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Major Valentine Fleming

Major Valentine Fleming

Male 1882 - 1917  (35 years)

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  • Name Valentine Fleming 
    Title Major 
    Birth 1882  Newport, Fife, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Death 20 Mar 1917  Picardie, France Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • Major Valentine Fleming DSO (17 February 1882 – 20 May 1917) was a British Conservative Member of Parliament who was killed in World War I. He was the father of authors Peter Fleming and Ian Fleming who created the James Bond character.

      Early years
      Born in Newport-on-Tay, Fife, Fleming was the son of Sarah (née Hindmarsh) and Robert Fleming, a wealthy Scottish banker and founder of the merchant bank, Robert Fleming & Co. Fleming was educated at Eton College and Magdalen College, Oxford. He married Evelyn Beatrice Sainte Croix Rose in London on 15 February 1906. Together they had four sons; adventurer and travel writer Peter (father of actress Lucy Fleming), novelist Ian (author of the James Bond novels), Richard (whose son is billionaire Adam Fleming), and Michael.

      From 1906 to 1911, the family lived at Braziers Park in Ipsden, Oxfordshire. On his election to parliament, they moved to Pitt House on Hampstead Heath in 1910. He was a Member of Parliament for Henley from 1910 to 1917. In 1914 they built a house at Arnisdale, near Kyle of Lochalsh in the Scottish Highlands.

      Military service
      At the outbreak of World War I Valentine was a Captain in 'C' Squadron, Queen's Own Oxfordshire Hussars, a yeomanry regiment, having received his commission on 30 June 1908. After a month of training the regiment was sent to France on 22 September 1914.

      He wrote a "brisk and breezy account" to a fellow officer in England in 1914 about the start of the war. Initially the regiment had little more than "a tour of the principal French watering places" followed by a fortnight hanging about Dunkirk and Saint-Omer ("Very dull"), but then on 30 October were told by General de Lisle to:

      occupy a line of trenches on the right of Messines. This was disagreeable as projectiles of every variety were exploding with a disquieting regularity all over the ground of our advance. .... Off we went, over some very holding ground, three squadrons in a succession of rushes in extended lines, the regularity of which was still disturbed by the wire! (Never move without nippers on the Sam Browne belt!). Luckliy we had no man hit – I can’t think why – which put some heart into the men .... we began to wonder how to fix the bloody bayonets with which we had been issued two days previously. .... About 4.30 am they were relieved and marched back about two miles to get breakfast, v. hungry and sleepy . (But then De Lisle told them that the line had been broken, so) with empty bellies we become plodding up the usual wire-enclosed ploughed fields on the left of Messines, being pooped at by very high and wild rifle fire .... It was a very trying day for the men, they were d—-d hungry. (The line held, just; but Messines and its Ridge were taken, see Battle of Messines and First Battle of Ypres).
      He also wrote to a close friend Winston Churchill in 1914 (the following is an excerpt):

      Imagine a broad belt [of land], ten miles or so in width, stretching from the Channel to the German frontier near Basle, which is positively littered with the bodies of men…in which farms, villages, and cottages are shapeless heaps of blackened masonry; in which fields, roads and trees are pitted and torn and twisted by [artillery] shells...
      Fleming was promoted to Major on 2 November 1914 and became the commanding officer of 'C' Squadron. He was appointed the second-in-command of the regiment in January 1916.

      Fleming was killed by German shellfire at Gillemont Farm, near Épehy, Somme, France on 20 May 1917. For his service, Valentine was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Order on 4 June 1917, having been previously twice mentioned in dispatches.

      Fleming is buried at Templeux-le-Guérard British Cemetery, near the village of Templeux-le-Guérard. Fleming is commemorated on Panel 8 of the Parliamentary War Memorial in Westminster Hall, one of 22 MPs that died during World War I to be named on that memorial. Fleming is one of 19 MPs who fell in the war who are commemorated by heraldic shields in the Commons Chamber. A further act of commemoration came with the unveiling in 1932 of a manuscript-style illuminated book of remembrance for the House of Commons, which includes a short biographical account of the life and death of Fleming.

      Fleming's obituary in The Times was written by Churchill.

      In 1914, shortly before leaving England to fight in France, Valentine signed a will that left Pitt House and his effects to his wife Evelyn, most of his estate was left in trust to benefit their four sons and their future families. His wife Evelyn would have a generous income from the trust unless she remarried, in which case she would receive a reduced amount of £3000 per annum. Evelyn never remarried and felt it was a "bad will".
    Person ID I886  Gibbs Family Tree
    Last Modified 27 Apr 2018 

    Family Evelyn Beatrice Sainte Croix Rose,   b. 10 Jan 1885, St Mary Abbots Church, Kensington, London Find all individuals with events at this locationd. 27 Jul 1964, The Hotel Metropole, Kings Road, Brighton, Sussex Find all individuals with events at this location (Age 79 years) 
    Marriage 15 Feb 1906  St George Hanover Square, London Find all individuals with events at this location 
    +1. Captain Michael Valentine Paul Fleming,   b. 1913   d. 1 Oct 1940, Dunkirk, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France Find all individuals with events at this location (Age 27 years)
    +2. Ian Lancaster Fleming,   b. 23 May 1908, Mayfair, London, England Find all individuals with events at this locationd. 12 Aug 1964, Canterbury, Kent Find all individuals with events at this location (Age 56 years)
     3. Robert Peter Fleming,   b. 31 May 1907, London Find all individuals with events at this locationd. 18 Aug 1971, Black Mount, Argyll, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location (Age 64 years)
    +4. Richard Evelyn Fleming,   b. Apr 1911, St George Hanover Square, London Find all individuals with events at this locationd. 14 Aug 1977 (Age 66 years)
    Family ID F381  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart
    Last Modified 16 Jan 2018 

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBirth - 1882 - Newport, Fife, Scotland Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsMarriage - 15 Feb 1906 - St George Hanover Square, London Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDeath - 20 Mar 1917 - Picardie, France Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth 

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