Peter Fleming

From Academic Kids

This article is about Peter Fleming the writer. For information on the tennis player of the same name, see Peter Fleming (tennis player).


Peter Fleming (19071971) was a British adventurer and travel writer.

Contents

Biography

His fame has now been almost completely eclipsed by that of his younger brother, Ian Fleming, author of the James Bond books, although during his lifetime he was generally reputed to be the more intelligent of the two.

The Fleming brothers were two of the four sons of the barrister and MP Valentine Fleming who was killed in action in 1917, having served as MP for Henley from 1910. His widow Eve later had a daughter by the painter Augustus John; this child was the cellist Amaryllis Fleming who died unmarried.

Peter Fleming was educated at Eton College and then at Christ Church, Oxford. While at Eton, he was the editor of the Eton College Chronicle, and the Peter Fleming Owl is still awarded every year to the best contributor to the Chronicle.

In 1935, he married the actress Celia Johnson (18 December 1908- 26 April 1982), best known for her role in the film Brief Encounter. Celia Johnson was later granted a CBE and finally a DBE (1981) (thus being alternatively known professionally as Dame Celia Johnson), even though her theatrical roles and interest had been severely limited by the birth and raising of three children and other dependents.

During World War II he served with the Grenadier Guards, later Peter and his brother Ian were commissioned by Colin Gubbins to help establish the Auxiliary Units. This was to be the "secret army" of civilian volunteers that would fight on, behind enemy lines, in the event of a German invasion of Britain. He received an OBE in 1945 for his services.

After the War, Peter Fleming retired to squiredom at Nettlebed in Oxfordshire, and published the occasional book, but his fame was rapidly surpassed by his younger brother Ian Fleming (1908-1964) who began publishing the James Bond novels in the 1950s. Today, Peter Fleming is known more for the James Bond connection than for his own work.

Family

Peter and Celia Fleming remained married until his death in 1971, while on a shooting expedition in Argyll, Scotland. They had three children:

  • Nicholas "Nichol" Fleming (1939- summer 1996) deposited Peter Fleming's papers for public access at the University of Reading in 1975. These include several unpublished works, as well as the manuscripts of several of his books that are now out of print.
  • Kate Fleming (b. 1946) is now Kate Grimond, wife of John Grimond, a son of the late British Liberal Party leader Jo Grimond (later Lord Grimond, grandson maternally of Violet, Baroness Bonham-Carter, herself daughter of British Prime Minister, H.H. Asquith). They have three children. John Grimond is foreign editor of the British newsmagazine The Economist. Kate is co-owner since the late 1990s of the Ian Fleming estate, with her sister Lucy.
  • Lucy Fleming (b. 1947), now Lucy Williams, is an actress in her own right. In the 1970s she starred as Jenny in the BBC's apocalyptic fiction series Survivors. She was first married in 1971 to Joseph "Joe" Laycock, the son of a family friend, by whom she had several children. The marriage was dissolved in the early 1980s, after a series of family tragedies. She then married the actor and writer Simon Williams (who has two children, both actors, by a previous marriage).

Peter's younger brother Ian Fleming died in 1964 of heart failure. Ian Fleming apparently appointed his elder brother as a literary executor. His only son died unmarried, and he was reportedly separated from his wife at the time of his death.

Other Connections

Peter Fleming was the godfather of the British author and journalist Duff Hart-Davis, who wrote up Fleming's life as Peter Fleming: A Biography, published in 1974.

Quotes

"São Paulo is like Reading, only much farther away"Brazilian Adventure

Bibliography

Peter was a special correspondent for The Times, and also wrote a series of books on his travels around the world. Titles include:

Sources

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