Jeffrey Dudgeon speculates in his latest book, Roger Casement: the black diaries to be launched on Thursday, that Ian Flemming based his character Q on Ulsterman Major Frank Hall. Hall became Military Secretary of the paramilitary Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) formed to resist Home Rule for Ireland in 1912.
Gudgeon’s main premise seems to be based around the fact Hall went under the codename Q when he became chief of MI5 in Belfast two years later.
Update: According to reader Nick Whyte, the story is given greater plausibility by the fact Flemming was a close friend of Terrence O’Neill’s (former PM of Northern Ireland) brother. According to a review of Flemming’s biography:
“…from the late 1930s on, he kept up an affair with Ann O’Neill, eventually marrying her. Two months before the wedding – to soothe his nerves – Fleming sat down to write his first book, Casino Royale. So began the long line of Bond novels.”