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DVD Smith
1283417.  Sun May 06, 2018 9:12 am Reply with quote

The James Bond character Major Boothroyd, who appeared in the novel Dr. No and served as an indirect inspiration for the character Q in the films, was named after a Bond fan who had sent Fleming a letter about what type of gun Bond should be using, and who Fleming later helped exonerate from a triple-murder.

Geoffrey Boothroyd was a British firearms expert and fan of the James Bond books, although he expressed disgust with Bond’s choice of gun and holster, and wrote a letter to Ian Fleming to suggest alternatives. Fleming welcomed his advice, and after a bit of debate they settled on giving Bond a Walther PPK instead of a Beretta, in a later novel, Dr. No. Here, Bond reluctantly receives his new gun from MI6 armourer “Major Boothroyd” – Fleming bestowing the rank on Boothroyd, who held no such rank in real life.

Boothroyd and Fleming became regular correspondents, with Fleming dubbing Boothroyd "James Bond's official armourer". Boothroyd went on to serve as consultant on the film version of Dr. No (including the same scene where Bond exchanges his weapon) and on the posthumous novel The Man with the Golden Gun.

In 1956, Boothroyd was a suspect in a triple-murder in Glasgow, as he possessed the same model of Smith & Wesson revolver as used in the murder. He was found innocent after the police were shown a telegram from Fleming, showing that Fleming had borrowed Boothroyd’s revolver to use for the cover of his new book, From Russia With Love.

You can see a 1964 documentary featuring Boothroyd discussing his guns on the BBC website, introduced by Sean Connery.

Sources: [1] [2] [3] [4]

Last edited by DVD Smith on Wed May 09, 2018 5:05 am; edited 3 times in total

DVD Smith
1283422.  Sun May 06, 2018 9:52 am Reply with quote

In 2015, Gizmodo interviewed Ralph Osterhout, a man who built and sold spy gadgets to governments. [1] Some of his inventions include:

– a secret transmitter disguised as bird droppings that you throw against someone's window
– a pen with motion sensors inside that allows you to write on anything (or even nothing, just thin air) and the pen will record your movements, encrypt them and transmit them wirelessly to a computer as handwriting
– a miniature spy drone concealed within the tip of a cigar, half the size of a hummingbird, with night vision cameras and silent flight
– underwear that lets off a distress signal depending on how you take it off.

A keen diving enthusiast, Osterhout created a whole bunch of diving gadgets in the 1970s and 1980s (including diving vehicles for two James Bond films) and in the 1980s caught the attention of the US Navy SEALs, who hired him to create military equipment which included the first airtight and watertight night-vision goggles. [2]

In the 1990s he took a break from spying to create toys based on his gadgets, including the Talkboy FX, a version of the Talkboy voice-recorder (as seen in Home Alone 2) but built into a pen. [2]

The bird droppings transmitter isn't the only faecal-based gadget - in the Vietnam War in the 1970s the US military dropped homing beacons shaped like dog turds along the Ho Chi Minh trail, that would sense when enemy vehicles were approaching. [3]

(Sadly they weren't listening in, otherwise I would have called them "eaves-droppings".)

1283451.  Sun May 06, 2018 1:48 pm Reply with quote

Oh that's good stuff DVD! I shared it with the research team, though it's a bit early for serious Q series research yet.

1283470.  Sun May 06, 2018 5:53 pm Reply with quote

Somewhere in my archive* I have a personal letter from Mr Boothroyd. I had written to him in reference to an article he wrote in an airgun magazine.

*for "archive" read "pile of old toot in my storage container".

DVD Smith
1294117.  Wed Aug 29, 2018 11:50 am Reply with quote

What's the most unexpected object to use to hide a spy camera?

A: Another camera.

In July 2018, Aston's Auctioneers in London sold off a collection of old Soviet spy cameras.

The most notable of these was the "camera disguised as a camera" - a spy camera hidden within a camera case of a Zenit-E SLR, a standard model of camera used in the USSR at the time. However, in this one, the actual camera took photographs out of a hole in the side of the case just below the strap (visible on the left in the picture below).

This allowed the user to take photographs at a 90-degree angle without needing to directly point at the target, or even behind them if the case is carried over the shoulder. When it arrived at the auctioneers', their photography expert couldn't figure out how it worked, and had to call up the original manufacturer Zenit for help.

Other spy cameras sold in the collection included ones disguised as an umbrella, a pack of cigarettes, a briefcase, a handbag, and a button on a suit jacket (cleverly titled a "Snappy Suit"). Pictures of all these can be seen in this Guardian article.

Sources: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]

But those aren't the only Soviet spy cameras on sale at auction this year - in April 2018 a Canadian eBay listing appeared for a KGB spy camera housed within a ring made out of 14-carat solid gold.

The ring camera weighs 44g and uses 8mm film, and takes a picture when the fingers are squeezed together to push the little switch on the side.

A similar ring camera was sold in 1991 at a Los Angeles auction for $22,500 - however that one was only gold-plated, not solid gold like this one. At the time, it was thought to be "one of only two in the world".

Sources: [6] [7]


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