|Title:||Biggles Learns to Fly (Biggles #5)|
|Publisher:||The Boy’s Friend Library|
|Tags:||adventure, fiction, flying, war, World War I, Biggles (Fictional character)|
In the hostile skies over First World War France, young airmen die in their thousands as they battle it out in their flimsy crafts. Biggles—aged seventeen and with less than fifteen hours flying experience—is sent to tackle the enemy in what often seem suicidal missions. In a theatre of war where instinct and lightning-fast reactions are the most important assets a man can posses, Biggles must learn to be a real flier quickly—or die...—Back Cover. [Suggest a different description.]
Author Bio for Johns, W. E. (William Earl)
William Earl Johns (5 February 1893—21 June 1968) was an English First World War pilot and writer of adventure stories, usually written under the pen name Capt. W. E. Johns. He was the creator of the fictional air-adventurer Biggles.
In 1913 Johns enlisted in the Territorial Army as a trooper in the King’s Own Royal Regiment (Norfolk Yeomanry). The regiment was mobilised and fought at Gallipoli until December when they were withdrawn to Egypt. In September 1916 Johns transferred to the Machine Gun Corps. While serving in Greece, he was hospitalised with malaria. After recovering, he was commissioned into the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) in September 1917 and undertook his initial flying training at Coley Park in Reading, flying the Farman MF.11 Shorthorn aircraft. He was then posted to No.25 Flying Training School at Thetford in Norfolk.
On 1 April 1918, Johns was appointed flying instructor at Marske-by-the-Sea in Cleveland. The Commanding Officer at Marske was a Major Champion, known as ‘Gimlet’, a name used later by Johns for the hero of a series of stories. He served as a flying instructor until August 1918 when he transferred to the Western Front. He performed six weeks of active duty as a bomber pilot and on the way to bombing Mannheim, was hit by anti-aircraft fire. He was taken prisoner, and remained a prisoner of war until after the Armistice of 11 November 1918.
W. E. Johns was a prolific author and editor. In his 46-year writing career he penned over 160 books, including nearly one hundred Biggles books, more than sixty other novels and factual books, and scores of magazine articles and short stories.
The first Biggles book, The Camels are Coming (a reference to the Sopwith Camel aeroplane), was published in August 1932 and Johns would continue to write Biggles stories until his death in 1968. At first, the Biggles stories were credited to “William Earle”, but later Johns adopted the more familiar “Capt. W. E. Johns”.
Johns was also a regular contributor to The Modern Boy magazine in the late 1930s as well as editing and writing for both Popular Flying and Flying. From the early 1930s Johns called for the training of more pilots. He was removed as editor in 1939, probably as a direct result of a scathing editorial, strongly opposed to the policy of appeasement and highly critical of several Conservative statesmen of the time.
Apart from “Biggles”, his other multi-volume fiction series were: the 6-volume “Steeley” series (1936–1939), featuring former First World War pilot turned crime-fighter Deeley Montfort Delaroy (nicknamed “Steeley”); The 11-volume “Worrals” series (1941–1950), detailing the exploits of plucky WAAF Flight Officer Joan “Worrals” Worralson; the 10-volume “Gimlet” series (1943–1954), whose hero is the dashing British commando Captain Lorrington “Gimlet” King; and a 10-volume science fiction series (1954–1963) that follows the interplanetary adventures of retired RAF Group Captain Timothy “Tiger” Clinton, his son Rex, scientist Professor Lucius Brane and Brane’s resourceful butler Judkins.
—Excerpts from Wikipedia.
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