Thursday 12 November 2020

Watching James Bond with Admiral Wey

A cropped photo of the then Rear Admiral Wey at a social gathering at our home in Hendon, London during the early 1970s which presumably was taken by my Father who was then serving as the Deputy-Defence Advisor at the Nigerian High Commission. 

The passing of James Bond icon Sean Connery reminds me of a visit by Vice Admiral J.E.A. Wey to our home in Apapa, Lagos in the 1970s.

This was after his retirement following the overthrow of General Yakubu Gowon in whose regime he had served as the Chief of Staff Supreme Headquarters.

A video tape of the James Bond movie "From Russia, With Love" was playing in the sitting room during which time Wey and my Father, his former aide-de-camp, were often in quiet conversation. That is apart from when Wey broke off from the conversation to use his walking staff to playfully poke me or other youngsters around on our sides or behind our necks.

He was always teasing kids.

He also kept referring to himself as the "Old Man", his nickname among the senior military officers; making an accompanying joke on each occasion.

Anyway, when late in the movie, the fight scene between Sean Connery (James Bond) and Robert Shaw (Red Grant, the SPECTRE assassin) was happening, Wey and my Dad stopped chatting and became absorbed in the movie.

When Connery finally overcomes Shaw, he's about to leave the train compartment before he decides to go back and retrieve the wallet containing gold sovereigns which Shaw had earlier relieved him of at gunpoint. Then as Connery is leaving he says to the dead Grant:

"You won't be needing this, old man".

The mention of "old man" was cue for Wey to let off his trademark deep, throaty laughter.

Although this film is silent you can see a Royal Navy admiral turn to look in the direction of Wey when he laughs at the 14-second mark:

Newsreel of Nigerian Naval Delegates at the Royal Navy Equipment Exhibition | September 1971

He was quite a jolly character.

© Adeyinka Makinde (2020)

Adeyinka Makinde is a writer based in London, England.

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