Commander Bond’s Service Dress Uniform in The Spy Who Loved Me
Roger Moore as James Bond, sophisticated British MI6 agent
HMS Neptune, Faslane Naval Base, Scotland, July 1977
Film: The Spy Who Loved Me
Release Date: July 7, 1977
Director: Lewis Gilbert
Wardrobe Supervisor: Rosemary Burrows
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 appropriate for this nautical 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 thus presumed 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 service dress uniform. As its designation implies, the uniform is constructed from dark navy blue wool. This particular uniform was tailored with 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:
- Memorial Services unless ordered to the contrary by the convening authority
- Officers of the Day
- Other occasions of duty or minor ceremony, e.g. 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 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 may lead to some confusion as the term now often refers to a pea coat, which also has naval origins.)
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. 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.
Bond wears his Commander rank on his jacket sleeves, with three gold 13mm lace braids around each cuff.
As of 2015, Bond has only worn his naval uniform in three movies: You Only Live Twice, The 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 campaign ribbons with his dress uniform; however, The Spy Who Loved Me only features only a single row.
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.
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.
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’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.
A publicity photo of Roger Moore in Blue No. 1 dress uniform (below) 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.
On screen during this sequence, Moore does wear the same SEIKO 0674-5009 LC Quartz DK001 stainless digital watch that famously provided him with his orders during the pre-credits sequence.
Regulations also call for polished black leather lace-up shoes and black socks, and Commander Bond appears to be wearing both.
James Bond maintains his dashing reputation both in and out of uniform. (All military uniform posts are written strictly for educational purposes. The accomplishments of military veterans should be respected and not copied.)
- Dark navy blue wool tailored British Royal Navy “Blue No. 1C” service uniform:
- 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 dive watch with red-and-blue “Pepsi” bezel, black dial, and stainless bracelet
Do Yourself a Favor and…
Check out the movie.
Moore stopped using Cyril Castle in 1974, so he probably did not make this uniform. Castle didn’t do a military cut, and his shoulders were a bit different than these with less padding and less roping. Did you see my article on this uniform? http://thesuitsofjamesbond.com/royal-navy-commanders-dress-uniform/