Born in Newport-on-Tay, Fife, Scotland, Valentine was the son of wealthy Scottish banker Robert Fleming, founder of merchant bank Robert Fleming & Co. He lived in Arnisdale House, Loch Hourn, Inverness-shire, Scotland. He was married to Evelyn Beatrice St. Croix Rose and was the father of Peter Fleming, Ian Fleming (the novelist who wrote the James Bond books), Richard Fleming (1910–1977), and Michael Fleming.
He was educated at Eton College and Magdalen College, Oxford.
From 1906 to 1911, the family lived at Braziers Park close to Wallingford. On his election to parliament, they moved to Pitt House on Hampstead Heath in 1910. He was a Member of Parliament for Henley from 1910 to 1917. In 1914 they built a house at Arnisdale, near Kyle of Lochalsh in the Scottish Highlands.
During World War I, he wrote to close friend Winston Churchill in 1914. The following is an excerpt:
- Imagine a broad belt [of land], ten miles or so in width, stretching from the Channel to the German frontier near Basle, which is positively littered with the bodies of men…in which farms, villages, and cottages are shapeless heaps of blackened masonry; in which fields, roads and trees are pitted and torn and twisted by [artillery] shells...
Fleming's obituary was written by Churchill.
In 1914, shortly before leaving England to fight in France, Valentine signed a will that left Pitt House and his effects to his wife Evelyn, most of his estate was left in trust to benefit their 4 sons and their future families. His wife Evelyn would have a generous income from the trust unless she re-married, in which case she would receive a reduced amount of £3000 per annum. Evelyn never re-married and felt it was a "bad will".
- Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by Valentine Fleming
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
Philip Edward Morrell
|Member for Henley
Sir Robert Hermon-Hodge