By Jenna Leifso, Archivist
Last week we looked at whether James Bond was named after someone buried in Maitland Cemetery, today we are going to determine if Hollywood royalty came to No. 31 Air Navigation School (Port Albert).
Myth #2: According to a story told in the book The Story of Port Albert 175 Years one lucky Wireless Operator, while on leave, managed to fit in a trip to Hollywood. While he was there, he got married to the daughter of Louis B. Mayer “of M.G.M. fame”. As the story goes, “[h]e not only returned with a beautiful wife but a limo to match. Married persons were allowed to live off the base so not a lot more was seen of him.”
The Facts: Louis B. Mayer did have two daughters, Edith and Irene, however, it would have been impossible for the Wireless Operator in question to marry one of them because they were both already hitched! Edith married William Goetz in 1930 and Irene was married to Producer David O. Selznick. Around the time of WWII, William Goetz was the vice president of 20th Century Fox and David O. Selznick was a successful film producer and executive.
It’s possible that the Wireless Operator married another famous studio executive’s daughter but I haven’t come across any mention of the nuptials in the base’s various newsletters.
By Jenna Leifso, Archivist
There are a lot of stories shared about the BCATP schools in Huron County, some are true, others are not. Over the next few days we’re going to dispel two myths that involve the rich and famous.
Myth #1: Ian Fleming, creator of the James Bond series, trained at either No. 12 Elementary Flying Training School (Sky Harbour) or No. 31 Air Navigation School (Port Albert). While he was wandering around the Maitland Cemetery, located just outside of Goderich, he came across a grave marker with the name “James Bond”. After seeing the grave stone, Mr. Fleming was inspired to name the main character of the successful spy series after Huron County resident.
The Facts: There is actually a James Bond buried in the Maitland Cemetery. His grave marker is near the memorial stone for the unidentified seamen who died in the Great Storm of 1913. James Bond was born in 1859 and died in 1931. However, there is no evidence that Ian Fleming ever attended a WWII training school in Huron County. In the Second World War, Fleming was in the Royal Navy, the personal assistant to the Director of Naval Intelligence. He would have no reason to train as a pilot at No. 12 EFTS or to learn navigation at No. 31 ANS. Mr. Fleming would have no reason to be in Huron County, let alone have the time to take a tour of Maitland Cemetery.
James Bond was actually named after an ornithologist from Philadelphia. According to Mr. Bond’s obituary in the New York Times, Fleming thought that the name was, “brief, unromantic, Anglo-Saxon and yet very masculine… just what i needed…”.
Next week: Louis B. Mayer’s connection to No. 31 Air Navigation School (Port Albert).