Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Beaulieu, Bond and the SOE

Beaulieu Palace House

The American Conservative tour of London takes a detour of about 2 hours from London near Southampton to Beaulieu (  Here you will find the National Motor Museum which has exhibits featuring the vehicles from Top Gear, over 50 vehicles from various James Bond films, the Secret Army museum devoted to the SOE, and much more.

Top Gear ( is a tremendously popular BBC program which looks at the world of the automobile in a light-hearted manner that has appeal even to those who care very little for cars.  Jeremy Clarkson, the lead host of Top Gear,  is extremely non-pc in many of his declarations and has a clear rightward tilt.   He referred to Gordon Brown, the previous Labor prime minister, as "a one-eyed Scottish idiot."  In December of 2011 he said of striking public sector workers (the passport control workers, for example, declared a one day strike creating 12 hour waits at British airports and threatening the lifeblood of the British economy -- tourism), "I would have them all shot."  Remember that this is a BBC production and that TV viewing in the UK requires the payment of a license fee to the government that subsidizes BBC productions.  Imagine if PBS in the states carried the Rush Limbaugh show -- unthinkable -- but something very like this goes on in Britain.

Clarkson loves to mock the Prius-driving liberal left.  Their horrified reactions to his antics continue to demonstrate to the world the near total lack of a sense of humor of the contemporary left.

Clarkson on Global Warming

Clarkson on Politics

James Bond (see earlier post, Commander Bond's London, 2/23/12) is a British icon that celebrates suave British competence in the world of espionage.  Here you will find "Little Nellie," the one man helicopter from You Only Live Twice, Goldfinger's awesome Rolls Royce 1937 Phantom III (see below) and several Aston Martins.  You may also find the Lotus Esprit S1 that transformed into a submarine that was used in The Spy Who Loved Me.  At Beaulieu the AMC Hornet that jumped over a river making a 360 degree twisting turn in The Man with the Golden Gun is on display.

It is interesting to note that James Bond was first created with the publication of Casino Royale in 1953, -- the same year as Queen Elizabeth II's coronation and the British conquest of Everest.  Happy Jubilee, Mr Bond!

Auric Goldfinger's 1937 Phantom III
You will also find a small museum, the Secret Army museum, dedicated to World War II's "secret war".  The Beaulieu estate was utilized during the Second World War as a "finishing school" for agents of the SOE or Strategic Operations Executive.  It was here at Beaulieu that they would be instructed in the tradecraft of espionage.  They would learn survival skills, how to operate a radio, enciphering and the art of silent killing.  "The characteristic that SOE's agents had in common, besides their courage, was that they were liable to be drawn from any class at all in the community in which they lived.  The best of them were like the strong, silent men of romantic fiction: calm, clear-headed men and women, who knew that Nazism was abominable, and were ready to use disreputable methods -- if clean ones would not do -- to make sure that it was crushed."  SOE: The Special Operations Executive 1940- 1946, MRD Foot, 1984. (http:/  Kim Philby, the infamous double agent who later defected to the Soviet Union, trained SOE agents at Beaulieu.

Commander Kelly, says "Spend a fun day out at Beaulieu".

You can now purchase Commander Kelly's first book, America Invades or on

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