Apple News) suspect he was a decoy, or a PsyOp — an actual secretary, who happened to have the name James Bond, sent on international missions with the specific intent of fucking with people, thus giving cover for actual secret agents doing actual secret agent things.
Also, he reportedly went by "Jim," not "James." And that's not the only place where their stories diverged:
Unlike 007 who was a product of Britain's elite boarding school system, Jim Bond was the son of a gamekeeper in Devon, a rural corner of southern England.
"He wasn't suave," recalls his brother in-law Keith Tacchi, who rarely heard Mr. Bond discuss his assignment. "Jim was an orders man, he joined the army and he played it by the book," said Mr. Tacchi.
"He used to smoke a pipe, had a fisherman's cap. He was a totally laid-back person. He had one passion in life, which was golf, which he wasn't very good at," said Mr. Tacchi.
Polish spies taking notes on his every movement saw a different man. Mr. Bond was very careful, liked to drink, and showed an interest in women, they wrote in his secret file. His family says he wasn't a womanizer.
Perhaps most sacrilegiously, Jim was reportedly a beer drinker, with little interest in martinis.
Curiously, Krystyna Skarbek, the woman who was believed by some to be the inspiration for "Bond Girls" including Tatiana Romanova and Vesper Lynd, was also from Poland, where these James Bond documents were found. However, she passed away in 1952, "was stabbed to death in the cheap London hotel where she was living by an Irish ship's steward, Dennis Muldowney, who had become obsessed with her," according to The Guardian. So she certainly would not have crossed paths with ol' Flatcap Jim Bond, the swingin' 60s secretary.
Declassified Files Reveal a Possible Spy in Poland—Named James Bond [Drew Hinshaw and Max Colchester / The Wall Street Journal]
Image: Glyn Lowe / Wikimedia Commons (CC 2.0)