The Blue Collar Classicist

In May of 1956, author and weapons expert Geoffrey Boothroyd of Blackpool, wrote to author Ian Fleming with some displeasure regarding Bond’s choice of the .25 caliber Beretta 418. He wrote, 

"I have, by now, got rather fond of Mr. James Bond. I like most of the things about him, with the exception of his rather deplorable taste in firearms. In particular, I dislike a man who comes into contact with all sorts of formidable people using a .25 Beretta. This sort of gun is really a lady’s gun, and not a really nice lady at that. If Mr. Bond has to use a light gun he would be better off with a .22 rim fire; the lead bullet would cause more shocking effect than the jacketed type of the .25."

Fleming could have dismissed Mr. Boothroyds letter as a fan critique, but a man of genuine class looks to improve himself through the experience and insight of others. Bond not only responded to Boothroyd, he politely and earnestly requested more recommendations from the weapons expert from Blackpool and offered him remuneration for his efforts. Many letters were passed between them. 

Fleming’s next Bond novel featured Boothroyd’s suggested sidearm, the Smith & Wesson lightweight .38. Boothroyd had suggested the weapon as a compromise to Fleming’s desire for ability to conceal and Boothroyd’s insistence on stopping power. Boothroyd gave his own personal S&W .38 to Richard Chooping to paint the illustration for this novel, “From Russia With Love,” (pictured above). For future weapon choices, Fleming and Boothroyd agreed that the Walther PPK was slick and powerful enough for a spy like Bond. 

Their letters are respectful and genuine. They became good friends in their correspondence. 

When Fleming wrote his most famous Bond novel, he paid special homage to his friend, the armorer of 007. The Quartermaster in both the book and the first Bond film was named after the man Boothroyd. 

Major Geoffrey Boothroyd, aka- “Q”

Here’s to good friends.