James Bond is a naval officer. Now Daniel Craig is too. But the only 007 actor to actually have served in the Royal Navy was Able Seaman Sean Connery.

James Bond is a naval officer. Now Daniel Craig is too. But the only 007 actor to actually have served in the Royal Navy was Able Seaman Sean Connery.

By Dario Leone
Sep 24 2021
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Even though Daniel Craig has been made an honorary Commander in the Royal Navy – matching the on-screen rank of James Bond, the only 007 actor to actually have served in the Royal Navy was Able Seaman Sean Connery.

Actor Daniel Craig was made an honorary Commander in the Royal Navy to match the on-screen rank of James Bond.

According to a Royal Navy News Release, Commander Craig’s appointment as an honorary officer not only links him with the legacy created through the guise of the fictional British secret agent but also reflects his personal support for UK Armed Forces.

Honorary officers in the Royal Navy bring a breadth of experience and contribute in their own distinct way to strengthen the navy’s ties with the communities it serves.

Commander Craig is keen to support personnel within the Royal Navy, with a particular interest in service families.

James Bond is a naval officer. Now Daniel Craig is too. But the only 007 actor to actually have served in the Royal Navy was Able Seaman Sean Connery.
First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Tony Radakin and Commander Daniel Craig

Commander Craig said: “I am truly privileged and honoured to be appointed the rank of Honorary Commander in the senior service.”

The announcement comes ahead of the premiere of the newest Bond instalment No Time to Die.

Filmmakers worked closely with the Royal Navy and Ministry of Defence in the production of the latest film in the franchise.

Warship HMS Dragon features in the movie with a sneak preview of the distinct Type 45 destroyer, with her red dragon emblem on the hull, seen cutting through the waves in the latest trailer.

First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Tony Radakin said: “I am delighted to welcome honorary Commander Daniel Craig to the Royal Navy.

James Bond is a naval officer. Now Daniel Craig is too. But the only 007 actor to actually have served in the Royal Navy was Able Seaman Sean Connery.
Actor Daniel Craig has been made an honorary Commander in the Royal Navy

“Daniel Craig is well known for being Commander Bond for the last fifteen years – a Naval officer who keeps Britain safe through missions across the globe.

“That’s what the real Royal Navy does every day, using technology and skill the same way as Bond himself.

“I look forward to him getting to see more of our sailors and marines over the coming months and years.”

As well as HMS Dragon making an appearance, the Royal Air Force also granted access to key assets and personnel. RAF Brize Norton, in Oxfordshire, was used as a backdrop in the film, standing in for a NATO airbase in Norway where Bond joins MI6 allies and later boards a C-17 Globemaster.

Meanwhile, the Army supplied troops from the Household Cavalry. They offered their time at a pivotal moment in their calendar, just before the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace.

James Bond is a naval officer. Now Daniel Craig is too. But the only 007 actor to actually have served in the Royal Navy was Able Seaman Sean Connery.
Able Seaman Sean Connery

The Royal Navy actually has a few real-life Bonds within its ranks. Lieutenant Commander Frances Bond, who serves at the Royal Navy’s headquarters in Portsmouth, was invited to meet Daniel Craig ahead of the launch of the new film.

Lt Cdr Bond said: “I’ve had my fair share of light-hearted banter from colleagues over being a real-life Bond but I never imagined I would actually one day get to meet the actor who played him.

“I really enjoyed speaking to Daniel Craig and the rest of the cast. It was fascinating to hear their perspectives on working with the armed forces and learning a bit about the world of Hollywood.

“There are some strange similarities between what we do. I’ve been lucky enough to travel the world during my service with the Royal Navy, like the cast have too with their filming locations.”

However, even though Daniel Craig has been made an honorary Commander in the Royal Navy – matching the on-screen rank of James Bond, the only 007 actor to actually have served in the Royal Navy was Able Seaman Sean Connery.

James Bond is a naval officer. Now Daniel Craig is too. But the only 007 actor to actually have served in the Royal Navy was Able Seaman Sean Connery.
Sean Connery served in the Royal Navy before becoming one of its most famous fictional commanders, James Bond.

According to Forces.net, upon joining the Royal Navy in 1946 (at the age of 16), the future star was stationed at Portsmouth while training to become an anti-aircraft gunner. After leaving gunnery school, Sir Sean, who went by his birth name Thomas, was posted to the aircraft carrier HMS Formidable.

Just three years into his Royal Navy service, the 19-year-old Able Seaman’s personal circumstances brought an abrupt end to his naval career. Sir Sean suffered a duodenal ulcer, a condition that had affected several males across his family’s generations.

After being medically discharged from the Royal Navy in 1949, the young man returned home to Edinburgh and found work as a lifeguard. Shortly after, he began to pose as a model at the Edinburgh College of Art, which eventually led to him entering bodybuilding competitions.

Sean was a talented footballer and even attracted Sir Matt Busby’s scouting eyes in the early 1950s, who reportedly offered the 23-year-old scot a contract to play for Manchester United.

But Sir Sean said no. In 1962, Sir Sean secured his breakthrough role as the fictional British secret agent, James Bond.

C-17 Print
This print is available in multiple sizes from AircraftProfilePrints.com – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS. C-17A Globemaster III 60th Air Mobility Wing / 349th Air Mobility Wing, 21st Airlift Squadron, 06-6160 – Travis AFB, CA

Photo credit: LPhot Lee Blease / Royal Navy Crown Copyright


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Dario Leone

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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