17 November 2013
An interesting and thoughtful article
by Peter Cockburn in The Independent
9 August 2013
"Not you again!" said the King, when the extraordinary Eric
Brown went up to collect another medal! Read the amazing details
to see why the man is described as "The hero who made Biggles look
like a wimp."
1st April 2013
Biggles found! An fascinating
report in "The Daily Mail".
21st March 2013
A interesting report
on part of the 1901 Census relating to W E Johns and Cowbridge in Hertford,
where he lived. This is on "ourhertfordandware", a history
21st March 2013
I have wondered if one of Norman Wright's books would reach a charity
shop. One turned up in Glasgow. It is possible someone did
not know the value, as this
report says it was spotted by a volunteer. I think this is
the copy which I saw listed several times while the seller tried to
get more for it than the reserve.
19th March 2013
"Obviously, there are a few dozen book titles I can recommend from
a lifetime of reading, not least of which, to start at the beginning,
are the Biggles series by Captain W E Johns",says Len King in an
interesting article in "On
16th March 2013
Not an on-line reference, but I was charmed to hear in the National
Theatre's production of "Cocktail Sticks" that Alan Bennett
read Biggles as a boy.
3rd January 2013
Len King starts off his article
in "ON LINE OPINION - Australia's e-journal of social and political
debate" remembering Biggles.
20th September 2012
Kevin Martin remembers his childhood reading and how he wanted to visit
all the places to which Biggles & Co and other heroes travelled
in the Forest of Literature".
12th September 2012
There is a Biggles reference in the OxfordReference.com
14th August 2012
Airmen from RAF Odiham ran "dressed as Biggles" for a charity,
Not sure where the moustache comes in, but it is all for charity!
5th February 2012
The perils of working in a secondhand bookshop are revealed by Adam
article. He started out intrigued by the Pyramid covers of
some old Biggles books, but became an avid collector after reading them!
18th December 2011
"I longed to fly with Biggles", declares writer John Crace
article in the guardian.co.uk
13th October 2011
on the crossword blog "Meet the setter" mentions the team
that write Biggles questions.
4th October 2011
In an interview
with Anna Metcalfe, author Magnus Mills remembers becoming "obsessed"
with Biggles after reading Biggles: the Rescue Flight as a
10 year old.
25th July 2011
I came across some old articles worth reading. I have inserted them
at the bottom of the list below, but include the dates here for ease
of reference for those who have already seen the other items.
13h July 2011
Aviation enthusiast Tim Shaw has written Stoop to the Sky,
which he says
he likes to think of "as a grown-up Biggles book for people who
grew up with Biggles".
5th July 2011
item does not mention Biggles, but the story does bring Biggles
Hits the Trail to mind!
30th June 2011
Roger Harris has put some edited highlights of his interview
with Michael Palin on-line.
20th May 2011
The EveshamJournal had a report
of a "grand book sale" at the local Acorns' Pershore, which
boasted the inclusion of some Biggles books among the "much sought
10th May 2011
Plenty of coverage for the first flight of the "Biggles
Bi-plane". Following Steve Slater's talk
at Twyford on 9th April, we have been watching for this great news.
Several of the reports mention Biggles or that the aircraft was originally
built for the unmade film "Biggles Sweeps the Desert".
Commenting on the report on forums.airshows,
"Silverfox" says "I can truly say I was weaned into my
aviation passion by reading Biggle's adventures back in the 60's. I
still have 'Biggles, Pioneer Air Fighter', a book I was entranced by
as a kid !!"
report includes copy showing Charles Boddington with the aircraft
before it crashed. Boddington's son Matthew made the first flight of
the restored aircraft on Tuesday 10th May. Their report ends: "Expect
to read more about W E John’s most famous adventure flying stories
soon on Adventure 52." So keep an eye on them!
There is also a 20 minute youtube
video of the occasion.
28th March 2011
Ian Macmillan, In the Yorkshire
Post on-line remembers his early obsession with Biggles; but goes
on to say he wanted to write his own adventure stories, "Biggles
with a tyke twist": apparently he did not notice that Ginger is
27th March 2011
In a review
in the Guardian on-line, the writer remembers reading "an equally
exciting, if less respectable yarn" in Biggles - Charter Pilot.
25th March 2011
in the American TIME on-line for the "Top 10 Kids Books We Miss"
includes in sixth place "the sole non-American entrant", Biggles
3rd March 2011
the most expensive sales for February included a First Edition of The
Camels are Coming. (Outbid only by a handwritten copy of Ruskin.)
24th February 2011
in the Independent on-line refers to rugby player and fighter pilot
Cyril Lowe, MC, DFC, said to be the inspiration for Biggles. (As we
know, there is considerable competition for that honour.)
14th February 2011
in the Irish Times on-line claims the writing of W E Johns as one of
the inspirations for Steampunk.
2nd February 2011
An interesting article
1st February 2011
Not exactly an article
about WEJ, but nice to know that this website has been noticed by American
26th January 2011
and Queries" column of The Guardian has some discussion as
to why there are no polar bears in Antartica; one columnist saying of
course there are because they appeared in Biggles Second Case,
whilst another points out Johns was not wrong in writing this, since
another well known bear from Peru emigrated to the northern hemisphere!
2nd December 2010
A really delightful story
concerning the Biggles restaurant at Denham.
18th November 2010 (added 3 Jan.2011)
Having found a copy of The Camels are Coming at the Imperial
War Museum, George Simmers comments
on the difference between the youthful aviator of those stories, and
his memory of the mature Biggles in the later books.
8th November 2010 (added 3 Jan.2010)
The writer of this blog
prepared for a trip to the South of France by reading several of WEJ's
books with this setting.
13th October 2010
The Guardian's John Crace has compiled a list of
"the 100 classic reads of the 20th century" which includes
Biggles in the Baltic.
3rd October 2010
The writer of this
article had seen a one-man show about Canadian WW1 ace Billy Bishop,
which led him to reminisce about meeting W E Johns when he was sent
to cover a car crash outside the author's home in the mid sixties. He
mentions that some of Johns' books are on sale in the Aviation
Museum in Alberta, Canada.
13th August 2010
article does not mention Biggles or WEJ, but sounds so much like
another episode of Biggles, Charter Pilot that I could not
resist including it!
27th July 2010
that this day's auctions were being filmed for Dickenson's Real
Deal. Whether the particular W E Johns item mentioned (lot 119)
will be included in the programme on transmission I do not know, but
might be worth keeping an eye open for the next series.
18th May 2010
of a housesale in Lingfield, Sussex, in which the Deeds state that the
building cannot be sold without the collection of some of Johns' books
housed in it, appears in The
Telegraph as well as the Bed
and Breakfast guide to Winchester.
10th May 2010
In the past week, web search returns have been inundated with "blog"
references to Biggles that have nothing whatever to do with Biggles
or W E Johns. The key words are inserted into political articles; presumably
the writers have noticed the popularity of certain figures and just
put the names into the middle of their articles so that they come up
in Internet searches. I have attempted to report this to Google, but
have not been able to find a way to do so. At one time, the company
was concerned to squash such obvious misuse of search engines.
23rd April 2010
"foodie" blog, includes a description of a visit to the
Biggles Bar at Lydd Airport, with a picture of the dining area.
19th April 2010
blog by Steve Holland is about the Italian artist Caprioli, who became
known after illustrating The Biggles Book of Treasure Hunting
for Ranger magazine. Johns is mentioned briefly, but the article is
well written and informative about the foreign artists who (unknown
to us as the pictures were not signed) illustrated many British magazines.
Caprioli's work in the Ranger is of particular importance as it was
the first magazine able to reproduce the fine detail in which he worked.
29th March 2010
Gardening articles and blogs frequently quote Johns: many such writers
probably only know of his gardening interests and his writing for the
gardening magazine The Passing Show. Here
is one that has a nice reference to Biggles as well.
29th March 2010
An interesting article
about the man who was the face of the RAF on the famous wartime poster,
includes a reference to him meeting WEJ before the war.
12th February 2010
blog entry mentions W E Johns in passing, it is informative about
the"weeding" of books in public libraries and I think relevant
to this section.
12th December 2009
Hilary Mantel's article 'A
Life of Biggles' with reference to her husband will strike a chord
with many readers: "A day which to others is merely a dull day
in a strange town is to him a Biggles opportunity".
11th November 2009
Commentators blogs refer to the report on what might be the remains
of Cambyses' army.
"If they really have found the remains of Cambyses' army, it would
be one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of all time. The dry
desert should have hopefully preserved weapons and armour - and what
of the paymasters' bullion, and the loot ?
There's only one slight problem. According to Capt W.E. Johns, the lost
army was discovered by Biggles, Algy and Ginger in the late 1930s. It
was also discovered by oil prospectors in 2000."
(refers to an article
in the mailonsunday)
29th October 2009
Zoo have made a wartime garden. Part of the display includes an
issue of The Passing Show. The writer sounds interested in
discovering another side to WEJ.
(Johns' gardening comments are popular, perhaps with people who do
not even know about Biggles, and appear in several blogs. This one is
"One of the most delightful things about a garden is the anticipation
it provides. ~W.E. Johns, The Passing Show")
6th October 2009
In his "Airminded"
blog, Brett Holman comments about our website:
"Via the site, one can keep up with W. E. Johns, Biggles, Worrals
et al in the press, or explore the wider world of Bigglesiana on the
web. (Which introduced me to a site devoted to Popular Flying, a magazine
edited by Johns which featured articles by a number of airpower writers
familar to me, such as J. M. Spaight, E. Colston Shepherd, Arch Whitehouse
and Nigel Tangye.)"
30th September 2009
Under the heading, "Who wrote 'The Adventures of Biggles', this
by Kevin Patrick discusses the comic books, saying that the title was
intended to capitalise on the popularity of the radio series then running
14th August 2009
Bishop David Chillingworth (of Dunkeld and Dunblane)'s blog
entry on Vince Hagedorn's escape read:
"Well done, Sir. And all of us who get through the day by tuning
into one or other of our fantasy worlds salute you. Today I’ve
been in ‘pale and drawn from too many dawn patrols’ mode
- oil-stained flying jacket - looking down on the trenches and reflecting,
‘Poor bloody infantry.’ "
Vince Hagedorn's pancake landing received wide Internet coverage -
nearly 100 articles last time I looked.
Here is the Scottish TV report, including an interview with Mr Hagedorn.
23rd July 2009
In an interview on Mariah's
blog, writer Storyheart mentions Biggles as an early hero:
"What was your favorite book growing up? What about now? Do you
have a favorite genre or do you like them all?"
"I have always loved adventure books, when young my hero was Biggles
by Capt W.E. Johns somebody perhaps the US would never have heard of."
2nd July 2008 (added 12th October 2010)
article is actually dated 2nd July 2008, but I came across it when
I did an Internet search on Cramlington, wondering if the airfield mentioned
in Biggles and the Black Peril actually existed. The Evening
Chronicle's Ray Marshall says he was "inundated with replies"
when he questioned if the airport existed after finding an old photograph.
He adds:"Since then I have been acquainted with a number of facts
about the said airport, including that the great British hero Biggles
and his sidekick Ginger were once based there." Well, not quite!
but an interesting article nonetheless, and good background for the
next time I re-read this, one of my favourite books.
Commenting on the PC attacks on Johns' work, Neil Clark in his article
'Why the world needs Biggles more than ever' comments, "Needless
to say, the charges against Biggles were ludicrous. 'While men are decent
to me I try to be decent to them, regardless of race, colour, politics,
creed or anything else' is hardly the credo of an Alf Garnett in flying
12th July 2004
In the article "Flights
of fantasy with Biggles and TE Lawrence", A N Wilson comments
that "The author of Seven Pillars of Wisdom and the author of the
Biggles stories were both fantasists and in some ways made for one another".
29th October 2003
In the Guardian's series, "Building
a children's library", John Crace's the classic of the month
was Biggles in the Baltic. He describes a situation familiar to us all
- "I was the invisible member of the Biggles quartet".
27th July 2003
The author of the article "Biggles
Flies Again", written to celebrate the publication of the first
Red Fox editions, has evidently looked back at some of his childhood
favourites, and comments, "Rereading the Biggles books now, I'm
surprised at how little they have dated".
8th October 2000
Part of the BBC's 'The
Guide to Life, The Universe and Everything'. Their article on Biggles
makes some interesting point, although where they got the idea that
Ginger was ever a Flight Sergeant I don't know!