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Neill Gilhooley

Real stories behind Biggles

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topgun1918

The Biggles books available as Kindle downloads are:

 

Biggles and Co

Biggles and the cruise of the Condor

Biggles and the Black Peril

Biggles and the Rescue Flight

Biggles defends the desert

Biggles defies the swastika

Biggles delivers the goods

Biggles fails to return

Biggles flies east

Biggles flies west

Biggles in France

Biggles in Spain

Biggles in the Orient

Biggles learns to fly

Biggles of the fighter squadron

Biggles: the Camels are coming

 

Graeme

 

 

 

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DavidOwen

Read all those, owned them too, though where they are now....

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topgun1918

At one time had over 90 Biggles books (both hardback and softback) in my 'library' but no room in our first house, so they had to go; probably be worth a small fortune now.  Glad to have one of my favourites, cruise of the Condor, on my Kindle.

 

Was never impressed with Gimlet or Worrals.

 

Graeme

 

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DavidOwen

And the Tiger Clinton space stories too

 

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jamtin
On 21/12/2018 at 21:04, David Filsell said:

Cannot put my finger on the story, In a Biggles tale explosive is based in a spotting balloon by the Brits on the Western Front to kill a German ace "balloon buster which I think may could well be based on an event described in War Flying in Macedonia by Hauptmann Heydermarck. Not sure of the publication date of HH's book 

 

Hi,

Biggles Sets a Trap (from Biggles of the Camel Squadron) is the story in which this happens, though of course it’s the Huns who play the original nasty trick, with Biggles returning the favour with a trick of his own.

 

Johns said that many stories were based on real life incidents in the early days of the RAF. Some are based on his own experiences. When shot down and captured Johns was tried by a hastily convened German ‘court’ and sentenced to death for bombing undefended towns. This later appeared in Biggles Goes to War.

 

Rewriting Biggles stories is covered here in a remarkably researched piece of work by Daniel Tangri.

http://www.friardale.co.uk/Biggles/Biggles Daniel Tangri.pdf

 

In it Daniel also references the basis for a Biggles story (which first appears in Biggles in France) in which Biggles finds himself carried away in a Hun balloon and parachutes to safety, as having likely origins in an incident from the life of Charles Down, magazine editor and former WW1 balloonist.

 

Cheers

Mark

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Steven Broomfield

It's Christmas. Frgive me

 

 

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David Filsell

Mr J T

Thank you for that information.

Regards

David

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Neill Gilhooley
On 23/12/2018 at 02:50, jamtin said:

piece of work by Daniel Tangri

Yes, thanks for the link.

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Neill Gilhooley
On 23/12/2018 at 07:20, Steven Broomfield said:

It's Christmas. Frgive me

'What would WE Johns have said?'

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TimCornish

While Johns' was on 55 Sqn, a relative of mine was his CO. I have heard Alex was inspiration for some of the CO's that appeared in the Biggles books. 

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Neill Gilhooley
On 07/01/2019 at 18:41, TimCornish said:

While Johns' was on 55 Sqn, a relative of mine was his CO. I have heard Alex was inspiration for some of the CO's that appeared in the Biggles books.

Given a choice of JEA Baldwin DSO, A Gray MC and BJ Silly MC DFC, I guess we mean Gray?

Alexander Gray, 7th Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders, 2/Lt seconded RFC 30.9.16, Flt Commnader 55 Sqn Sep-17, MC 27.10.17

There are a couple of cas reports that may be him: http://www.airhistory.org.uk/rfc/people_index.html

Edited by Neill Gilhooley

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alex revell

What a great sketch. A very British sense of humour, sadly not appreciated by all :-)

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Neill Gilhooley
On 21/12/2018 at 10:04, David Filsell said:

In a Biggles tale explosive is based in a spotting balloon by the Brits on the Western Front to kill a German ace "balloon buster which I think may could well be based on an event described in War Flying in Macedonia by Hauptmann Heydermarck.

Thanks for the recommendation, it was good to read for its own worth - plus the narrow Biggles angle. Certainly the incident of diving past an escort to get one go at a two-seater (IV The Decoy) is straight out of Heydemarck (p.70). There is also a tale of the RFC twice putting spies behind the lines (p.94), Johns' book is awash with spies. Finally, as you say, a balloon is rigged with a bomb to kill Rudolf von Eschwege https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rudolf_von_Eschwege, which may be related in another Biggles book I cannot yet recall. My thanks.

By the way, John's introduction says 'Many of the adventures that are ascribed to Biggles did actually occur, and are true in their essential facts. Students of air history may identify them.'

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Marilyne

talk about some culture… I have never read the books, the originals I mean, but I have read nearly all the comic series, partly drawn by Francis Bergèse, who also Drew the later Buck Danny albums. There's 18 albums in total, and a series called "Biggles raconte" where famous actions or persons are introduced, like the Battle of Britain, Rolland Garros etc...

I'm a great fan of plane-related comics (Bande dessinées in french...not quite the same… but that's another discussion), got a few complete series at home… and of course the style of Francis Bergèse, the precision with chich he draws the planes is absolutely marvellous.

 

Couv_44227.jpg.90f6f4f5434575941f3a39f4193586b9.jpg

biggles06v.jpg.00dac06dcf967b65baee0cb693357a75.jpg

 

M.

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Neill Gilhooley

Marilyne, these look very interesting (and not necessarily cheap) - an anglophile francophone?

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Marilyne

Bande Dessinées albums (hard covers) come to 10 à 14 € a piece when new.

Bergèse is a pilot himself and a plane fanatic. Anyhow, right now there are a lot of BD on flying around. On WWI most prominent is "Le Pilote à l'Edelweiss" by Yann.

 

M.

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sadbrewer

Just as an aside to this, back in the 60's there was an inter-school TV quiz called 'Top of the Form' hosted by Geoffrey Wheeler, our school won it ( before I went there admittedly), Wheeler would ask the kids about their hobbies, one of our boys said 'reading Biggles books'...Johns saw the programme and arranged for the lad to be sent a full leather bound series!!

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healdav
On 24/07/2019 at 22:10, sadbrewer said:

Just as an aside to this, back in the 60's there was an inter-school TV quiz called 'Top of the Form' hosted by Geoffrey Wheeler, our school won it ( before I went there admittedly), Wheeler would ask the kids about their hobbies, one of our boys said 'reading Biggles books'...Johns saw the programme and arranged for the lad to be sent a full leather bound series!!

Top of the Form started way back in the 1940s, I think. Maybe even during the war.

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healdav

What I always find strange about Biggles is that when I read the books, and I read the lot! Several times! they were all set in WW2, and he was flying Spitfires.

It was much later when chronology began to puzzle me (I was 9 when I discovered them), that I discovered they were actually written about WW1.

What really got me baffled was when I got the same book under different titles, one about each war.

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Moonraker

"Top of the Form" ran for 38 years, from 1948 to 1986.

 

Wikipedia

 

Moonraker

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Nick Beale
Posted (edited)
On 24/07/2019 at 15:16, Marilyne said:

Bande Dessinées albums (hard covers) come to 10 à 14 € a piece when new.

Bergèse is a pilot himself and a plane fanatic. Anyhow, right now there are a lot of BD on flying around. On WWI most prominent is "Le Pilote à l'Edelweiss" by Yann.

 

M.

 

Just to endorse the recommendation for this three-part series (and for the Yann/Hugault team's WW2 series, "Le Grand Duc" and "Angel Wings"). The aircraft are depicted beautifully, the women implausibly (they are far more in evidence than in Biggles books). Another thing I've found is that the dialogue is full of slang, so having an online dictionary to hand is advisable.

 

Also, due out this month is "La Fille de l'Air", part 1 of which looks to be set in the era of pushers, Taubes and Eindeckers.

Edited by Nick Beale
New information

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Neill Gilhooley

On the origin of the name, though not really this topic, and I'm sure it has come up before, I've recently read my children an Enid Blyton story first published in 1930 and called the Enchanted Goat in which Benny Biggles learns to fly said goat, and of course rescues fairies.

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