VANDALS damaged the grave of one of Britain’s best-known authors.

James Bond creator Ian Fleming’s final resting place is marked by an obelisk in the graveyard next to St James’ Church in the village of Sevenhampton near Highworth on the Swindon borough’s outskirts.

An inscribed slate plaque which featured the author’s name and the Latin phrase ‘Omnia perfunctus vitae praemia marces’ — ‘having enjoyed life’s prizes, you now decay’ - has been removed without permission.

Sally Hawson of Save Swindon's Heritage said: "Desecrating a grave is an awful thing to do. This is one of those places where fans from all over the world make a pilgrimage to visit a world-famous author, it's special and important.

"Heritage crime is unfortunately massive in this country. There's a network of people who steal things to order and are quite adept at what they do, but who knows if that's the reason behind this vandalism.

"We may never find out who did it and that's sad, his family must be so upset."

Matt Holland runs the literature and arts-focused Swindon Spring Festival and was saddened by the news.

He said: “To vandalise any grave is disrespectful. But, of course and inevitably, graves of the famous are more at risk of getting both good and bad attention.

“It occurs to me that this could be the work either of a fan, wanting an IF plaque for their collection, or an enemy of Bond - someone who sees this desecration as a way of finally beating Bond and getting one step closer to world domination.

“But either way, it’s a shame this has happened and, rather than lovers of literature, the people it will matter most to are Ian Fleming’s family and friends, for whom it must be upsetting.”
Swindon Advertiser:

Ian Fleming died from a heart attack in 1964 when he was 56-years-old. The grave contains his remains and those of his wife Ann and son Caspar. Their plaques have been left intact.

Mr Fleming was buried in Sevenhampton on August 15 1964, only three days after his death.

The graveyard is next to the Warneford Place estate which Mr Fleming moved to after completing the Bond novels, and where he wrote Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

The Highworth pub The Goldfinger is named after one of his books which later became an iconic and hugely-successful Bond film starring Sean Connery.

The plaque theft originally happened back in September. Ian Fleming’s step-daughter Fionn Morgan told the Daily Mail at the time:“It could be the work of an extreme Bond fan who wants to keep it.

“Or, less likely, it could have been stolen by someone thinking it would sell for a large sum.”