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W E Johns, Creator of Biggles

W E Johns
W E Johns

William Earl Johns was born in 1893 in Bengeo in Hertfordshire, England.

During the First World War, he joined the Royal Flying Corps. He served as a machine gunner at Gallipoli and in Greece and, from 1918, as a fighter pilot. He learned to fly in a Maurice Farman Shorthorn and soon became a flying instructor. Johns was posted to France where he flew DH2's on photographic and bombing raids over Germany. In 1918, his plane was hit by anti-aircraft fire. A squadron of eight German fighters attacked his damaged plane, killing his gunner and causing the plane to crash. Johns became a prisoner of war. He escaped twice but was caught and sentenced to death. Fortunately, the war ended before the sentence was carried out.

After the War, Johns stayed in the Royal Air Force as a flying instructor and, later, a recruiting officer. He attained the rank of Flying Officer (not Captain), although he later called himself "Captain: W.E. Johns".

In 1931, he left the RAF to pursue a career as an illustrator of aircraft for magazines, books, brochures and so on. He also wrote some short stories, based on the wartime adventures of himself and his Air Force friends, for which he invented the character of Biggles.

The Biggles stories became extremely popular. John eventually produced 96 Biggles novels, numerous short stories and 71 other books - including air adventure novels featuring Worrals and Gimlet and non-fiction books on aviation.

Johns died in 1968 while working on the book "Biggles Does Some Homework", which he had planned to be the last Biggles adventure.

Biggles books & memorabilia now available (at eBay):

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OLD BOOK Biggles Flies South 1963 by WE Johns Brockhampton Press

AU $10.00 (0 Bids)
End Date: Friday Aug-30-2019 16:00:51 EST
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BIGGLES OF 266 by Capt W.E. Johns - Dean & Son Hardcover Book undated

AU $5.00 (0 Bids)
End Date: Tuesday Aug-27-2019 12:42:49 EST
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Bigges Book,Biggles fails to return

AU $13.50 (0 Bids)
End Date: Friday Aug-30-2019 11:38:46 EST
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Vintage Book Biggles Flies To Work 1970’s By Capt W.E.Johns

AU $12.95
End Date: Thursday Sep-19-2019 18:09:00 EST
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Vintage Book Biggles And The Cruise Of The Condor 1970’s By Capt W.E.Johns

AU $12.95
End Date: Thursday Sep-19-2019 17:55:00 EST
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Biggles books bulk lot 14 books $180

AU $180.00 (0 Bids)
End Date: Thursday Aug-22-2019 11:27:16 EST
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