Ian Fleming and Operation Golden Eye

Keeping Spain out of World War II

Mark Simmons

The story of Operation Golden Eye and Ian Fleming's role in the scheme to keep Spain and Portugal out of WWII.
Date Published :
August 2022
Publisher :
Illustration :
22 b/w photos, 6 maps
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Hardback
ISBN : 9781612006857
Pages : 256
Dimensions : 9 X 6 inches
Stock Status : In stock
Binding. : Paperback
ISBN : 9781636242194
Pages : 216
Dimensions : 9 X 6 inches
Stock Status : In stock
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This book tells the story of the various Allied operations and schemes instigated to keep Spain and Portugal out of WWII, which included the widespread bribery of high ranking Spanish officials and the duplicity of Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, head of the Abwehr.

Ian Fleming and Alan Hillgarth were the architects of Operation Golden Eye, the sabotage and disruption scheme that would be put in place had Germany invaded Spain. Fleming visited the Iberian Peninsula and Tangiers several times during the war, arguably his greatest achievement in WWII and the closest he came to being a real secret agent. It was these visits which supplied much of the background material for his fiction - Fleming even called his home on Jamaica where he created 007 'Goldeneye.'

The book begins with Hitler's dilemma about which way to move and his meeting with Francisco Franco at Hendaye in October 1940, a major turning point in the war when an alliance between Germany and Spain seemed possible. Simmons explores the British reaction to this, with Operation Tracer being created by Admiral Godfrey, head of Naval Intelligence. This was a plan to leave a listening and observation post buried in the Rock of Gibraltar should it have fallen to the Germans. A chapter is also devoted to Portugal – the SIS and SOE operations there and the vital Wolfram wars. Operation Golden Eye was eventually put on standby in 1943 as the risk of the Nazis occupying Spain was much reduced. Simmons consulted Foreign Office, SOE, CIA and OKW files when writing this book.

About The Author

Mark Simmons comes from a family with a long tradition of service in the Royal Navy and Royal Marines and in the 1970s he served in the Royal Marines. He has written 200 feature articles for publications in the UK and USA on naval/military, motoring and travel subjects, as well as four non-fiction books and five novels.


"Ian Fleming and Operation Golden Eye is an enjoyable read chock full of great details."

- Benjamin Welton, New York Journal of Books

For the historian, those who have seen the film ‘A Bridge Too Far’ and anyone planning a trip to the battlefields and landing sites of Arnhem and its environs, this will make an excellent guidebook.

- Classic Military Vehicle

"'Ian Fleming and Operation Golden Eye' goes into great detail as to the efforts of the British to keep Spain neutral."

- John Purvis

"Detailed [...] readers with a deep interest in WWII will find this rewarding."

- Publishers Weekly

“Simmons gives us an outline history of British intelligence in both world wars, glimpses at the actions and thinking of scores of important actors, such as Winston Churchill, Francisco Franco, and Wilhelm Canaris, and accounts, often in some detail, of numerous specific schemes, double crosses, commando raids, and more. In the process, Simmons also explains the influence of many of these persons and events on the “life” and adventures of Fleming’s hero, James Bond. A good read for anyone with an interest in the Second World War, covert operations, or the Bond series.”

- The NYMAS Review

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