|Peter Fleming, National Gallery (1935, Howard Coster)|
Passed away this day in 1971
Brother of Ian Fleming
Ian Fleming was not the only writer in the Fleming family. Robert Peter Fleming was born May 31, 1907, just shy of a year older than Ian. Unlike his younger brother, Peter started writing early. While attending Eton College, he edited his school’s newspaper the Eton College Chronicle. Afterwards, Peter attended Christ Church, Oxford and graduated with a degree in English.
“Exploring and sporting expedition, under experienced guidance, leaving England June to explore rivers central Brazil, if possible ascertain fate Colonel Percy Fawcett…” so an advertisement went in the personal column of The Times in April 1932. Peter was up for adventure so he signed on, but during the leg of the expedition that led into the interior of Brazil, conflicts arose between Fleming and a “Major Pingle” according to his writings. Fleming and school chum broke off from the main expedition and continued their own search for Fawcett (he had disappeared around 1925 when he was trying to find lost city of El Dorado). Progress was slow and hampered by misfortune, so eventually Fleming and group gave up and return to Belem before going back to England in November 1932. Fleming wrote about his adventures in his book titled Brazilian Adventure (1933).
Fleming was soon off to Peking via Moscow and the Trans-Siberian Railway. He was a correspondent for The Times and One’s Company (1934) culminated his day-to-day experiences. He followed this up with News from Tartary (1936). His two Asia travel books were combined into Travels in Tartary: One’s Company and News from Tartary (1941), which was published by Jonathan Cape (who published Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels). Ian Fleming would also write a travelogue as well: Thrilling Cities (1963) gathers Fleming’s experiences and impressions of major cities around the world.
Soon war called the Fleming brothers. Like Ian, Peter was commissioned by Colin Gubbins to establish and lead secret units of volunteers to fight if England was attacked. Peter later headed up D Division in India. For his service, he received the Order of the Cloud and Banner (China) and an OBE (England).
Fleming married an actress Celia Johnson in 1935 and they had three children. Their children followed in their parents’ footsteps. Nichol Fleming became a writer and provided public access to his father’s papers through the University of Reading. Katherine “Kate” (nee Fleming) Grimond became a writer and publisher. Lucy (nee Fleming) Williams became an actress.
After Ian’s death, Peter became a board member for Gildrose Ltd, the company that Ian purchased to hold his literary rights. This company would eventually become Ian Fleming Productions. Peter also tried to become a father figure to Ian’s son Caspar, who sadly took his own life years later.
Peter’s legacy include The Peter Fleming Award that is given out by the Royal Geographic Society to further geographical research, and The Peter Fleming Owl is awarded each year to the best contributor to the Eton College Chronicle. He wrote four novels (one unfinished), two short stories and several non-fiction stories/books about his travels and wartime pursuits.
© Copyright. Michele Brittany. 2011 - 2015. All rights reserved. All text, graphics, and photos are protected by US and International Copyright Laws, and may not be copied, reprinted, published, translated, hosted, or otherwise distributed by any means without written permission.