When I was 11, I loved reading about the adventures of James Bigglesworth (Biggles), the extraordinary WW1 pilot invented by Captain WE Johns. He flew a Sopwith Camel and was unbeatable, always managing to outfly and outsmart the ‘Huns’, but always with the grace and fairness of a proper English gentleman.
I remember my favourite book was ‘Biggles of 266’ (4th from the right). My favourite flying manoeuvre was the Immelmann turn, where Biggles would fly passed his enemy, pull back on his stick sharply so as to go straight up – then a half-loop and barrel roll – and Bingo! He’d be on the tail of the Hun and ready to finish him off with his Vickers. Rat-tat-tat … two pencil-thin flashes of silver between his propellor blades and the poor fellow was sent West.
I lost my collection when I moved out of home in my early 20s, never to see the books again as far as I was concerned. So it was a great surprise when my older brother gave most of them back to me as a ‘present’ for a recent birthday. He had taken them years ago for his sons, Noel and Matthew, to read. Noel is now over 40 so some of these books are over 45 years old! Still in good nick and now safe and dry on the top shelf of my best bookcase.
Question – does anyone know Biggles’ best friend’s name?
Clue – his initials were AL.