Teen WWII soldier recruited for top secret mission inspired James Bond story

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A World War II hero was a member of the undercover team sent to find the Nazi nuclear bomb that eventually inspired a James Bond novel.

Peter Lyons said Ian Fleming — the author of the James Bond series who worked for Great Britain’s Naval Intelligence Divison during the war — recruited him to join the top-secret assignment when he was just a teenager.

Lyons, who was called to service almost immediately after signing up for the war in 1943, was only 19 when Fleming asked him to join the 30th Assault Unit.

The undercover operation, which eventually became the basis of Fleming’s 1955 novel “Moonraker,” was tasked with finding the radioactive material the Nazis were gathering inside a German factory.

Thomas Temple SWNS.com

“We were sent to Kiel to find Uranium that we thought was being used for a nuclear bomb,” Lyons told SWNS. “but the ships that contained it managed to get away a few days before we got there.”

Even though the three-person team didn’t seize the material, the mission led to the capture of several German rocket scientists, including Hellmuth Walter, who was head of a torpedo-manufacturing factory.

“We got there as the Russians were also closing in,” said Lyons. “We captured all of the top people from the factories and brought them back to Britain and sent the top rocket scientist to America.” Hellmuth and a number of other factory scientists and engineers were eventually sent to work for the UK’s Royal Navy.

In Fleming’s novel, Bond goes undercover to work on a missile that’s supposed to defend England. However, the engineer behind the missile, Hugo Drax, is an ex-Nazi who’s working for the Soviets and is actually developing a nuclear rocket to drop on London. Drax’s henchman is named Dr. Walter.

“There are a number of similarities between parts of the Bond novel and the missions that we were sent on,” Lyons said.

“Moonraker” was turned into a movie in 1979 and starred Sir Roger Moore as James Bond.

Lyons, who’s believed to be the last survivor of the 30th Assault Unit, lives with his wife of 69 years in Lancashire, UK–about four and half hours north of London. The veteran has two children, six grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren – he’s received numerous medals for his service in the decades since his real-life Bond operation.



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