As we know, in the films' classic continuity, Ernst Stavro Blofeld's rank within SPECTRE was Number 1 and Emilio Largo's was Number 2. Based on this, I think it very likely that members' numbers reflect their rank within SPECTRE. Moreover, it would stand to reason that once a member died, he is replaced by the member directly under him, who thus takes on the deceased's old number.
This allowed me to create a chart of SPECTRE hierarchy per film. Each film column shows the ranks at the beginning of the film, with the symbol † indicating which characters are dead by the end of the film. Characters whose presence in the film is certain are shown in plain text, whereas those whose presence I can only infer from their role in other films are in …Read more >