Geoffrey Boothroyd

Geoffrey Boothroyd (1925 – 20 October 2001) was a British firearms expert and author of several standard reference works on the subject, who is best known to the general public for giving weapons advice to James Bond author Ian Fleming.[1] He was born in Blackpool.

Beginning with A Guide to Gun Collecting and Guns Through the Ages (both 1961) to The British Over and Under Shotgun co-authored with Susan Boothroyd (2004), Boothroyd was a prolific author on the subject of firearms.[2]

Whilst employed with Imperial Chemical Industries, an ammunition manufacturer, Boothroyd wrote a letter to Fleming professing admiration for the character of James Bond, but not his choice of weapons, particularly the .25 calibre Beretta. Fleming responded to Boothroyd, and their correspondence[3] about weaponry has been reprinted in various places.

As a result of the correspondence Fleming gave Bond a 7.65mm Walther PPK pistol in Dr. No and created a character named "Major Boothroyd" in the novel (the real Boothroyd held no such rank). Prior to the correspondence Fleming is reported to have thought the subject of guns to be rather dull and uninteresting. Boothroyd advised Fleming on the use of silencers and suggested various firearms for use by Bond and other characters.[4]

Boothroyd provided illustrator Richard Chopping with his own .38 Smith & Wesson snubnosed revolver, modified with one third of the trigger guard removed, to meet Fleming's wish for a design incorporating a pistol and a rose for the first edition cover of From Russia, with Love. Boothroyd had to assist the police with their enquiries when a similar weapon was used in a triple murder in Glasgow[5] explaining that his weapon had been posted to Ian Fleming for a book cover. Peter Manuel was later arrested, convicted and executed for the murder.

In the first Bond film, Dr. No, Major Boothroyd, portrayed by Peter Burton, recreates the scene from the novel. Geoffrey Boothroyd appeared as himself in a short film The Guns of James Bond available on the Dr. No Ultimate Edition DVD.[6]


  1. Griswold, John (2006). Ian Fleming's James Bond: Annotations and Chronologies for Ian Fleming's Bond Stories. Bloomington, Indiana: AuthorHouse. p. 209. ISBN 978-1-42593-100-1.
  2. "Geoffrey Boothroyd: Books".
  3. "May I suggest that Mr. Bond be armed with a revolver?". Letters of Note. 1 June 2011. Retrieved 5 June 2011.
  4. Macintyre, Ben (2 February 2012). For Your Eyes Only: Ian Fleming and James Bond. A&C Black. pp. 113–115. ISBN 978-1-4088-3064-2.
  5. "Richard Chopping: Artist and writer best known for his striking designs for the covers of the James Bond novels". The Times. 26 April 2008. Archived from the original on 11 May 2008.
  6. "The Guns of James Bond (1964)". IMDb.
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