Captain W. E. Johns was born in Hertfordshire in 1893. He flew with the Royal Flying Corps in the First World War and made a daring escape from a German prison camp in 1918. Between the wars he edited Flying and Popular Flying and became a writer for the Ministry of Defence. The First Biggles story, Biggles, the Camels are Coming was published in 1932, and W. E. Johns went on to write a staggering 102 Biggles books before his death in 1968.
Jonathan Stroud, November 2010 Guest Editor, of a classic 'boy's own adventure': He may seem a bit out-dated now, but Biggles was one of the very greatest fictional heroes of my childhood, and I’m still a huge fan. He’s an ace pilot and adventurer – brave, unflappable and decent – ready to serve his country in war, and battle injustice in times of peace. This particular story – one of the very best – is set in World War I. Biggles is sent to Northern Africa to try to uncover a mysterious German spy who is working havoc among British forces. Much to his disgust he must become a spy in his turn – and spies (when they’re caught) are immediately shot. The book is a genuine thriller, full of close shaves both on the ground and in the air, as Biggles and his unknown enemy play their deadly game of cat-and-mouse. Highly recommended!