Moran on Courage

After M quotes Dr Peter Steincrohn at Sir James Molony, the famous neurologist has the perfect comeback to the head of the British Secret Service.

This one I’ve had here is tough. I’d say you’ll get plenty more work out of him. But you know what Moran has to say about courage in that book of his.”

“Don’t recall.”

“He says that courage is a capital sum reduced by expenditure. I agree with him. All I’m trying to say is that this particular man seems to have been spending pretty hard since before the war. I wouldn’t say he’s overdrawn-not yet, but there are limits.”

“Just so.” M decided that was quite enough of that. Nowadays, softness was everywhere.

Sir James was quoting none other than Winston Churchill’s personal physician.

“Charles McMoran Wilson” by Unknown – Licensed under CC BY 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons –

Born Charles Wilson in 1882, 1st Baron Moran was knighted in 1938 and became Churchill’s personal physician in 1940. In 1945, he wrote a groundbreaking study on the Psychological Effects of War entitled The Anatomy of Courage.

One of the passages from the book which is often quoted comes from this:

Courage is will power, whereof no man has an unlimited stock; and when in war it is used up, he is finished. A man’s courage is his capital and he is always spending. The call on the bank may be only the daily drain of the front line or it may be a sudden draft which threatens to close the account.

Another passage that Molony could’ve been referring to is this one:

Likewise in the trenches a man’s will power was his capital and he was always spending, so that wise and thrifty company officers watched the expenditure of every penny lest their men went bankrupt. When their capital was done, they were finished.

When you look at that line, Could it be that Molony was actually offering M some fairly strong criticism, noting how the “wise” officers carefully watched their men so that they weren’t “spending” too quickly?

Moran had a long life, living until 1977 when he passed away at the age of 94.

Dr Peter Steincrohn

In Dr No, M is preparing to meet with James Bond following his recovery from the near-death experience he suffered at the end of From Russia With Love. He is on the phone with Sir James Molony, consulting with him as to whether 007 is fit to return to duty. While Sir James deems it wise to perhaps ease Bond back into duty, M has no intention of coddling his star agent.

M said abruptly, “Ever hear of a man called Steincrohn-Dr Peter Steincrohn?”

“No, who’s he?”

“American doctor. Written a book my Washington people sent over for our library. This man talks about how much punishment the human body can put up with. Gives a list of the bits of the body an average man can do without. Matter of fact, I copied it out for future reference. Care to hear the list?” M dug into his coat pocket and put some letters and scraps of paper on the desk in front of him. With his left hand he selected a piece of paper and unfolded it. He wasn’t put out by the silence on the other end of the line, “Hullo, Sir James! Well, here they are: ‘Gall bladder, spleen, tonsils, appendix, one of his two kidneys, one of his two lungs, two of his four or five quarts of blood, two-fifths of his liver, most of his stomach, four of his twenty-three feet of intestines and half of his brain.’ ” M paused. When the silence continued at the other end, he said, “Any comments, Sir James?”

There was a reluctant grunt at the other end of the telephone. “I wonder he didn’t add an arm and a leg, or all of them. I don’t see quite what you’re trying to prove.”

M gave a curt laugh. “I’m not trying to prove anything, Sir James. It just struck me as an interesting list. All I’m trying to say is that my man seems to have got off pretty lightly compared with that sort of punishment. But,” M relented, “don’t let’s argue about it.”

Dr Peter J. Steincrohn (1899-1986) was a real person, a real Doctor, and a prolific writer, penning almost 30 medical books aimed at the layperson, in addition to being a long-running syndicated newspaper columnist and radio and TV guest. Dr. Steincrohn received his medical degree at University of Maryland Medical School in 1923 and interned at Muhlenberg Hospital, Plainfield N.J. He did Postgraduate work at Massachusetts General and Beth Israel Hospital in Boston, then established practice at Hartford, Conn, as an Internist and Cardiologist.

October 20, 1949
Daily Capital Journal from Salem, Oregon

From this clipping, it appears that Dr Steincrohn originally penned the words M later uses in the October 1949 issue of The American Magazine.

It later appeared in one of his books – Live Longer and Enjoy it! (1956)

Dr Steincrohn was considered something of a “Medical Maverick,” although espousing theories not commonly held by other physicians of his day, he was also ahead of his time in many ways, talking about issues such as heart disease and anxiety. His newspaper column was the longest running of its kind, going for over 30 years.

I had a chance to speak with Dr Steincrohn’s daughter, Maggie Davis, who remembers him as “embracing, caring, beloved,” and that he always had a “twinkle in his eye.” She noted that in her father’s private practice, he had both wealthy and poor patients, and it was important to him to make sure all of them were treated the same. It was his habit to talk to each patient for an hour before beginning any sort of examination.He ended up becoming friends with many of his patients. The Doctor didn’t merely treat his patients by rote, his daughter recalls him saying “Treat the patient, not the disease.” Among his colleagues he was known for his ability to diagnose and to ease pain. Included in his patients was the actress Gene Tierney. Dr Steincrohn was married for 50 years to Patti Chapin who was a singer for CBS Radio in the 1930’s on the Palmolive Hour. She also screen-tested for Hollywood, but chose instead to get married and raise a family.

Davis believes that Dr Steincrohn was aware of the above quote from Dr No.

Here are some of the titles of Dr Steincrohn’s books through the years:

Heart Disease is Curable 1943
Forget Your Age! 1945
How To Stop Killing Yourself 1950
How to Add Years to Your Life 1952
How To Master Your Fears 1952
How to Keep Fit without Exercise 1955
Live Longer And Enjoy It 1956
You Can Increase Your Heart Power 1958
How to Be Lazy, Healthy, and Fit 1968
Don’t Die Before Your Time 1971
How to Cure Your Jogger Mania!: Enjoy Fitness and Good Health without Running – A Doctor’s Warning on the Running Craze.  1980

From the back of one of his books:

Peter J. Steincrohn, M.D. is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians and the American Medical Association. A practicing internist and cardiologist for twenty-five years, Dr Steincrohn is a McNaught Syndicate columnist for over a hundred newspapers throughout the United States and Canada. He has written articles appearing in leaving magazines, including Esquire, Look, Saturday Evening Post and Reader’s Digest.

If you’re interested, here is a beautiful piece written by Maggie Davis about the last years of her parent’s lives.

Update: Dr Steincrohn responds to being mentioned in a James Bond novel:

PQ Convoys

At the start of the second chapter of Dr No, M is arriving at the office on a cold, raw March 1st (1956) in London. He exits his car, and speaks to his chauffeur:

‘Won’t be needing the car again today, Smith. Take it away and go home. I’ll use the tube this evening. No weather for driving a car. Worse than one of those PQ Convoys.’

This is about as close as M gets to using humor. He is referring to the Arctic convoys of World War II – an operation where Allied ships brought supplies to the Soviet Union.

These convoys often met with severe weather on their trips, as well as German opposition.

“HMS Sheffield frost” by Coote, R G G (Lt), Royal Navy official photographer – This is photograph A 6872 from the collections of the Imperial War Museums (collection no. 4700-01).

The above photograph is from one of those convoy missions and likely shows what M had in mind when making the reference.

Mona Reservoir, Jamaica

After Strangways and Mary Trueblood are killed in the opening chapter of Dr. No, their bodies are deposited in a body of water outside Kingston.

As the first flames showed in the upper windows of the bungalow, the hearse moved quietly from the sidewalk and went on its way up towards the Mona Reservoir. There, the weighted coffin would slip down into its fifty-fathom grace and, in just forty-five minutes, the personnel and records of the Caribbean station of the Secret Service would have been utterly destroyed.

The Mona Reservoir is the main water supply for Kingston, located in the neighborhood of Mona, about eight kilometers outside of Kingston.

After many years of development and several setbacks, the Mona Reservoir went into service in 1959.

Mona Reservoir – the final resting place of Commander John Strangways and Mary Trueblood.

View from the Reservoir looking towards Kingston.

R.A.F. Canberra

In the last pages of From Russia With Love, arrangements are made to transport a package from Paris to London, via Orly Air Base outside of Paris. Rene Mathis says:

We are to fill the laundry basket and and take it to Orly and await an R.A.F. Canberra which will arrive at two o’clock. We hand over the basket. Some dirty washing which was in France will be in England. Yes?

The R.A.F. Canberra was one of the most famous planes in the Royal Air Force, the first generation of jet bombers which were manufactured in the 1950’s.  The last Canberra jet was retired in 2006.

More on the record-setting English Electra Canberra.

The Femoral. And the External Iliac.

When the Orient Express carrying James Bond and Tatiana Romanova plunges into the Simplon Tunnel, it is time for Bond to take action to save his life, and reputation of the British secret service.

After managing with his gunmetal cigarette case to deflect the bullet shot from Grant’s War and Peace book/gun and playing “dead.” Bond explores his senses, checks the location of his case with the hidden knife and ponders his strike:

It would be a near thing. Bond desperately tried to remember simple anatomy. Where were the mortal places in the lower body of a man? Where did the main artery run? The Femoral. Down the inside of the thigh. And the External Iliac, or whatever it was called, that became the Femoral? Across the centre of the groin. If he missed both, it would be bad.

The Femoral artery and External Iliac are the main paths for blood flow to and from the heart and the lower body.

As you can see, Bond would be aiming to plunge his knife into the area of the inside of Grant’s thigh, or the middle of his groin.

Bond is successful in his surprise attack, though he still needs to use Grant’s own book/gun to finish off the SMERSH agent.

Spotting Captain Norman Nash

While at the station in Trieste, James Bond spots a man on the platform who stands out to him.

It crossed Bond’s mind that he was an Englishman. Perhaps it was the familiar shape of the dark green Kangol cap, or the beige, rather well-used mackintosh, that badge of the English tourist, or it may have been the grey-flannelled legs, or the scuffed brown shoes. But Bond’s eyes were drawn to him, as if it was someone he knew, as the man approached up the platform.

The man was carrying a battered Revelation suitcase and, under the other arm, a thick book and some newspapers.

As you can see from the description, the man may well have been running across the station carrying a “I’M AN ENGLISHMAN” sign. (which, as we find out later, is rather the point.)

Bond approaches him, and after an exchange of recognition signals, the man identifies himself as Captain Norman Nash, and that he’s been sent by M to assist Bond.

Let’s look at a few of the details which allowed Bond to so easily spot this man. First, the Kangol cap. In the 1920’s, Jacques Spreiregen began making beret hats, naming his company KANGOL in 1938. (The most widely believed theory is that the founder combined the K from knitting, the ANG from angora, and the OL from wool.)

During WWII, Kangol provided berets for the British army, and by 1954 had a virtual monopoly on the market.

Carricap by Kangol.

The Mackintosh, “the badge of the English tourist” is of course the waterproof raincoat. A genuine Mackintosh would be made from rubberized or rubber laminated material, but the term has also become a reference to any raincoat.

Grey-Flannelled trousers and scuffed brown shoes complete the very-English wardrobe. The Revelation suitcase may have looked something like this.

1955 Ad.

After the recognition code, Nash sheds his coat, revealing underneath:

He was wearing an old reddish-brown tweed coat with his flannel trousers, a pale yellow Viyella summer shirt and the dark blue and red zig-zagged tie of the Royal Engineers. It was tied with a Windsor knot.

Viyella is a U.K. clothing manufacturer with history dating back to 1784.

1956 Viyella Advertisement.

The distinctive tie of the Royal Engineers (tied with a Windsor knot, which Bond distrusts) completes the outfit.

Confession – I don’t know if this is a Windsor knot.

While this man certainly has all the appearance of a Englishman, Bond senses something amiss, but fails to take action. Captain Norman Nash soon reveals his true identity…

Scott’s Restaurant, Piccadilly, Haymarket

A favorite restaurant of Ian Fleming while in London was Scott’s. During Fleming’s time it was located at 18-20 Coventry Street in Piccadilly Circus in Westminster. Four years after Fleming’s death, the restaurant moved to its current location on Mount Street in Mayfair.

Fleming went to Scott’s for lunch for many years, including during WWII when he was working for Naval Intelligence. It was the site of one of his more humorous plots. Fleming took captured German U-boat officers to Scott’s to try and get them drunk so that they would perhaps spill some intelligence.

The waiter heard the group talking in fluent German and telephoned Scotland Yard. The incident caused much amusement among the British Intelligence community. Fleming’s boss, Admiral Godfrey however, was not among those amused.

When Fleming began writing the James Bond stories, he made several references to Scott’s, putting his character in the very same table which Fleming preferred himself.

In Moonraker, Bond has a date to meet Gala Brand in the city. He heads to Scott’s and waits:

Bond sat at his favourite restaurant table in London, the right-hand corner table for two on the first floor, and watched the people and traffic in Piccadilly and down the Haymarket.

In Diamonds Are Forever, Bond is talking to Chief of Staff Bill Tanner and offers to take him out:

“I’ll take you to Scotts’ and we’ll have some of their dressed crab and a pint of black velvet.”

In You Only Live Twice, Bond is happy to have finally gotten an assignment from M, and as he exits M’s office (with his new number; 7777) he has a request for Miss Moneypenny:

Bond said, ‘Be an angel, Penny and ring down to Mary and tell her she’s got to get out of whatever she’s doing tonight. I’m taking her our to dinner. Scotts. Tell her we’ll have our first roast grouse of the year and pink champagne. Celebration.’

Originally an Oyster House, Scott’s remains one of the top seafood restaurants in the city

In this 1957 photo, Scotts can be seen in the background.

1962 photo of Scotts

The Doctor Bird

From the beginning of the short story For Your Eyes Only.

The most beautiful bird in Jamaica, and some say the most beautiful bird in the world, is the streamer-tail or doctor humming-bird. The cock bird is abut nine inches long, but seven inches of it are tail – two long black feathers that curve and cross each other and whose inner edges are in a form of scalloped design. The head and crest are black, the wings dark green, the long bill is scarlet, and the eyes, bright and confiding, are black. The body is emerald green, so dazzling that when the sun is on the breast you see the brightest green thing in nature. In Jamaica, birds that are loved are given nicknames. Trochilus polytmus is called “doctor bird” because his two black streamers remind people of the black tail-coat of the old-time physician.

The scene is thus set for us – we’re in Jamaica again. Ian Fleming sets the beginning of this story back in the place he knew so well. As you can see from the picture, his description of the bird couldn’t possibly be more accurate.

The bird can only be found in Jamaica, and is in fact the national bird of the country.

In the story, Mrs Havelock is watching two pairs of birds, which are supposed to be of the same family of birds that have lived in the same bushes for at least 30 years or so. Her mother-in-law had named the first two pairs, and the names stuck on all the subsequent pairs that came back.

In reality, the male of the Trochilus Polytmus is polygamous, and has nothing to do with the raising of the young after the act of mating. The female bird becomes a single parent.

Portraits In Darko Kerim’s Office

When James Bond first visits the office of Darko Kerim in From Russia With Love, Ian Fleming gives us a look around. Behind Kerim’s chair hangs an Oriental tapestry, and then on the walls on either side are framed images.

In the centre of the right-hand wall hung a gold-framed reproduction of Annigoni’s portrait of the Queen.

Pietro Annigoni’s 1956 painting of Queen Elizabeth II

Pietro Annigoni was an Italian portrait painter, who was commissioned by the Worshipful Company of Fishmongers to paint the portrait above. The Queen is shown wearing  the dark cloak of the Order of the Garter.

Opposite, also imposingly framed, was Cecil Beaton’s war-time photograph of Winston Churchill looking up from his desk in the Cabinet Offices like a contemptuous bulldog.

Taken by Cecil Beaton in the Cabinet Room at 10 Downing Street on 20 November 1940

This photo was taken just as the Battle of Britain had subsided, but with The Blitz well underway. Beaton was very familiar to Fleming, as a frequent guest of Noel Coward’s in Jamaica. Fleming again managed to work one of his friends into the plot of his book.