Commander Bond’s Dress Uniform in The Spy Who Loved Me

Roger Moore as James Bond in The Spy Who Loved Me (1977).

Roger Moore as James Bond in The Spy Who Loved Me (1977).

Vitals

Roger Moore as James Bond, sophisticated British MI6 agent

HMS Neptune, Faslane Naval Base, Scotland, Summer 1977

Film: The Spy Who Loved Me
Release Date: July 7, 1977
Director: Lewis Gilbert
Wardrobe Supervisor: Rosemary Burrows
Moore’s Tailor: Cyril Castle

Background

For this chilly 00-7th of December, BAMF Style is taking a look at Bond’s post-credits briefing at Faslane Naval Base, designated on HMS Neptune and stationed on Gare Loch as the headquarters of the Royal Navy in Scotland. The submarine-focused briefing Bond receives is especially apropos to this setting, which serves as home to the United Kingdom’s submarine-based nuclear deterrent and was adapted to house Polaris missiles ten years prior to the movie.

Of the 24 Bond films yet produced, The Spy Who Loved Me most prominently features James Bond’s naval service and finds him sporting Royal Navy elements twice: once, as featured in this post, and during the finale when he sports battle dress against Stromberg’s henchmen.

“Ark Royal, wasn’t it?” Admiral Hargreaves recalls, confirming Bond’s naval service aboard the HMS Ark Royal, a name used for several British Royal Navy aircraft carriers but – due to Moore’s age and service – likely referring to the actual Audacious-class carrier that was commissioned in February 1955 and was still in service at the time of The Spy Who Loved Me, not decommissioned until Valentine’s Day 1979.

What’d He Wear?

For his briefing aboard HMS Neptune, Bond wears his Blue No. 1C dress uniform. As its designation implies, the uniform is constructed from dark navy blue wool. This particular uniform was likely tailored for Roger Moore by his tailor at the time, Cyril Castle, who appears to have given it the appropriate traditional English military cut. The battle dress he wears later was made for the film by Bermans & Nathans, confirmed by a Bonhams auction in March 2007.

The actual specifications for British Royal Navy uniforms can be found online. The Blue No. 1 dress uniform has three different levels – A, B, and C. In this case, Bond wears Blue No. 1c, which is determined by modern guidelines to be worn for:

  1. Memorial Services unless ordered to the contrary by the convening authority.
  2. Officers of the Day.
  3. Other occasions of duty or minor ceremonial. Hosting of VIP visits and certain RNIPE events when ordered.

1A consists of medals and bearing arms;,1B is the same as 1A but without arms, and 1C simply wears medal ribbons. For both men and women, Blue Dress No. 1 – introduced in 1889 – always consists of a double-breasted navy blue “reefer jacket”, matching trousers (or skirts for unarmed women), white shirt and black tie, peaked cap, and black leather shoes. The “reefer jacket” terminology is confusing as the term now typically means a pea coat, which also has naval origins.

Bond meets with fellow naval officers in their Blue No. 1C dress uniforms.

Bond meets with fellow naval officers in their Blue No. 1C dress uniforms.

Bond’s tailored uniform jacket is double-breasted with a high-fastening 8×4-button front of eight gilt buttons with the traditional naval crown and anchor symbols. Each peak lapel has a buttonhole stitched through. The shoulders are straight with roped sleeveheads. The jacket has jetted hip pockets and double side vents.

Bond wears his Commander rank on his sleeves, with three gold 13mm lace braids around each cuff.

Commander Bond shows off his rank.

Commander Bond shows off his rank.

As of 2015, Bond has only worn his naval uniform in three movies: You Only Live TwiceThe Spy Who Loved Me, and Tomorrow Never Dies. (Interestingly, each of those three movies came out in a year ending with a 7.) In You Only Live Twice and Tomorrow Never Dies, Bond wears three rows of uniform ribbons with his dress uniform; however, The Spy Who Loved Me only features only row of ribbons.

On that single row, Bond wears two campaign ribbons. The first is a white ribbon with a wide crimson red stripe on each end and two thinner crimson stripes between them on the white ground. This appears to be the Naval General Service Medal (1915 NGSM), which was awarded from 1915 to 1962 to members of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines to recognize their service in minor campaigns. This medal was replaced in 1962 by the General Service Medal (1962 GSM), which combined the naval and marine 1915 NGSM with the Army and RAF award to be awarded to all British and Commonwealth forces engaged in minor campaigns between 1962 and 2007, when it was replaced by the Operational Service Medal.

According to Bond's campaign ribbons, he's served in the Royal Navy for at least fifteen years. Interestingly, 1962 was the same year that The Spy Who Loved Me novel was published.

According to Bond’s campaign ribbons, he’s served in the Royal Navy for at least fifteen years. Interestingly, 1962 was the same year that The Spy Who Loved Me novel was first published.

We see much less of Bond’s uniform trousers, but they match the dark navy jacket and appear to have forward pleats and plain-hemmed bottoms.

As specified, Bond also wears a white shirt and black tie. His white shirt has a moderately spread collar and front placket, but not much else is seen. The cuffs likely close with a button, although a fold on the cuff seen when Bond salutes someone on HMS Neptune seems to reveal the “Lapidus” button-tab cuff he wore with his non-military attire in both The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker. However, since Bond follows military regulations of showing minimal shirt cuff, it can’t be determined from watching the film alone.

Regulations also call for polished black leather dress shoes and black socks, and it can be wisely assumed that Bond is wearing both here.

A publicity photo of Roger Moore in Blue No. 1 dress uniform clearly shows him wearing a stainless Rolex GMT Master 1675 with the red-and-blue “Pepsi” bezel. Although Bond’s producers had arranged for Moore to wear SEIKO watches beginning with this film through the rest of Moore’s tenure, this may have been his personal Rolex that he was known to wear both in real life and other movies at the time.

In addition to his regulation peaked cap, Bond also dresses against the brisk Scottish climate with an officers’ greatcoat and gloves. Uniform regulations call for “optional brown gloves” so Bond wears a pair of brown leather gloves as he walks with the admiral. His peaked cap has a white cotton cover with a Royal Navy gold wire badge. The black cloth peak has a single row of gold oak leaves.

Bond walks with Admiral Hargreaves.

Bond walks with Admiral Hargreaves.

Bond’s greatcoat is constructed from a dark navy wool Melton cloth. The double-breasted front has ten gold crown-and-anchor buttons with the top two just concealed under the coat’s lapels. The coat also has flapped hip pockets and a belted back with a pleated upper back and a long single vent to the bottom. Bond’s rank is indicated by the three gold stripes and loop on his epaulettes/shoulder straps. The coat’s strong waterproof wool Melton construction and design keep out the sea winds and moisture to keep its wearer warm and dry.

(All military uniform posts are written strictly for educational purposes. The accomplishments of military Veterans should be respected and not copied.)

Bond’s Uniform

The publicity photo of Moore that also shows off his Rolex GMT Master.

The publicity photo of Moore that also shows off his Rolex GMT Master.

James Bond maintains his dashing reputation both in and out of uniform.

  • Dark navy blue wool tailored British Royal Navy uniform, consisting of:
    • Double-breasted uniform jacket with peak lapels, 8×4 gilt crown-and-anchor button front, jetted hip pockets, Commander rank sleeve insignia, and double side vents
    • Forward-pleated uniform trousers with plain-hemmed bottoms
  • White Royal Navy uniform shirt with spread collar, front placket, and button cuffs
  • Black four-in-hand necktie
  • Peaked officers’ cap with white cotton cover, Royal Navy gold wire badge, and black cloth peak with gold oakleaf row
  • Dark navy blue wool Melton double-breasted Royal Navy greatcoat with 10×5 gilt crown-and-anchor button front, flapped hip pockets, Commander epaulette rank insignia, and belted back with single vent
  • Black polished leather oxfords
  • Black socks
  • Brown leather gloves
  • Rolex GMT Master 1675 with “Pepsi” bezel, black dial, and stainless bracelet

Do Yourself a Favor and…

Buy the movie.

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