James Bond at Bletchley Park On January 8th 2008
The world's most celebrated secret agent will be the theme for a new stamp issue. Less known is how Bond's creator Ian Fleming drew inspiration from his wartime work linked to Bletchley Park, Britain's top-secret code breaking base. "Operation Ruthless" was one such plot to capture the "Enigma" codes by shooting down a German bomber and replacing the crew before they were rescued, a very "Bond" style storyline.
To carry the new stamps, Britain's secret little post office at Bletchley Park is issuing a first day cover. The design is based on the original Fleming documents detailing "Operation Ruthless". Designer George Thompson has then created what might have been the book jacket if Ian Fleming had turned it into a Bond Story. The complete stamp issue will be hand applied and cancelled for their first day of issue with a unique postmark. This features the 007 designation and a Walther PPK. It will be a very rare and special piece of Bond memorabilia. On the rear of the cover will be iconography linking Ian Fleming, James Bond and Bletchley Park. Details of "Operation Ruthless" will also be included. A limited edition of just 1000 is planned. Issue price is £15 plus £1.50 p & p for UK addresses. Like most Bletchley Park Post Office covers post issue values will rise rapidly. The cover will be released on January 8th 2008. It can only be obtained direct from BPPO, The Mansion, Bletchley Park, Milton Keynes, MK3 6EB, or the web site at www.bletchleycovers.com. Look in the cover gallery under Bletchley Park. Current demand suggests that the first day cover could sell out before its release date so advance ordering is recommended.
A special launch event will take place in early January to start the Ian Fleming Centenary Year at Bletchley Park. Others will follow with a major event over the August Bank Holiday. These will show how much the real life undercover activities of Bletchley Park influenced the creation of the James Bond 007. For instance the Lektor machine in From Russia from Love being based on the Enigma machine.