It’s not every day you see James Bond emerging from a Portsmouth swimming pool.
But a Remember When picture earlier this year of just such a moment struck a chord with former bodybuilder Gordon Allen.
I’ve repeated that photograph here of a young Sir Sean Connery pulling himself out of the water at Hilsea Lido.
It was taken in the 1950s when boyish Tom Connery, (Thomas is his first name) was in the Royal Navy and posted to HMS Excellent on Whale Island.
Gordon, of Devonshire Avenue, Southsea, who struck up a lasting friendship with Arnold Schwarzenegger when they trained at the same Portsmouth gym, remembers Sir Sean worked as a part-time model for Vince Menswear in London while trying to get on to the stage and into films.
He says: ‘He was also a keen bodybuilder and competed in the 1953 Mr Universe contest at the London Palladium.’
Gordon has gone back through his old Health & Strength magazines and discovered the picture here from the March 5, 1953, issue.
The caption reads: ‘Tom Connery – well-muscled member of the Dunedin Weightlifting Club, Edinburgh’.
Gordon continues: ‘I too entered the Mr Universe contest at the Palladium, but several years later.
‘I met Sean again briefly in 1961 in Kingston, Jamaica, at a local bodybuilding gym.
‘He was there filming Dr No.’
The reason Gordon (pictured below) was in the West Indies was because he was a national serviceman with the 1st Battalion Royal Hampshire Regiment.
He served in the Caribbean and British Honduras, now Belize.
‘I was really in to weightlifting and bodybuilding and decided out there that I wanted to become a physical training instructor,’ adds Gordon.
He completed a preliminary course at Sennelager, Germany, before qualifying back home in Aldershot.
He then returned to Munster to keep the Tigers fighting fit.
When he left the army Gordon returned to Portsmouth and opened a gym.