top of page


JAMES BOND FANS may enjoy the bizarrely true connection between the MacLean family and Ian Flemings James Bond.

A formative moment for the revelation of connection between Sir Fitzroy MacLean and the James Bond character, came into light when the auctioneers LYON & TURNBALL researched the origin of a rare first edition of CASINO ROYALE among a collection of Ian Fleming first edition novels. This occurred a very long time ago. In today's money, we are talking hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Sir Fitzroy '007' Macleans James Bond books sell

for £26,000

One the main highlights of the recent Rare Books, Maps, Manuscripts & Photographs sale in September was a collection of Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels. Sold for £26,000, the collection included a first edition, first issue of Casino Royale, first editions of Moonraker, Diamonds are forever, For your eyes only, The spy who loved me, You only live twice, and Octopussy, second impressions of Live and let die and Dr No, and a fourth impression of From Russia with love.

This is the original photo of the items for auction.

auctioneers notes:

Original Pre-Sale Press Release

The novels, valued at £20,000, will be sold in our Book sale on the 3rd September 2008 in Edinburgh. They were owned by the late Sir Fitzroy Maclean. A former diplomat, soldier and Conservative MP, he was widely believed to have been the role model for Fleming’s James Bond. He had become friends with the author Ian Fleming before the war and, during the conflict, their paths crossed on several occasions. Sir Fitzroy was most famous for his secret wartime mission into Nazi-occupied Yugoslavia, when he was parachuted in to help Tito, leader of the partisans. Sir Charles McLean, son of Fitzroy said: “The books have been in my father’s library since he died in 1996, and the family decided they should be sold so that they can be treasured by a collector of Ian Fleming’s works. They gave my father much pleasure and I hope they will bring someone else the same”. Born in 1908, Ian Fleming spent his early years at Eton, moving onto to the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst. In 1931 he joined Reuters but it was during World War II that Fleming began to gather his insider knowledge of secret operations as personal assistant to the Director of Naval Intelligence at the Admiralty. After the war Fleming began to develop his Bond stories from his house, Goldeneye, in Jamaica. Casino Royale, the first Bond volume, was published in 1953. Over the next decade, until Fleming’s death in 1964, over 40 million copies of Bond’s adventures were sold – truly putting James Bond on the map as one of the 20th century’s greatest fictional icons.

Simon Vickers, Book Specialist at Lyon & Turnbull, said: “Various models have been suggested as the prototype for modern fiction's most famous hero, and of them all Sir Fitzroy Maclean - diplomat, war hero, traveller, clan chieftain and outstanding public servant - is one of the most plausible.”

Maclean, like Fleming, went to Eton College and came from an Anglo-Scottish background. In 1935 Maclean was Third Secretary at the British embassy at Paris before moving to the British embassy at Moscow, where he witnessed the Soviet show trials which Fleming was then covering for Reuters news agency. Travelling with and without permits through Central Asia in the 1930's, as he described in his classic memoir; ‘Eastern Approaches’, the Soviets naturally assumed Fitzroy was a spy. Although Fitzroy later denied being a spy in the early 1950's, when the Cold War was at its height, he was asked by Stewart Menzies, head of SIS, to do a recce to gather more information about a possible Soviet invasion of Turkey via the Caucasus. He did so, being debriefed on his return by the double-agent Kim Philby - a classic Bond scenario! There were other incidents among Fitzroy's wartime exploits that were straight out of James Bond. One was the successful kidnapping at gunpoint of the Persian collaborator with the Nazis, General Zahidi. Another episode had murkier associations. In 1943 Fitzroy was due to leave Cairo in a Liberator plane bound for London. At the last minute he received instructions to delay his departure. The Liberator mysteriously crashed into the sea off Gibraltar, killing all passengers. Among them was General Sikorski, leader of the Polish government-in-exile. Several theories have been put forward to explain this incident, including the infamous accusation that Churchill was responsible, but Fitzroy privately suspected Philby, who was in the Spanish section of MI6 at the time. Even though Maclean may not have thought of himself as a spy, he certainly had connections with British intelligence, as well as an almost legendary background with daring exploits as Sir Winston Churchill's personal envoy to Tito behind enemy lines - something that Fleming, working in Naval Intelligence in the Admiralty, could only aspire to.




Pictured here with his father Joseph Connery and Euphemia (formerly McLean) and the family dog in their home at 176 Fountainbridge.That's right, none other than the first actor to play James Bond himself, the late, great Sir Sean Connery was very proud of his MacLean heritage. The film ENTRAPMENT was filmed at Duart Castle.

Note that the name MACLEAN is the SCOTTISH form.

MCLEAN (without the A) is the IRISH form of the name.

There are some interesting facts us about MacLean's, the heroism, the brilliance, the antics AND of course, the stupidity. All that learning accumulated into the MacLean family motto which is a commitment that every MacLean has made to pursue VIRTUE MINE HONOUR -

My virtue is my honour.

Do the right thing.

That creed is tattooed on my body for life and is written on my soul forever. You aren't just born a MacLean, you make a choice to commit yourself to pursue virtue as YOUR honour.

MacLean's of Duart officially originate from our spiritual home at Duart Castle on the ISLE OF MULL, SCOTLAND.

This link talks about Duart as our spiritual home.


So how did MacLeans go

from shepherds to spies?

(Don't say that too quickly in Scottish accent or it comes out as shepherds pies.)


MacLean's first learned the art of stealth in the dark of night online, sneaking across paddocks to snuggle neighbours daughters, picking up a sheep or two on the way. In this worrisome tale, Lachlan kidnaps his future father in law to convince him to let him marry his daughter. (Not a good idea!)

"The first recorded mention of the Macleans of Duart is in a papal dispensation of 1367 which allowed their Chief Lachlan Lubanach Maclean to marry the daughter of the Lord of the Isles, Mary Macdonald. This it is said, was a love match, and her father was persuaded to allow it only after he had been kidnapped by Lachlan (an incident in which the Chief of the Mackinnons was killed). The Macdonalds went on to give the Mackinnon lands as a dowry and thus the Macleans came to own much of Mull. Lachlan then built the keep that stands today though the great curtain walls were probably of the previous century.

True story!

MacLean antics cuddling lasses and sheep got them in a lot of trouble. Bad vibes went down with the McDonalds and probably deservedly, resulted in the eventual loss of the Duart castle to the Campbells. Which was later recovered in 1911 and is now being restored.

MacLean's mainly quarrelled with;




This links talks about some of the quarrels.

Clearly we are all over it, because I use Campbells Soups and have eaten at McDonalds. This speaks to the hope that any of us can build a bridge from the past to the present and get over it in the future. Hidden moral of that story? Ask permission first (Don't upset the McDonalds). Don't quarrel unnecessarily out of pride (Don't upset the Campbells). Never stand a woman that you married on a rock (Lachlan MacLean did that and got unalived). Learn to forgive, and above all, virtue is your honour.

MacLean's learned this the hard way.

So that you don't have to!

31 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page